Medicare & Insurance


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PBS NewsHour’s Latest Installment Explores a New Pilot Program For Vulnerable Older Adults

A new segment of PBS NewsHour’s “Taking Care” series will focus on California’s efforts to better serve low-income and disabled older adults. A news release issued by NewsHour reports that the June 27th broadcast will investigate California’s new pilot program, Cal Mediconnect, designed to coordinate care for vulnerable older adults. The release notes that California is one of 18 states trying pilot projects in an effort to bridge the disconnect between federally-run Medicare and state-run Medicaid.

In this installment, the release says, special correspondent Kathleen McCleery explores the experiences of several older adult Californians as they navigate the system. These individuals include Lydia Cornel, aged 85 years old, who has diabetes, congestive heart failure, and has sustained several strokes. Elsa, Cornel’s daughter who is also managing her care, states that her mother sees four different doctors, as well as a nephrologist and podiatrist.

Ellen Schmeding, director of Aging and Independence Services for the County of San Diego, explains that patients like Cornel must navigate “a disjointed system where everything that happens on the health side is in one silo, and the social services are in another, the two never meet to talk.”

However, under the Cal Mediconnect pilot program, according to Toby Douglas, director of the State Department of Health Care Services, the state “is combining all these different programs under one umbrella and one coordinated system where individuals don’t have to…navigate multiple systems on their own.”

Additionally, the release points out the program is intended not only to simplify care for older adults, but also lower costs by keeping enrollees out of hospitals and nursing homes.

The release also spotlights frustration and uncertainty regarding the pilot program. Patricia Delvechhio, former nurse, reportedly waited 8 months to schedule knee surgery and was denied care under the plan. Delvechhio tells McCleery in the broadcast that she is “very disappointed and very frustrated.”

Check local listings for the June 27th broadcast.

Previous broadcast reports appear on PBS NewsHour’s Long-term Care page

Source: PBS NewsHour