Health AGEnda

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Thanks_shutterstock_6511135_600pGive thanks for the older adults in your life. And best wishes for a happy, healthy Thanksgiving from Health AGEnda and the John A. Hartford Foundation.

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Congratulations to Our 2015 GSA Award Winners!

GSA2015banner300The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has been one of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s key grantee partners for more than 20 years. The organization is now the home of the John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Initiative, which is helping interprofessional alumni of our programs work together in exciting new ways to make practice and policy changes that improve the care of older adults.

As a Fellow of the society who had the privilege of serving as president of the organization’s board, I know first-hand how important GSA is to the entire field of aging. The GSA annual scientific meeting has always been a highlight for me, and that’s especially true this year, as it’s my first time attending as President of the John A. Hartford Foundation. As always, I am thrilled to learn about the latest aging science across the spectrum of academic disciplines. And at this year’s conference in Orlando, I also get to engage with grantees to learn more about their work, and with leaders in the field to discuss the Foundation’s important efforts, which have often supported many of these individuals.

As it does every year, the GSA awards program features many of these Foundation-supported leaders among those being honored. We congratulate the following awardees and look forward to continuing to work with them and others to advance better care for our aging population:

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Medicare’s Advance Care Planning Payment
Is a Game-Changer

Amy Berman, on a recent trip to Hawaii. "I have done so much more than survive. I have thrived."

Amy Berman, on a recent trip to Hawaii. “I have done so much more than survive. I have thrived.”

The end of October marked five years since I was diagnosed with stage IV inflammatory breast cancer, a life-limiting disease. A small fraction of people (11-20 percent) in my situation survive to five years.

Clearly, I have survived. But I have done so much more than survive. I have thrived. I still work and enjoy a great life. I feel good. And unlike most people with my medical condition, I’ve never been hospitalized—no surgery and none of the combination infusions. I take medication to hold back the cancer but, with my team, I choose treatments with the least burden and side effects. And this has helped me thrive!

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Why Grantmakers In Aging Is Important

GIA2015_logo_300pEach year, the program staff of the John A. Hartford Foundation attend a three-day meeting with foundations known as Grantmakers In Aging (GIA), an affinity group representing local, regional and national funders that share our interest in improving the lives of older adults.

Some funders, like the John A. Hartford Foundation, are focused on improving the health of older adults. Others focus on a diverse range of interests, including the provision of direct services, arts and aging, economic security, age-friendly communities, and workforce.

There are two main reasons why the GIA annual conference is one of the most important events of the year for me and my colleagues at the John A. Hartford Foundation:

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Tools You Can Use: State-by-State Palliative Care Report Card

Click image to view or download a PDF of the state-by-state report.

Click image to view or download a PDF of the state-by-state report.

In health care, as in so much of life, where you live matters. Understanding geographic variation in health care has long been a useful tool for targeting our attention and making improvements where we need them most.

Thanks to a report card released earlier this month by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) and National Palliative Care Research Center, you can find out how well or poorly your state and geographic region is doing regarding equitable access to palliative care in hospitals. You can use this information to help advocate for better access in your state and at the national level.

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Bringing Proven Depression Treatment to a Greatly Underserved Population

From left, Bighorn Valley Health Center (BVHC) board members Luella Brien and Cari McCleary; U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana; Bighorn County Commissioner Sidney Fitzpatrick; BVHC Medical Director Earl Sutherland (front); BVHC CEO David Mark, MD; and board members Carlene Old Elk and Alma McCormick.

From left, Bighorn Valley Health Center (BVHC) board members Luella Brien and Cari McCleary; U.S. Sen. Jon Tester of Montana; Bighorn County Commissioner Sidney Fitzpatrick; BVHC Medical Director Earl Sutherland (front); BVHC CEO David Mark, MD; and board members Carlene Old Elk and Alma McCormick.

Editor’s Note: The Bighorn Valley Health Clinic in Hardin, Montana, is one of eight primary care community clinics receiving funding through the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF) initiative to spread the IMPACT program, also known as Collaborative Care, in the rural Pacific Northwest.

The John A. Hartford Foundation was one of just four new awardees chosen in 2012 to serve as an intermediary between SIF and subgrantees implementing innovative care models. As a result, a $3 million federal grant has been matched by $3 million from the John A. Hartford Foundation, with additional matching grants from the subgrantees, to spread the IMPACT/Collaborative Care model of depression treatment in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho.

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Fighting ‘Chronic Despair’ in Rural Communities in Washington State

Members of the Behavioral Health team at Valley View Health Center.

Members of the Behavioral Health team at Valley View Health Center.

Editor’s Note: The Valley View Health Center in Chehalis, Washington, is one of eight primary care community clinics receiving funding through the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF) initiative to spread the IMPACT program, also known as Collaborative Care, in the rural Pacific Northwest.

The John A. Hartford Foundation was one of just four new awardees chosen in 2012 to serve as an intermediary between SIF and subgrantees implementing innovative care models. As a result, a $3 million federal grant has been matched by $3 million from the John A. Hartford Foundation, with additional matching grants from the subgrantees, to spread the IMPACT/Collaborative Care model of depression treatment in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho.

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Tools You Can Use: What You Need to Know About Evidence-Based Programs

Evidencetoprograms_Screengrab_400pFor more than a decade, support for evidence-based programs that improve care for older adults has grown consistently—though perhaps not as quickly as many advocates would like.

The reason is that evidence-based interventions—backed by research that demonstrates their effectiveness—are the gold standard for care. Studies have shown that older adults who participate in evidence-based programs have a lower risk—or improved outcome—of chronic diseases and falls.

The John A. Hartford Foundation has been committed to developing and disseminating evidence-based programs that improve care for older adults since 2001. That was the year the Board of Trustees approved a $1.3 million grant to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), giving birth to several specific evidence-based programs that have lasted: Healthy Ideas, Healthy Moves, and Healthy Eating.

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Making the Voices of Older Americans Heard in Health Policy

This is the last in a series of six Health AGEnda posts on the 2014 Annual Report.

This is the last in a series of six Health AGEnda posts on the 2014 Annual Report.

Editor’s Note: The John A. Hartford Foundation’s 2014 Annual Report features five profiles of Hartford Change AGEnts whose work is representative of the kinds of practice and policy change the initiative is making. Read Harnessing the Power of Hartford Change AGEnts for more on the Change AGEnts Initiative. Today, we meet Renée Markus Hodin, Carol Regan, and Gregg Warshaw, MD, of Community Catalyst, who are working to bring the perspectives of older adults and aging-expert health professionals to efforts to improve care for the vulnerable population eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. The John A. Hartford Foundation Board of Trustees recently approved a three-year, $1.5 million renewal grant to expand Community Catalyst’s work. This post concludes our special Health AGEnda series spotlighting the stories and videos of Hartford Change AGEnts profiled in the Annual Report.

As a geriatrician, Gregg Warshaw, MD, has watched with mounting frustration as older adults are bounced back and forth between nursing homes and hospitals—decisions often driven by the different financial models used by Medicare and Medicaid.

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An Open Letter to CMS: Medicare Rule Covering
End-of-Life Conversations Would Be Lifesaving

Amy Berman prepares for her single, larger dose of image-guided radiation therapy.

Amy Berman prepares for her single, larger dose of image-guided radiation therapy.

Editor’s Note: The following open letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, written by Senior Program Officer Amy Berman, was originally published by the Washington Post on Sept. 28, 2015. To read the article on their site, please visit A nurse with fatal breast cancer says end-of-life discussions saved her life. 

To: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:

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