2014 National Primary Care Symposium on Aging

June 9, 2014 

Alexandria, Virginia

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Thank you to all our speakers, presenters, attendees and senior health advocates for attending the 2014 National Primary Care Symposium on Aging which took place June 9, 2014 in Alexandria, VA.

Check back for recorded sessions and presentation slides. If you have not completed the symposium survey already, we would like to hear from you. Please click here to be directed to the survey. 

Medication Misuse

Misuse and abuse of prescription medications is a growing public health problem among older adults. Recent reports show increased hospitalizations and visits to emergency rooms by older adults due to improper use of prescription and over-the-counter medications[1]. Prescription medication use by older adults is usually unintentional, and most misused medications are obtained legally through prescriptions[2]. The prescription medications most commonly abused by people of any age are painkillers, depressants, and stimulants[3].  julyupdatepic

Older adults are at high risk for medication misuse due to conditions like chronic pain, sleep disorders, and anxiety that commonly occur in this population[4]. As the body ages, changes in digestion, liver, and kidney function impact the way that medications are absorbed and metabolized, creating greater risks of physical and mental damage for older adults.

Unfortunately, these problems often go unrecognized by primary care providers. Primary care providers should try to integrate routine screening for medication misuse into regular medical visits with older patients. The treatment of disorders of prescription drug use in older adults may involve family and caretakers, and should take into account the unique physical, emotional, and cognitive factors of aging.

Early intervention is the key to preventing medication misuse and abuse among older adults. Screening, Brief Interventions, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is an evidence-based program used in a variety of health care, behavioral health, and aging network settings to screen for substance misuse and abuse and to intervene if necessary[5]




[1] (National Institute On Aging, 2012)



[2] (National Institute On Aging, 2012)



[3] (National Institute On Aging, 2012)



[4] (Older Americans Behavorial Health Technical Assistance Center, 2012)



[5] (Older Americans Behavorial Health Technical Assistance Center, 2012)





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