News/Press Releases

Trump Administration’s 2020 Budget Request “Deeply Troubling” for Older Americans, AGS

New York (March 14, 2019)—Trillions of dollars in cuts to everything from the nation’s largest insurer to programs for training more health professionals already in short supply round out a 2020 budget proposal that is “deeply troubling for older Americans, their families, and their health professionals,” so say experts from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). In comments posted today, the AGS raised several such concerns about priorities outlined in President Trump’s “Budget for a Better America,” a proposal falling far short of its name as it seeks to shrink or even eliminate health training, health research, health coverage, and health services for older adults in communities across the U.S.

“Even though this proposal is just a ‘wish list’ for now, it sends a troubling message” said Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA, Chief Executive Officer of the AGS. “That’s why we’re urging everyone to let the White House and Congress know that cutting supports for older adults now cuts care for us all as we age.”

In assessing the Trump Administration’s proposal released earlier this week, the AGS raised its most significant objections to:

New NIH Research Policy Seeks Greater “Inclusion Across Lifespan”; AGS Editorial Explains How…And Why

New York (Feb. 8, 2019)—The pipeline of research supporting care as we age is about to look a bit more like the country it serves—and for good reason. Beginning this year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), America’s premier institution for medical research, will for the first time in its history require NIH-funded scholars to eliminate arbitrary age limits in their work, age limits that previously allowed for excluding groups like older people without just cause. A series of articles recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) explores how the change came to fruition—in large part thanks to advocacy from organizations like the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and its member experts—and why the change matters, particularly in a world where living longer is possible thanks to past breakthroughs originating at the NIH.

“Clinical research, much of it championed by NIH scientists, has made increased longevity with less morbidity a tangible reality,” said William Dale, MD, PhD, one of the co-authors for an article describing the policy change. “To keep up that momentum, we need greater attention to age in current and future scholarship. We all have unique physiological changes and medical care needs as we get older, and the insights we gain working with older people today will teach us how to be healthier tomorrow.”

Report from Prestigious NIH-Funded Conference Looks to Biological “Pillars of Aging” for Better Grasp of Health

New York (Feb. 7, 2019)—Medical care for older adults has long focused on preventing and treating chronic diseases and the conditions that come with them. But now, geriatrics researchers and clinicians hope a new understanding—one honed at a prestigious conference hosted by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA), with support from The John A. Hartford Foundation—can lead to better and more effective interventions by targeting the aging process itself rather than discrete conditions or concerns.

“Aging is complex and varies from one person to the next, but there’s a growing body of evidence that aging itself is driven by interconnected biological factors we call ‘hallmarks’ or ‘pillars,’” said Christopher Carpenter, MD, MSc, FACEP, FAAEM, AGSF, one of the co-authors of a report on the conference. “We believe disrupting these hallmarks—which cover everything from the stability of our genes to ways our cells communicate—can contribute to chronic disease and frailty, which is why a better understanding of how they work is so important.”

Progress with Geriatrics Legislation Highlights Bipartisan Collaboration for Care We Need as We Age—AGS

New York (Jan. 31, 2019)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) today offered a ringing endorsement of the bipartisan Geriatrics Workforce Improvement Act, a proposal in the U.S. Senate to ensure communities across the U.S. have access to health professionals and other critical supports improving care for us all as we age.

Introduced by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.), the bill aims to address the shortage of health professionals expertly trained to care for older people, and also advances supports for older adults, caregivers, and the interprofessional teams responsible for delivering high-quality care. The bill draws on considerable insights from the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA), a collaborative comprised of more than 30 member organizations, including the AGS, reflecting the diverse expertise of millions of professionals who support health and aging for older Americans.

“The future we’re working for at the AGS—a future when all older Americans have access to high-quality, person-centered care—begins by building the workforce to make that possible, and by ensuring that workforce can connect us to the tools and supports we need as we age,” notes AGS Chief Executive Officer Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA. “We commend Sens. Collins and Casey for working with us and our partners to make that future a reality with the Geriatrics Workforce Improvement Act. By standing behind this legislation, we’re committed to a future when all Americans can look forward to affordable, high-quality, and person-centered care.”

For Older People, Medications Are Common; Updated AGS Beers Criteria® Aims to Make Sure They’re Appropriate, Too

New York (Jan. 31, 2019)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) today unveiled its latest update to one of geriatrics’ most frequently cited reference tools: The AGS Beers Criteria® for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults. With more than 90% of older people using at least one prescription and more than 66% using three or more in any given month,1 the AGS Beers Criteria®—a compendium of medications potentially to avoid or consider with caution because they often present an unfavorable balance of benefits and harms for older people—plays a vital role in helping health professionals, older adults, and caregivers work together to ensure medications are appropriate.

