February2016AgingSiteAMD/Low Vision Awareness

 

Low vision occurs most often in older adults because they are most likely to contract the diseases that cause low vision, including Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD)[1].  For people with low vision, the quality of their vision interferes with their ability to perform everyday activities, such as reading the mail, shopping, cooking, writing, watching television, and driving

15 million adults over the age of 50 are affected by AMD[2]. AMD is the number one cause of severe vision loss in U.S. adults over age 60.  It develops so slowly that you may not even notice it until your vision is severely impaired. The cause of AMD is not known

Factors that may increase your risk of AMD and affect your vision include:

  • high blood pressure,
  • high cholesterol,
  • obesity and
  • smoking

Symptoms of AMD may include:

  • Need for brighter light when reading
  • Increased blurriness of printed words
  • Decrease in brightness of colors
  • Blurred spot in the center of the field of vision
  • Abrupt decline in central vision
  • Visual distortions, such as straight lines appearing wavy, or objects appearing larger or smaller than they are

People with low vision should be aware rehabilitation services such as training in the use of magnification devices, electronic devices, computer-assistance devices, are available through Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired. These services help people maximize their remaining vision or learn alternate ways to do activities around their community and home

Protect your vision. Talk with your eye care professional annually for a thorough eye exam. Learn more about AMD and vision loss here.

[1] February is National AMD and Low Vision Awareness Month.
[2]  American Society of Retina Specialists. Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare Open Enrollment ended on December 7. If someone missed the Open Enrollment Period and is truly dissatisfied with their Medicare Advantage plan, there is a Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) that lasts from January 1 to February 14 of the following year. A person in a Medicare Advantage Plan can leave their plan, switch to Original Medicare, and join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage during this period. Learn more about joining a health or drug plan.
There are specific times when a person can sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) or Medicare prescription drug coverage . They can also make changes to existing coverage:

1. If they first become eligible for Medicare or turn 65 during the Initial Enrollment Period
2. During certain yearly enrollment periods
3. Under certain circumstances that qualify the person for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

Learn more about the Medicare C & D enrollment periods and be sure to take advantage of everything Medicare has to offer.

[1] Understanding Medicare Part C & D Enrollment Periods. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Oct. 2012. Web. Dec. 2013.


BPHC released the new Governance PIN (http://bphc.hrsa.gov/policiesregulations/policies/pin201401.html).  There will be multiple opportunities for training regarding the new PIN, including TA calls specific for consultants and for special populations.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has released Policy Information Notice (PIN) 2013-01: Health Center Budgeting and Accounting Requirements. The PIN is available at: http://bphc.hrsa.gov/policiesregulations/policies/pin201301.html