News Roundup – June 17, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds the Affordable Care Act in California v. Texas, a decision issued on June 17, 2021. “For these reasons, we conclude that the plaintiffs in this suit failed to show a concrete, particularized injury fairly traceable to the defendants’ conduct in enforcing the specific statutory provision they attack as unconstitutional,” Breyer wrote. “They have failed to show that they have standing to attack as unconstitutional the Act’s minimum essential coverage provision.” Read more at CNN.

In Fulton v. Philadelphia (6/17/2021), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the City of Philadelphia violated the first amendment rights of Catholic Social Services (CSS) when it froze CSS’s referral contract after it refused to certify unmarried couples as prospective foster families. The opinion is viewed by some as an attack Obergfell v. Hodges. However, the holding was narrow and centered on the City’s contract which allowed the commissioner to make exceptions to its non-discrimination requirements; the Supreme Court held that in the absence of a compelling interest, refusing to grant a religious organization an exception and failure to certify CSS cannot survive strict scrutiny and violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.  Read CNN article.

NAELA Member Charles Golbert reviewed the Netflix film: I Care A Lot. Golbert writes: “Grayson preys on the people under her guardianship, some of whom do not need a guardian at all. She moves them to nursing homes for no clinical reason so that she can sell their homes and plunder the proceeds. She orders unnecessary sedatives and psychotropic drugs if an individual dares complain. To add insult to injury, she pays herself extravagant fees from the estates for her services.” This author watched the film and found it fascinating, particularly in light of my experience dealing with professional guardians. Read more

The Center for Medicare Advocacy reports that Congressman Joe Courtney (D-CT) leads a bipartisan group of Members of Congress to introduce legislation to count time spent by a patient in a hospital under outpatient “observation status” towards satisfying the three-day inpatient hospital stay prerequisite for Medicare Part A coverage of a skilled nursing facility (SNF) stay. Read more

Axios reports that America’s nursing homes fight to find enough caregivers. This has been a problem for years and will only get worse. Just as Social Security will have a difficult time funding baby boomer retirement since the average number of workers per retiree has precipitously dropped since the Social Security system was established, the ratio of available workers versus elders needing care is not keeping pace due to America’s declining birth rate. That means nursing homes will be competing with all industries for employees. As a result of increased demand for a limited supply of workers, it is inevitable that long-term care costs will increase as competition increases for these employees.

The Social Security Administration proposed to amend the general definition of income in 416.1102 to remove the specific reference to food. Additionally, we will change the definition of In-Kind Support and Maintenance (ISM) to no longer consider food expenses as a source of ISM. Instead, ISM would only be derived from shelter expenses (i.e. costs associated with room, rent, mortgage payments, real property taxes, heating fuel, gas, electricity, water, sewerage, and garbage collection services).

The IRS proposed regulations to provide guidance on changes to the required minimum distribution rules applicable to qualified retirement plans, individual retirement arrangements, section 403(b) plans and governmental section 457(b) plans made by the SECURE Act and to clarify rules on determining the designated beneficiary for purposes of applying the required minimum distribution rules. The regulations also provide guidance on statutory changes to the rollover rules of section 402(c) that have been made since regulations were first issued in 1995.

NIH’s Clinical Center announced a new study for adults between the ages of 18 and 70 who have fatigue and are cancer survivors or have been diagnosed with a chronic illness such as chronic fatigue syndrome and lupus. The objective is to test whether ketamine reduces fatigue in cancer survivors and people with chronic illness. Read more

The Dog Aging Project announced a presentation on June 23, 2021 at 1pm PDT / 4pm EDT on the Annual Follow Up Survey for dogs  that were nominated as a member of the Dog Aging Project. The annual survey occurs on Pack Day. Read more

An NIH news release announced that Scientists unraved the function of a sight-saving growth factor. The study breaks down pigment epithelium-derived factor to understand how it protects and stimulates retinal neurons. Read more

The GAO released a study on Factors affecting careers in the financial services industry for women with STEM degrees. A STEM degree is one in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math. Read more

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced:

NIH news release states: short breaks help the brain learn new skills. Read more

AMDA announces Live Webinar: Treatment of Type-2 Diabetic Patients in PALTC Setting: Quality Landscape and Guideline(s) Update. June 30, 2021 at 3pm ET. Register link.

The Administration on Community Living will hold a Medicare Virtual Fair on June 23, 2021, from 3pm to 7 pm. This virtual fair from the SHIP National Technical Assistance Center (SHIP TA Center) is for people turning 65, retiring, or joining Medicare because of a disability. Learn about Medicare and all its parts to help you in your enrollment decisions. There is no cost to attend. Join online for any length of time. Registration link

The AHRQ announced the release of a report on Prehospital Airway Management. The purpose of the report was assess the comparative benefits and harms across three airway management approaches (bag valve mask [BVM], supraglottic airway [SGA], and endotracheal intubation [ETI]) by emergency medical services in the prehospital setting, and how the benefits and harms differ based on patient characteristics, techniques, and devices. Also released was a report on Radiation Therapy for Brain Metastases.

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