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April, 2007

Senior News from April, 2007

Lost Funding Worries Wisconsin Seniors

SeniorCare, the Wisconsin program that helps low-income senior citizens to get their prescription drugs will lose its funding on June 30th this year.  Critics argue that this decision will result in Wisconsin seniors paying more for drugs and receiving less coverage. They also say that pharmaceutical companies will make more profit, since the new plan will no longer allow the state to negotiate drug prices.


Leslie Norwalk, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, contended that senior citizens could get comparable coverage under the new Medicare drug benefit, Medicare Part D, which did not exist when the SeniorCare program was created.  Still many Wisconsin seniors are wary of this change, and want to know what prescription drug program is best for them now.


For more information about SeniorCare and Medicare Part D, visit the AARP website.


Congressional Report Bashes Quality of Care

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (PDF) strongly criticizes the conditions of nursing homes across the country and cites the mistreatment of patients.  The report also condemns the use of minimal penalties issued to nursing homes in violation of the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, which mandates that care facilities maintain the highest standards of well-being for their patients.  With the passage of this act, a national effort has been underway to improve the care of nursing facilities in America, but this new investigation reveals that little has changed at some of the most poorly-operated establishments over the years.  Poor quality care, poor nutrition services, medication errors, and the employment of abusive and criminal caregivers are among the most serious problems highlighted in the report. 


The report should serve as a wake-up call to oversight agencies, and a call for the need of stronger punishments for facilities and caregivers who violate the law.  It should also serve as a reminder of how important it is to choose a credible and safe facility for yourself or a loved one.  Do plenty of research before making a decision, and make sure the facility does background checks on their employees. 


For more information, visit the AARP website for a helpful tips page.

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