What We’re Reading at the Center for Long-Term Care Reform and Illinois Aging Together - Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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What We’re Reading at the Center for Long-Term Care Reform and Illinois Aging Together 

January 24, 2022

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group’s Center for Long-term Care Reform and Illinois Aging Together campaign are dedicated to advancing policies and structures that improve the conditions in which Illinoisans of all ages live, work, play, and age. Through our work, it is crucial for us to stay abreast of current events, developments, and stories in the aging and health sectors–and beyond.

Below are some of the recent articles that we found most pertinent to our work:

Who Will Take Care of America’s Caregivers (Michelle Cottle, New York Times)

Almost 42 million Americans are providing informal, caregiving support to a family member, taking on the cost and emotional labor of care in the absence of professional caregiving support. As workforce shortages across the aging and healthcare industries continue to grow and informal caregiving support fills that gap, we need to identify how caregivers are being supported and whether or not these informal caregiver relationships are sustainable for everyone involved.

Medicare Part B Premium Increase for 2022 Largest Ever (Dena Bunis, AARP)

Currently in 2021 Medicare Part B, which generally covers medically necessary services and preventive services, has a standard monthly premium of $148.50. However, in 2022 monthly premiums will rise to $170.10, an increase of $21.60. This increase is the largest in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS)  history. There are several reasons for the increase, according to CMS, but they anticipate the higher cost being mitigated by a cost-of-living adjustment to Social Security.

How Low Can They Go? Rural Hospitals Weigh Keeping Obstetric Units When Birth Declines (Charlotte Huff, Kaiser Health News)

Rural areas often struggle with attaining and retaining sufficient providers because of concerns about cost and population density. Rural hospitals are no exception to this struggle, often having to make difficult decisions about what services and departments to maintain and fund. Amidst low birth rates nationwide, especially in rural areas, many rural hospitals must assess whether they can and/or should keep their obstetric units open. This decision is complex and has health implications for many age groups and demographics.

What It Means to Design a Space for ‘Care’ (Alexandra Lange, Bloomberg CityLab)

Across all ages, sectors, and backgrounds care and caregiving are critical to the daily living of all community members. As care is such a collaborative, cross sector effort, urban planners and departments should consider putting more effort into facilitating care and caregiving through their services and infrastructure. Some planners even posit that the creation of a “Department of Care” is the future of city planning. While this title is new, the concept of integrating care, health, and wellness into city spaces is not.