2016 Press Releases

AGS Sets Sights on Better Care, More Responsive Policies for “Unbefriended” Older Adults

Experts call for “national effort” supporting older adults who are already or might soon be “unbefriended”—a term for those who lack designated decision-makers and are no longer able to make medical decisions on their own.

New York (Nov. 22, 2016)—Experts at the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) today unveiled new guidance on care and decision-making for a unique and growing group of older adults: the “unbefriended.” Proposed clinical practice and public policy changes would support some of society’s most vulnerable individuals while also helping protect more of us from becoming unbefriended as we age.

The “unbefriended” lack the capacity to provide informed consent to medical treatment, often due to declines in physical and/or mental well-being. But these individuals face added challenges because they have no written outline of their care preferences and also have no identified “surrogate,” such as a family member or friend, to assist in medical decision-making when needed. Baby boomers are at particular risk for becoming unbefriended, since more than 10 million boomers live alone and as many as 20 percent have no children.

Medicare to Cover Key Services Championed by AGS to Improve Care for Chronically Ill

New York (Nov. 4, 2016)—This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Final 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rule showing their continued support for reimbursing services provided to Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions.  

As a result of ongoing advocacy from the AGS and our fellow stakeholders, these proposals, which will take effect in 2017, recognize much of the cognitive work that geriatrics healthcare professionals, primary care providers, and other cognitive specialists currently and regularly provide—until now without reimbursement. 

Starting Jan. 1, 2017, CMS will recognize the following services for Medicare beneficiaries:

New Editorial & Virtual Journal Issue Commemorate Key Research that Shaped Geriatrics from 2000-2015

Experts from across geriatrics assessed research published since the new millennium to identify 20 seminal articles on everything from cognition and physical disabilities to frailty and medication use

  • New @AGSJournal editorial, virtual issue commemorate 20 studies that shaped #geriatrics from 2000-2015 

New York (Aug. 24, 2016)—new editorial and corresponding virtual journal issue offer a look back at 20 of the most important studies impacting older adult care as published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) from 2000 to 2015.

This retrospective on nearly two decades of scholarship provides perspective on how geriatrics, gerontology, and long-term care evolved since the new millennium, and where and why that progress continues to impact the present and future of eldercare expertise. Thomas T. Yoshikawa, MD, AGSF—who served as Editor-in-Chief of JAGS during this timeframe—authored the editorial outlining article selections with current Executive Editor Joseph G. Ouslander, MD, AGSF, and new JAGS Editor-in-Chief William B. Applegate, MD, MPH, MACP, AGSF.

AGS Continues Conference Series Exploring Cutting-Edge Geriatrics Thanks to Prestigious NIA/NIH “U13” Program

More than $173,000 from the nation’s penultimate research body will support a series of scientific conferences pushing eldercare expertise to meet the needs of America’s growing older adult population.

New York (June 17, 2016)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) will continue a series of prestigious scientific conferences on emerging issues in geriatrics thanks to sustained funding from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Conference Cooperative Agreement (or “U13”) Program. More than $173,000 in funding over five years will enable the AGS to continue coordinating U13 “bench-to-bedside” conferences on new topics pertinent to older adults. This recently funded series will focus on developing and prioritizing an actionable agenda related to multimorbidity by focusing each of three conferences on a common and clinically important pair of co-existing chronic conditions: sensory impairment and cognitive decline, osteoporosis and soft tissue (muscle/fat) disorders, and cancer and cardiovascular disease. Since 2004 the AGS has worked with the NIA through the NIH U13 Program to explore and clarify insights on the cutting-edge of geriatrics, having addressed sleep and circadian rhythms (2015) and delirium (2014) in recent years.

AGS Commends CMS Proposed Medicare Payment Policies to Improve Care for the Chronically Ill

New York (July 12, 2016)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) commends the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for continuing to support improved payment for services provided to Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions as part of the 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule. As a result of ongoing advocacy from the AGS and other specialties, CMS has proposed making payment for a number of services provided to chronically ill older adults—changes which dramatically improve current payment for chronic care management and management of people transitioning from hospital care to the home.

These proposals, which will take effect in 2017 if finalized, recognize much of the cognitive work that geriatrics healthcare professionals, primary care providers, and other cognitive specialists currently and regularly provide—until now without reimbursement—to those with chronic and acute illnesses. We thank CMS for recognizing the value and importance of this care and believe that it will dramatically improve the ability of many providers to keep older adults out of the hospital and emergency room.  

