Today’s blog isn’t just about policy. It is also about taking care of your own health affairs and those of your loved ones.  

While most all Americans think it’s a good idea to talk with their loved ones about end-of-life care, less than 30% have actually done it according to the American Bar Association.

To help solve that problem, the ABA has a new free smartphone app available – My Health...

Anyone remember the TV episode of “West Wing” where the White House staff of President Bartlet debate the political fallout of developing a new, better poverty definition?

Today, the U.S. Census Bureau released national data using a new formula based on recommendations of a National Academy of Sciences expert panel.

The bottom line: 16 percent of Americans (49.1 million) are poor according to the new measure compared to 15.2 percent according to the old measure, which will continue to be the official poverty measure for the time being. The new measure also documented a rise in poverty between 2009 and 2010, from 15.3 to 16 percent, as was also reported under the official definition.

Relief for seniors buying prescription drug coverage under Medicare who fall into the so-called donut hole has reached more than $460 million so far this year. The Affordable Care Act has provided almost 900,000 Americans an average benefit of $513.

States like California and New York saw a real boost to their economies as $45 million and $35 million was available to cover prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare. Presumably, this supplemental coverage freed up millions of dollars for seniors to pay other bills.

One in four Medicare dollars goes to care for individuals in the last year of their life. The Dartmouth Atlas Project has just released a new study looking at end-of-life medical care. The study found that there are lessons to be learned by looking at geographical differences.

In 2003, 32.2 percent of patients died in a hospital but by 2007, the rate had dropped to 28.1 percent. The rates vary greatly by geography: In 2007, the highest rates of death in a hospital were in regions in and around New York City, including...

Changes in state policy are helping Ohio rebalance its long-term-care system in a way that expands choices for consumers and results in cost savings.

The majority of state Medicaid programs are testing models of coordinated medical care to improve quality and reduce costs, particularly for patients with multiple chronic illnesses.  Patient-centered medical homes are similar to managed care approaches and health maintenance organizations, but ask providers to focus on improving care rather than managing costs. Such medical homes focus on improving the relationship between doctors and patients, aim to put the patient at the center of the care system, and provide coordinated and integrated care over time and across care settings. Descriptions of eleven states’ pilot programs or authorizing legislation are included.

One New Hampshire woman had been caring for her husband with Alzheimer's disease for two years. Devoted to his needs, she couldn’t leave the house. That meant she couldn’t go to her book club two nights a week.  What seemed like such a small thing was actually a key step in keeping her emotionally and mentally healthy, and avoiding burnout—a high risk for family members who become caregivers of sickly or elderly patients.