“Medications play an important role in health and wellbeing for many older people,” noted Donna M. Fick, PhD, RN, FGSA, FAAN, a co-chair of the expert panel responsible for the 2019 AGS Beers Criteria®. “With this new update, we hope the latest information on what makes medications appropriate for older people can play an equally important role in decisions about treatment options that meets the needs of older adults while also keeping them as safe as possible.”

For Experts in Aging, a New Take on Learning to Lead with Tideswell-AGS-ADGAP ELIA Program

New York (Jan. 3, 2019)—Experts in geriatrics, the healthcare specialty dedicated to our needs as we age, are making more than a New Year’s resolution to continue improving our care as we grow older. With the publication of new research in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS), these experts also hope their resolution will become a more tangible reality thanks to the Emerging Leaders in Aging (ELIA) Program, a promising approach to leadership development for a profession that has witnessed impressive growth but also tremendous demand in recent years.

Piloted by Tideswell at UCSF, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), and the Association of Directors of Geriatrics Academic Programs (ADGAP), ELIA has offered intensive leadership training to more than 60 geriatrics health professionals from all corners of the country. With an eye toward driving the social change necessary to make high-quality, person-centered care an actionable priority, ELIA’s qualitative and quantitative successes, published today in JAGS, chart a course toward leveraging long-distance mentoring and project-based learning to empower the emerging innovators we will need in greater and growing numbers as more of us age.

ACA Ruling Risks Future Stability of Care as We Age, AGS

New York (Dec. 20, 2018)—As it has since 2016, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) again expressed concern for the future stability of high-quality, person-centered, and affordable health care should bipartisan collaboration falter following a federal court ruling last Friday, which jeopardizes important gains under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The AGS is not alone. A host of legislators, policy experts, healthcare stakeholders, and older adults, families, and caregivers across the country have also called for swift action to clarify and appeal the decision, which questioned the constitutionality of the ACA after its “individual mandate” for health insurance was repealed in 2017. Though this week’s district court ruling does not immediately strike down the systems put in place by the ACA—systems which have been critical to securing health coverage for more Americans, including older adults—it does risk throwing our health care into greater chaos without swift, bipartisan action on effective solutions.

We All Want “Healthy Aging,” But What is It & How Do We Promote It? New AGS Report Looks for Answers & Solutions

  • New report from #geriatrics experts at @AmerGeriatrics explores concept of “healthy #aging”: What it means, why it matters, how it can become a reality for us all as we age https://bit.ly/2EXZsIV

New York (Nov. 1, 2018)—“Healthy aging” sounds like a priority we all can share, but for geriatrics healthcare professionals—the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, physicians assistants, social workers, and many others dedicated to the care we need as we age—that term represents something specific, and something worth defining. Led by Paul Mulhausen, MD, MHS, FACP, AGSF, colleagues from the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) set about doing just that as part of an expert panel convened to look critically at what “healthy aging” really means. Their definition—published in a white paper today in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (DOI: 10.1111/jgs.15644)—explores the intersection between our personal care goals and innovations in science, education, and public policy as the place where healthy aging may be understood best.

AGS Extends Deepest Condolences to Congregation of Tree of Life Synagogue

New York (Oct. 29, 2018)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS)—our members, leaders, and staff—extends our deepest condolences to the congregation of the Tree of Life synagogue, where a senseless act of gun violence this weekend claimed 11 lives, including a geriatrician who cared for older adults in Pittsburgh.

In offering our sympathy for those in Pittsburgh—and for the countless older adults, families, healthcare professionals, and so many others impacted by gun violence daily—we also continue to offer our voice, assistance, and expertise in the call for greater action on firearm-related injuries and deaths in the United States.

We join the American College of Physicians (ACP) and other colleagues across healthcare in condemning firearms violence and hate crimes—both as serious public health crises and as barriers to care our health workforce confronts all too often.

We remain resolved to continue our work with a diverse coalition of stakeholders to prevent firearms from being used intentionally or unintentionally to cause harm.

In Comments on 2019 Medicare Fee Schedule Proposal, AGS Calls for Putting Older People First

  • In comments to @CMSgov and legislators on 2019 #Medicare Fee Schedule Proposal #MPFS2019, @AmerGeriatrics and other #geriatrics stakeholders calls for putting older people first http://ow.ly/4HNV30m6hIg

New York (Oct. 4, 2018)—In a letter sent to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and described today in an extensive editorial published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS; DOI: 10.1111/jgs.15651), the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) voiced strong opposition to a proposal that would significantly change the way physicians and other qualified health care professionals are paid for Evaluation and Management (E/M) services under Medicare. According to AGS experts, the proposal presents a high risk for significant unintended consequences and could negatively impact patient care, especially for people with complex care needs. Outside the payment proposal, the AGS did commended CMS efforts to reduce the administrative burden associated with documentation requirements for E/M services, but continued to note that these positive steps forward could be overshadowed by changes to E/M payment, if finalized as written.