New Award from AGS Celebrates Outstanding Scientific Achievement in Honor of Thomas & Catherine Yoshikawa

Named in honor of two pillars of geriatrics who advanced clinical leadership and health scholarship for more than two decades, this new distinction from the AGS will support emerging clinician-investigators beginning in 2017

  • New Thomas & Catherine Yoshikawa Award from @AmerGeriatrics celebrates legacy of scientific achievement in #geriatrics

Long Beach, Calif. (May 19, 2016)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) and its Health in Aging Foundation today announced their newest honor for recognizing excellence in geriatrics research: the Thomas and Catherine Yoshikawa Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement in Clinical Investigation. Named in honor of Dr. Thomas T. Yoshikawa and his wife, Catherine—who together served the AGS and the geriatrics community for more than two decades—the Yoshikawa Award will offer recognition and financial support to emerging eldercare scholars who represent the early promise of the Yoshikawas’ own illustrious career.

“AGS leaders are delighted to be celebrating Tom and Cathy Yoshikawa with this named award,” said Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA, CEO of the AGS. “The award criteria reflect their commitment to fostering clinical research and to mentoring investigators at all stages of their careers.”

AGS Opens 2016 Annual Meeting Welcoming Second Nurse President

New York (May 10, 2016)—As more than 2,000 geriatrics experts prepare to converge on the West Coast to advance quality care for older adults, they will also toast the expanding professional breadth of geriatrics itself: Ellen Flaherty, PhD, APRN, AGSF, a member of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) for nearly two decades, will become the Society’s 63rd President at the start of the 2016 AGS Annual Scientific Meeting, held May 19-21 at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center in Long Beach, Calif.

“What a remarkable privilege it is to be named AGS President. I’ve been a proud AGS member for 18 years, and it will be an honor to step into this role as an advocate for geriatrics and for older adults,” said Dr. Flaherty. “I’m particularly proud to be the second nurse member to hold this position. You could say that nursing and geriatrics are in my DNA: both my mother and sister are nurses, and I began my career in geriatrics volunteering in a nursing home as a teenager. It’s been such a rewarding career ever since.”

Innovations in Care, Research, Policy Fueling Future Progress for 46 Million Older Adults at 2016 AGS Annual Scientific Meeting

New York (April 12, 2016)—Multifaceted programs to prevent the use of potentially inappropriate medications, efforts to reduce certain unnecessary medical procedures, and novel interventions for linking particularly vulnerable older adults to Medicare are among headline presentations anchoring the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Annual Scientific Meeting (AGS16), held May 19-21 at the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in Long Beach, Calif.

Presentations at the prestigious Plenary Paper Session at AGS16 (May 19, 10-11 a.m.) represent some of geriatrics most promising scholarship as assessed by peer experts and program planners from a pool of more than 800 abstract submissions. This year’s highlights include:

AGS Honors Expert & Emerging Geriatrics Leaders at 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting

New York (April 11, 2016)—The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) annually honors researchers, clinicians, educators, and emerging health professionals who have made outstanding contributions to high-quality, patient-centered care for older adults. This year’s award recipients include more than 15 leaders representing the breadth of disciplines championing elder care in the U.S.

Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award for Practicing Doctors

  • Laura Iglesias Lino, MD (Baystate Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine)

Choosing Wisely® Champion Awards

  • Heidi-Ann Courtney, PA-C (Baystate Medical Center)
  • Ariel R. Green, MD, MPH (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine)

Clinician of the Year Award

  • Lisa Tank, MD, FACP (Hackensack University Medical Center; Rutgers New Jersey Medical Center)

Clinical Student Research Award

  • Margaret Puelle, BS (University of Michigan)

David H. Solomon Memorial Public Service Award

  • Thomas T. Yoshikawa, MD, AGSF (Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society; Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Health Care System; University of California at Los Angeles; Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science)

Dennis W. Jahnigen Memorial Award

Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2015 Passes U.S. Senate

Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act has passed the U.S. Senate and will now be sent to President Obama for his signature, ending a long gap in affirming important programs serving older adults.

New York (April 8, 2016)–Representing nearly 6,000 healthcare professionals dedicated to improving the health, independence, and quality of life of older adults, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) commends the U.S. Senate on passing a House-amended version of the Older Americans Act (OAA) Reauthorization Act of 2015, key legislation to deliver social and protective services to older Americans through 2018.

Introduced by U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in 2015, the bill will strengthen landmark legislation originally passed in 1965—and overdue for reauthorization since 2011. Among other objectives, the legislation aims to address elder abuse; evidence-based care; effective coordination of services at the federal, state, and local levels; and several other challenges confronting older Americans and their healthcare professionals.

“The OAA reflects our national commitment to protect and provide for generations of older Americans who helped shape the society we now share,” said AGS CEO Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA. “It’s important that all branches of government stand behind legislation like the OAA, which reflects the attention and respect that older adults deserve.”

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