Business and Finance

Health Care

Seattle Times’ adult-family-home investigation wins national award

Seattle Times staff reporter Michael J. Berens won a national award for health-care reporting Tuesday for "Seniors for Sale," a series about problems in the state's adult family homes. Berens was awarded first place in the large-newspaper category by the Association of Health Care Journalists. Finalists included The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Adult homes are private residences, licensed by the state, whose owners charge for room

Read more
Delay in Suspending SEIU Training Program

OLYMPIA, March 4.--In one of the most astonishing survival stories ever, a plucky home-care training program backed by one of the state's most influential public-employee labor unions seems to be beating the odds in this year's brutal legislative session. The brand-new program, backed by the Service Employees International Union, is steaming full ahead. In the next two-year budget it will cost taxpayers $55 million. That's about the same cost as

Read more
Home care workers, clients deserve better from state

For years, our state's 43,000 poorly paid home care workers have lived right on the edge of insolvency. Now, harsh new rounds of state budget cuts threaten to push them over that edge entirely. Home care workers care workers do an important -- and difficult -- job. They assist vulnerable low-income seniors and people with disabilities to stay in their homes by helping them dress, clean, bathe, eat, shop, and remember to take their medications.

Read more
DSHS enforcement actions at long-term-care facilities now available on line

The public now has better access to information about the history and performance of state licensed long-term-care facilities through online postings of enforcement actions.   For More, see DSHS website

Read more
Finding Jobs for Mature Workers

Finding work is hard for millions of people in this economy--but even more so for disadvantaged workers aged 55+.  The National council on Aging (NCOA) helps through our Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), funded by the U.S. Dept of Labor.  Recently SCSEP opened a office in West Virginia, where staff not only train and place older workers, but also screen them for benefits to help them pay for food, medicine, and more.  For more

Read more
What you pay for Medicare won’t cover your costs

WASHINGTON (AP) - You paid your Medicare taxes all those years and think you deserve your money's worth: full benefits after you retire. Nearly three out of five people say in a recent Associated Press-GfK poll that they paid into the system so their benefits shouldn't be cut. But a newly updated financial analysis shows that what people paid into the system doesn't come close to covering the full value of the medical care they can expect to receive

Read more
Some Doctors asking Medicare Patients to switch plans

Some local doctors, once again faced with a large cut in what the government pays them for treating Medicare patients, are telling senior patients they must switch by year's end to better-paying private Medicare Advantage plans. Paul Williams, 72, was one of about 6,000 patients who recently received a letter from Highline Medical Group, a consortium of 35 doctors in eight clinics in the South Puget Sound area, telling them to switch plans by Jan.

Read more
$281M Cut from State Social Programs ‘Devastating,” Advocates say

Cutting programs for the mentally ill, disabled and poor elderly residents, the state's Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) announced Wednesday a wide swath of reductions totaling nearly $281 million and bringing a flood of concern from advocates for the poor and vulnerable. The 6.3 percent across-the-board cuts, some of which will begin in October, include nearly $113 million of state funding for Medicaid programs providing hospice care

Read more
DSHS Vows to Toughen Oversight of State’s Adult Homes

In an attempt to overhaul Washington's adult family-home system, the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is seeking new laws to boost the cost of opening new homes, raise training requirements and hike enforcement penalties for violators. In addition, an adult-home-industry group asked DSHS to stop licensing new homes in three key counties -- King, Snohomish and Clark. High vacancy rates are threatening to put dozens of owners out of

Read more
Getting Tough on Adult Family Homes

A SYSTEMIC overhaul of Washington's adult family home industry must lead to tougher regulations. The urgency is heartbreakingly illustrated by the specter of 236 deaths over five years that may have involved neglect or elderly abuse. Credit a Seattle Times investigative series, "Seniors for Sale," for shedding light on a burgeoning industry operating with impunity. Times reporter Michael J. Berens painstakingly documents deaths from suspicious falls,

Read more
Former caregiver sentenced in death of patient

In a rare conviction involving elder neglect, a former caregiver at a Kirkland adult family home was sentenced to 31 months in prison on Friday for the preventable death of Jean Rudolph, 87, who died from untreated pressure sores. Rudolph's mistreatment at the Houghton Lakeview adult home was detailed two weeks ago in The Seattle Times' continuing investigation into adult family homes. The Times reported that hundreds of seniors have been injured

Read more
Seniors for Sale – Exploiting the aged and frail in Washington’s adult family homes

The explosion that had ravaged Audree Hopkins' face, burning off both earlobes and the end of her nose, was a mystery. Seattle police Detective Suzanne Moore had her suspicions. But by the time Moore was called to the West Seattle elder-care home to investigate, five days had passed since the blast and nearly every shred of evidence was gone. The detective questioned workers who had cared for Hopkins, a stroke- and emphysema-hobbled 68-year-old who

Read more
Seniors for sale – Deaths in Adult Homes Hidden and Ignored

Some fell to the floor and bled to death internally. Others choked on food and suffocated. Still others languished for weeks as bedsores burrowed to the bone, ultimately killing them. In neighborhoods throughout Seattle and across the state, hundreds have died prematurely, many in avoidable misery, while living at state-licensed adult family homes. A Seattle Times investigation has uncovered at least 236 deaths that indicate neglect or abuse in these

Read more
Social Security celebrates 75 years

Social Security turned 75 last week. It should have been a joyous occasion, a time to celebrate a program that has brought dignity and decency to the lives of older Americans. But the program is under attack, with some Democrats as well as nearly all Republicans joining the assault. Rumor has it that President Obama's deficit commission may call for deep benefit cuts, in particular a sharp rise in the retirement age.   For More, see Social

Read more
Social Security Information and Links

Fact Sheet:  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Social Security Facts and Figures 2010 Issue Brief:  Social Security - A Promise to All Generations Fact Sheet Social Security Executive Commission April 2010

Read more
Monitoring Mom and Dad

IN the wee hours of July 14, Elizabeth Roach, a 70-year-old widow, got out of bed and went to the living room of her Virginia ranch home. She sat in her favorite chair for 15 minutes, then returned to bed. She rose again shortly after 6, went to the kitchen, plugged in the coffee pot, showered and took her weight and blood pressure. Throughout the morning, she moved back and forth between the kitchen and the living room. She opened her medicine

Read more
Going Broke Caring for Aging Parents

About 30 percent of adult children in the United States contribute financially to their parents' care for everything from uncovered medical expenses to making sure the refrigerator is stocked each week, writes Walecia Konrad in today's Patient Money column. But in the face of longer life spans and chronic illness, the costs of an aging parent can mean financial peril for the rest of the family.   For More, see Aging Parents

Read more
DSHS seeks crackdown on adult family homes

The state Department of Social and Health Services has recommended nearly a dozen new laws and launched reforms to rein in the growing adult-family home industry.   For More, see Adult Family Homes  

Read more
States Help Aged Leave Nursing Homes for Homes of Their Own

PHILADELPHIA -- Walter Brown never wanted to live in a nursing home, but when he had a stroke two years ago, he saw little choice. Mr. Brown, 72, could not walk, use his left arm or transfer himself into his wheelchair. "It was like being in jail," Mr. Brown said on a recent afternoon. "In the nursing home you've got to do what they say when they say it, go to bed when they tell you, eat what they want you to eat. The food was terrible."  

Read more
Video on the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program

Following is a video on the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program sent to us by Louise Ryan, Washington State LTC Ombudsman   To view the video, click on LTC Care Ombudsman

Read more