Category Archives: Long Term Health Care

Beware of Phantom Pharmacies

Why am I not surprised to find out that federal health officials have failed in their efforts to police the emergence of phantom pharmacies?

These pharmacies are fly-by-night storefront operations that bilk millions of dollars in false Medicare bills and then vanish with the cash.

No permits are needed — there is no store or pharmacy as we know them. There are no medicines on the shelves, no employees, no real in-store customers, and yet these fake pharmacies produce huge bills for medication, defrauding Medicare of millions of dollars a year.

It seems the only people making money these days are the crooks.

How is this accomplished? Thieves, crooks and fraudsters use a legitimate address to establish a fake pharmacy business. Then, using stolen ID and patient insurance ID numbers (mostly from seniors), scammers write fraudulent prescriptions for expensive drugs that were never actually prescribed.

Next, they submit these fake prescriptions for reimbursement to insurers, Medicare or Medicaid. In a single claim, a fake pharmacy canmake anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000. Some “fraudster pharmacies” only exist a few days! By the time the fake reimbursements have been collected, the phantom pharmacies have long since closed and their operators have disappeared without a trace.

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Plan For The Worse…Live For The Best

Here is what I know – At 59 I’m healthier than either of my parents were at age 59. I have never smoked. I’m fairly active and exercise some but not overly. I eat fairly well, but not always. I drink socially but not in excess. So what are my odds of remaining healthy and being able to care for myself? Better, I’m sure than my parents but the fact remains that the odds of something happening to me beyond my control still exists. Any number of accidents could befall me. What then?

We Boomers don’t like to think or talk much about aging. For us, and many in our generation, the idea of needing long term care is down the road a ways.

We avoid discussing these issues for several reasons; most notably as discussed above is that of denial. Secondly, I think that we have come to expect that the government will take care of us through Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Unfortunately, we ignore the fact that these programs are not fail safe measures of obtaining care especially if we want to remain in our homes. Yes, it is likely some form of government benefits will be there but statistics and finances will make it more difficult for us to receive these benefits.

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Healthcare: Make Your Voice Heard

Several weeks ago I wrote a column in relation to some proposed changes to Healthcare in America and my thoughts regarding those changes. Low and behold others must have felt the same. I think we should all take another long hard look at this ‘healthcare proposal’ of Paul Ryan’s and all others that are presented and then we must be prepared to voice our approval or dislike – loudly!

I have said it before, the Boomers have a strong influence and lately with the mortgage fraud and financial manipulation of securitized investments, many of our contemporaries have seen their retirement funds dwindled to nothing or near to nothing. On top of all that some government leaders, such as Ryan, were thinking of causing those very same Boomer-Seniors to have less health support as they age.

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Home Instead Senior Care Is On Cable!

Finally, we are ON AIR! Just wanted to let our BLOG, TWITTER and FACEBOOK friends and readers know that the Home Instead Senior Care cable show is on! Hope you enjoy watching and hearing from those business’ and people who offer additional support and help to the growing population of seniors. It is my hope that the cable show will offer insight into better managing our families as we all enter into the ‘golden years.’ Here’s the cable station internet, AACS link where you may view the shows that have previously aired. Each week additional shows will be added. Lots more to come…guests are already booked through August. Any ideas for what you may want to know more about, your comments and/or input is always appreciated!

What, The Boomers Are Retiring?

Every now and again when I find another BLOG or column that is relevant or has what I call ‘stuff to think about’ I like to post a copy here. Recently I had an opportunity to speak with Steve Davis, a Certified Financial Planner from Mansfield and he offered up several of his articles. I felt this one was apropos!

The last time I visited my parents in Florida, we were missing one ingredient needed for that night’s dinner. I offered to take a “quick” run to the store to pick it up. Well, if you’ve ever gone grocery shopping there, you’ll know that there is no such thing as a quick run to the store. You see, the people there don’t work anymore and have all the time in the world — I got back just in time for dessert. Okay, I may be exaggerating but you get the point; there are a lot of retirees in Southern Florida. Believe it or not, it won’t be long before the whole country has the same proportion of “seniors” as Florida does today. Can you believe that the first of the baby boomer generation turned 65 years old on January 1 of this year? It’s true. And for the next 19 years, ten thousand boomers a day will reach that milestone. I was born in 1963 and that means that I’m among the last of the Baby Boomers. By the time I reach retirement age it is estimated that nearly 20 percent of the US population will be age 65 or older.

For the remainder of this article (and important subject, click here…)

Contemplating The Inevitable

It dawned on me, albeit reluctantly, that I am perilously close to being classified ‘a senior’, hence my pursuit of information; i.e. ‘senior stuff’…the importance of which is far greater to me today. Several years ago I was clueless to the ramifications of getting older or the havoc the same could wreak in regards to the ‘quality of life’. AARP has been issuing me a ‘join’ card for several years (possibly 10), which I avoid, as if to do so would miraculously keep me ‘age stationary’. But I digress…

Currently on my ‘be informed and educate others’ list is to advocate and encourage baby-boomers to discuss and prepare for that which is inevitable so that they make ‘aging’ arrangements that satisfy their needs and at the same time keep others in the loop as to their wishes. As an employee of Home Instead Senior Care I am all too aware that many seniors reach ‘critical crisis’ mode before any plans for care, care-giving duties, payments, assistance or living quarters have been given any thought either by the senior, their children and/or their extended family members.

