Medicare

RI News
8:11 am
Mon May 11, 2015

Increased Use Of Hospice Care, Driving Up Healthcare Costs

Brown University researchers have found that the increasing use of hospice care at the end of life has increased health care spending. That’s contrary to what experts expected.

Hospice is for patients with a terminal illness who are ready to forgo more aggressive treatments. It’s supposed to be less expensive. But Brown University researcher Pedro Gozalo says the numbers tell a different story. He found more people entering hospice, staying longer, and driving up costs. Gozalo said he supports the use of hospice care.

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The Pulse
1:18 pm
Mon May 4, 2015

New Data Reveal Most Prescribed Drugs To RI Medicare Recipients

In 2013, the top prescribed drug for Rhode Islanders with Medicare drug plans was Omeprazole, a treatment for heart burn, ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Health care providers wrote about 190,000 prescriptions for it.

(Reminder: Medicare is the health benefit plan for people over the age of 65 or disabled adults.)

That's followed by atorvastatin calcium (brand name Lipitor), used for lowering cholesterol - prescribed to 27,000 individuals.

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Health Care
6:00 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Brown Researcher: Hospital Quality Improvements Reduce Disparities

A rising tide lifts all boats. That’s the finding of a Brown University researcher who investigated whether hospital quality improvements brought better care for minority patients as well as white.

Brown University professor Amal Trivedi wanted to know if improved standards at hospitals have helped all patients equally.  Medicare asked hospitals to start reporting certain quality measures in 2005. Trivedi said that at that time, there were significant disparities between the care whites and minorities got at hospitals around the country.

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The Pulse
11:39 am
Fri November 21, 2014

At The Crossroads: How Will Medicare Grapple With Hep C?

My recent story about the high cost of new hepatitis C treatments focused on the difficulty of deciding who gets these new drugs now and who has to wait. That's because, while new drugs like Sovaldi and Harvoni (both made by Gilead) promise to cure a lot of people, they're so expensive we simply couldn't afford to treat everyone who's infected right now.

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The Pulse
4:00 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Coming Soon: Open Enrollment For Medicare Advantage, HealthSource RI

October 15 marks the start of open enrollment for anyone who wants to switch Medicare Advantage plans or join Medicare Part D, the prescription drug plan.

November 15 is when open enrollment begins for HealthSource RI, the second time around for Rhode Island's online health insurance marketplace for individuals, families, and small businesses.

Here's what we know so far about the options.

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