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Issue Brief – Medicare and Telehealth: Coverage and Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Options for the Future

An issue brief published by Kaiser Family Foundation dives into the rapid expansion of telehealth during the pandemic. For example, among the vast majority of Medicare beneficiaries with a usual source of care (95%), such as a doctor or other health professional, or a clinic, nearly two-thirds (64% or 33.6 million) say that their provider currently offers telehealth appointments, up from 18% who said their provider offered telehealth before the pandemic.

But nearly a quarter of Medicare beneficiaries (23%) say they don’t know if their provider offers telehealth appointments, and this percentage is larger among beneficiaries who live in rural areas (30%). Continue reading

New Data on Advance Care Planning During Pandemic Coincides with Preparations for Healthcare Decisions Day

As the toll of COVID-19 continues to climb, newly released poll data suggest an opportunity to use the pandemic as a prompt for discussing and documenting older adults’ wishes for  care, in case of seriously illness or injury.

Overall, 59% of the 50- to 80-year-olds polled said they had had a conversation with loved ones about their preferences in case they became severely ill. That percentage was even higher — 70% — among those over age 65. Just 7% of all older adults polled said COVID-19 had motivated them to have such conversations. Continue reading

Poll Finds Big Shift in High-Risk Older Adults’ Attitudes Toward COVID-19 Vaccination

Last fall, nearly half of older adults were on the fence about COVID-19 vaccination – or at least taking a wait-and-see attitude, according to a University of Michigan poll taken at the time.

But a new follow-up poll shows that 71% of people in their 50s, 60s and 70s are now ready to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when a dose becomes available to them, or had already gotten vaccinated by the time they were polled in late January. That’s up from 58% in October. Continue reading

CDC Offers Interim COVID-19 Safety Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People While Mass Opens Vaccine Pre-Registration System

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offered the first set of public health recommendations for people fully vaccinated from COVID-19. This guidance will be updated and expanded based on the level of community spread of SARS-CoV-2, the proportion of the population that is fully vaccinated, and the rapidly evolving science on COVID-19 vaccines. Continue reading