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The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men (don’t always work)

The clock may be ticking faster than you think. Are we ever really fully prepared…especially if we have waited to make those end of years ‘legal docs’ because our parents (or ourselves) appear healthy and after-all we have made it to our 60’s – 80’s with relatively no problem…

But then, in an instance, a family member’s health deteriorates and rapidly! They are admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and/or congestive heart failure, etc. What follows is a series of challenging moves from the hospital to a rehab center to a respite center, back to the hospital and even a possible nursing home stay.

In an instant all your research and eminent ‘senior’ planning is out the window. With a parent or both parents on a health roller coaster, it is impossible for you to properly evaluate their needs and the situation quickly becomes more than you can handle.

Thankfully Geriatric Care Managers have surfaced in this, the day and age of the rapidly blooming ‘baby boomers’ and their parents into senior ‘caredom’. Although the cost may be prohibitive to some, many long-term care policies cover the expense. Geriatric Care Managers will assess and coordinating your aging parents’ needs. They will assist in filling out long-term care paperwork, having medical records transferred, help with doctors and coordinate with the facility you eventually select.

Most Geriatric Care Managers provide unbiased advice because they are not associated with any one senior living facility so a surviving parent or caregiver can be at ease of receiving legitimate as well as helpful advice. Hiring a professional who understands the ins and outs of senior care can help families through their crisis. Their input will help you select the best facility available for your parents – something that will allow you peace of mind. If you are looking for a certified Geriatric Care Manager to assist with your family’s elder care planning needs, please consult this online Directory for an expert in your area.

The Budget Battles: The Threat to Medicaid and Medicare

When will we see our elected officials make decisions that support the elderly in this country? We are currently underfunded in almost every area of healthcare and regardless of the claims made by most insurers that they are NOT making money, it seems more likely that they are just NOT making AS MUCH as they used to. Profits are down because people are living longer and instead of cashing out their policies they have opted to ‘hang-on’ to them…We are in a sad state of affairs when it comes to our seniors….

In an editorial written in today’s NY Times…

Representative Paul Ryan’s proposals to reform Medicare and Medicaid are mostly an effort to shift the burden to beneficiaries and the states. They have very little reform in them.

They certainly won’t solve the two most pressing problems in the nation’s health care system: the relentlessly rising cost of care and the shamefully high number of uninsured Americans — now hovering around 50 million. Mr. Ryan is also determined to repeal the new health care reform law. Never mind that the law would make real progress on both fronts, covering more than 30 million of the uninsured and pushing to make health care delivery more efficient and effective and less costly.

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Tackling Care as Chronic Ailments Pile Up

No one said it was going to be easy and with the most recent figures coming to light, all will have to agree that it isn’t going to be an easy task…but clearly our older seniors are requiring care that ‘someone’ is going to have to pay for; ‘looking away’ is not an option.

Anyone seriously interested in improving the health of Americans and reducing the costs of health care must be willing to tackle a growing and under-appreciated problem: the vast number of patients with more than one chronic illness.

The problem is actually two problems: delivering more efficient care to these patients and helping them not to get sick in the first place.

Both tasks require the cooperation of patients and caregivers, as well as the providers of health care and the agencies that pay for it — and, at least as important, a public willing to take proven steps to reduce the risk of chronic disease.

The statistics, as reported in December in a strategy report from the Department of Health and Human Services, say it all. More than 25 percent of Americans have two or more chronic conditions — which, by definition, require continuing medical care, and often limit their ability to perform activities of daily living. (The conditions include heart disease, diabetes, obstructive lung disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, asthma, H.I.V., mental illness and dementia, among others.)

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More Prevalent Than You May Believe

The story below outlines the fact that senior abuse can and does happen in all walks of life. The rich and the powerful may be as susceptible to it as those living on median (or less) incomes. Abuse may be the result of family dynamics, stress, financial issues…whatever the cause…if you see it (or think you see it) please share your findings with someone who can help before a tragedy ensues. Actor Mickey Rooney has been the alleged victim of elder abuse at the hands of his own stepkids, according to restraining orders filed Monday. The 90-year-old actor, who, born into vaudeville has had one of the longest careers of any actor, was granted court protection from stepson Chris Aber and his stepdaughter Christina Aber, after he filed a case against them charging verbal, emotional and financial abuse, and for denying him such basic necessities as food and medicine. The court documents say that both Chris and Christina Aber have been keeping Rooney as “effectively a prisoner in his own home” through the use of threats, intimidation and harassment. Read More Here