- Physician Compare provides background on doctors and ratings from patients through Medicare
- Hospital Compare is based on Medicare data to assess hospital effectiveness
- Hospital Safety Score analyzes hospitals on a variety of safety measures
- National Guideline Clearinghouse provides summaries of clinical practice guidelines for specific medical conditions.
Recent AARP newsletter articles offered some important resources for assessing quality of hospitals and medical services. You might want to bookmark this post or these resources for easy access.
National Issues Forum (NIF) is an outstanding organization, with unbiased topic guides on many interesting issues. Get to know what the NIF is all about by joining an online, free forum about healthcare costs. Click the link for registration information and a free issues guide.
Here are their free November session times and dates -
Let's make sure this historic moment is a better deal for seniors.
Tell your Senator to add an amendment to the Medicare "doc fix" bill that improves the bill for seniors.
After years of quick fixes, last week the House of Representatives finally voted on a permanent solution to the broken Medicare doctor payment system.
This is a huge step forward to ensure Medicare patients can keep the doctors they know and trust, year after year, without worrying their doctor might suddenly turn them away.
The main problem? The deal has people on Medicare shouldering more than their fair share of the cost.
Now it's the Senate's turn to vote. It's critical that we urge them to include an amendment to improve the bill for seniors which will help ensure that the final legislation is a better deal for those who've worked hard for years to earn these benefits.
Tell your Senators to add an amendment to the Medicare "doc fix" bill to improve the bill for seniors.
Half of Medicare beneficiaries have incomes less than $23,500. Many are already struggling to afford health care, groceries, utility bills and more. The Senate has an opportunity to make sure the final bill both protects access to your doctor in Medicare and is a better deal for seniors.
The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation as soon they are back from recess. AARP has been working non-stop to fix this problem once and for all – and to improve the bill for seniors before it hits the President's desk.
Make sure they hear from you, Mary – tell your Senator to pass an amendment to improve the bill for seniors in the final Medicare "doc fix" bill.
Together, we can send a strong message to Congress to keep the promise to those who've worked hard and paid into Medicare their whole lives. Thanks for taking action today.
Does the Medicare doctor payment system need to be fixed? YES.
Should seniors unfairly foot the bill? NO.
Tell Congress to develop a fair and responsible solution to fix the Medicare doctor payment system that doesn't simply pass costs onto seniors.
Over 50 million Americans count on Medicare for affordable, quality health care. But Congress is voting as early as next week on a bill that would raise your Part B and Part D premiums and increase deductible amounts that millions of seniors must pay.
Why are they doing this? Because they're trying to fix a flawed Medicare doctor payment system. This is the 18th time in 12 years that Congress has had to stop cuts caused by a flawed doctor payment formula created by Congress in 1997.
We applaud Congress' bipartisan efforts to fix this broken system. But we need the right solution, not just any solution. That's why we need your help to tell Congress to pass a responsible solution that doesn't unfairly burden seniors with higher costs.
Tell your members of Congress to pass a fair and responsible solution to fix the flawed Medicare doctor payment system that doesn't simply pass costs onto seniors.
Half of Medicare beneficiaries have incomes less than $23,500. Many are already struggling to afford health care, groceries, utility bills and more, and rely on Medicare to help afford essential treatment. Before asking them to pay even more out of pocket, AARP believes doctors and other providers must be asked to contribute financially to this solution. Any real solution should also clamp down on the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs.
Congress will be voting as soon as next week on this important bill. Send a message today urging your representatives to develop a fair and responsible solution that doesn’t unfairly burden seniors.
Together, we can send a strong message to Congress to keep the promise to those who’ve worked hard and paid into Medicare their whole lives. Thanks for taking action today.
Our March ARTA meeting featured a presentation by Penelope Roberts on At Home in Alexandria, an organization established to help seniors remain safe and independent in their own homes as they get older. For a reasonable annual membership fee, participants can get volunteer assistance in a variety of ways - transportation, small repairs, grocery shopping, technological needs, etc.
At Home in Alexandria is part of a movement growing in popularity across the nation - Village to Village Network. If you are interested in services like this, but don't live in Alexandria, there are other "villages" in operation in our area and across the country. You can search the Village to Village Network website to see if you have access to this program, or for information about initiating a program like this where you live.
These organizations are also in need of volunteers with a variety of skills and interests. Contact your local organization if you would like to participate or donate.
Here's more information from AARP:
Villages: Helping People Age in Place
Note: This is not posted as a donation solicitation. It is provided for ARTA members for informational purposes.
Dear AARP Member,
If we don't act now, Medicare patients may have to say goodbye to the doctors they know and trust.
Here's what's happening. For years, Congress has tried and failed to bring long-term stability to the amount doctors get paid through Medicare. As a result, doctors from time to time face dramatic cuts in how much Medicare pays them to see patients – which could mean they stop seeing Medicare patients altogether.
But it gets worse: as negotiations intensify in Congress right now, one of the most popular solutions on the table would pay doctors more by asking seniors to pay more for the Medicare benefits older Americans already rely on – meaning higher co-pays, higher premiums, and higher deductibles.
We're between a rock and a hard place.
There's a better way, but we need your help to see it through. AARP is fighting for a fix that would allow patients to continue to see their doctor without harmful cuts to benefits. We can get there if we turn up the pressure. We need 2,500 donors to join us right now to fund an all-out effort to win this fight. Will you chip in $5 to be one of them?
Another year, another battle. Congress bickers over the so-called "doc fix" that sets doctors' pay through Medicare each year.
Right now, there are plans afoot for a "permanent doc fix" that would end the year-in, year-out squabbling. But to do it, Congress will need to come up with a whopping $131 billion – and right now, they want to place much of that burden squarely on the shoulders (and wallets) of older Americans.
Don't get me wrong. We need a permanent doc fix. It's crucial that doctors get paid fairly to ensure they keep seeing Medicare patients. But we can't allow Washington to pay for this fix out of seniors' pockets – not when you've worked your whole life to earn your Medicare benefits.
Instead, we're pushing Congress to look at a plan that would lead to huge savings, paying for the doc fix by, among other things, cutting costs for prescription drugs.
Guess who doesn't like that plan? Drug companies. They'll be fighting us tooth and nail, along with an army of other special interest lobbyists who benefit from the current system. But with your help, we'll be ready to do whatever it takes to protect the benefits you've earned. When you make your gift, you'll be helping mobilize thousands of AARP activists to get letters and calls to Capitol Hill, schedule more visits to key decision makers, and to do whatever it takes to make sure Congress does the right thing. Please, chip in $5 today to help us reach our goal of 2,500 donors before February 26.
Protecting your financial security isn't easy. But when thousands of us work together, we can win this year's doc fix battle for older Americans – and make sure your doctor remains a trusted partner for years to come.
Here is a well-worded plea from the president of the New Hampshire NEA to their congressional delegates to ease Cadillac health plan tax implications.
NEA-NH President Asks Congressional Delegation to Ease “Cadillac” Tax Impact
His points, though specific to New Hampshire, reflect the impact of this legislation far beyond that state.
Here are a few articles on Affordable Care Act changes that might affect you, especially if you are not yet eligible for Medicare. ("Obamacare" happens to be used in the titles of most of these articles - no disrespect intended.)
Obamacare's 'Cadillac Tax' Could Help Reduce The Cost Of Health Care
How Obamacare’s “Cadillac Tax” will affect local governments, public employees and local taxpayers
How Obamacare will change employer-provided insurance
Nearly Half of U.S. Employers Expected to Hit the Health Care “Cadillac” Tax in 2018 with 82% Triggering the Tax by 2023
Are you wondering what's generating all this fuss? Here's the actual legislation.
26 U.S. Code § 4980I - Excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage
Whether you attended the ARTA meeting today or not, there is some background information you need to become familiar with related to your health insurance. The information in the link below will possibly affect health insurance you have through ACPS (United Healthcare plans only, at this point, and not Medicare plans), and might eventually affect you even if you aren't insured through the school system.
Here is a readable overview of portions of the Affordable Care Act that were broached in our meeting today.
Health Policy Briefs - Excise Tax on 'Cadillac' Plans
Stay tuned to this page for further information as it becomes available. You can receive updates on new posts by signing up for the RSS feed at the right or by liking ARTA's Facebook page, where links to updates will also be posted.
You are welcome to share this information with other retirees and anyone else who might be impacted by changes of this nature.
Related background information and articles will be posted on the ARTA Facebook page regularly. "Like" the Facebook page to stay informed in more detail.