Week In Review

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Date: 2/8/2019

New NIH Research Policy Seeks Greater Inclusion Across the Lifespan


Beginning this year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 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 AGS and its member experts.

Access a recap here, or delve deeper with the series of JAGS articles below:


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

Medical care for older adults has long focused on preventing and treating chronic diseases. But now, geriatrics researchers and clinicians hope a new understanding—one honed at a prestigious conference hosted by 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. 

Convened in 2016 as the second conference in a three-part series for recipients of the NIA's Grants for Early Medical/Surgical Specialists Transition into Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) program, the NIA "U13" conference brought together more than 100 scholars, researchers, leaders, and NIA representatives to stimulate research across the disciplines involved in high-quality, person-centered care. Conference findings, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (DOI: 10.1111/jgs.15788), detail how new methods of studying the older-adult population can reveal new tools and accelerate innovative treatments focused on big-picture outcomes important to people's lives, such as function and independence. Learn more here.

An Update on GACA VA Applicant Issues

Earlier this week, we learned that some applicants for the Geriatrics Academic Career Award (GACA) who work within the VA system have been notified that their applications were deemed "non-responsive" because of their VA employment. We reached out to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and learned that the decisions had been based on a determination that applicants who are either full- or part-time employees at the VA are federal workers, and therefore ineligible for funding under the Health and Human Services (HHS) grants policy. We pointed out that this decision is inconsistent with how the National Institutes of Health treats individuals who are on faculty at an academic institution and have full- or part-time VA appointments. We also noted it is quite common for individuals to be on university faculty and provide care at the VA. Finally, we conveyed to HRSA that this decision would unfairly penalize academic faculty who are providing clinical care to older veterans.

Our understanding is that the HRSA team has re-opened discussion of these decisions. We do not know if the decisions will be reversed but wanted to be sure members were aware that there is some movement on this front.

If you know an applicant who received a "non-responsive" notice due to VA employment, please email Marianna Drootin (mdrootin@americangeriatrics.org) with more details.

If you're an academic geriatrics expert who did not submit a GACA application, you may be eligible to assist with the important task of reviewing applications. Contact Vicky Johnson for additional information.

Spotlight on #AGS19: Remember to Apply for the Education Product Showcase

The Education Product Showcase in the Exhibit Hall at #AGS19 is a great place to present your educational resources to the our 2,500+ meeting attendees. We welcome products for classroom teaching and small group activities, as well as web-based modules, handouts, guides, "bedside" teaching tools, self-studies, and more. For additional information and to sign up for the showcase before the deadline (Fri., Feb. 22), click here.

Portland, Oregon skyline graphic


Are You or a Colleague Retiring This Year? Help Us Celebrate Your Contributions!

Are you or your colleagues retiring this year? Complete this brief survey so we can honor your contributions to geriatrics at #AGS19!

Here's What's Trending on MyAGSOnline

Link to MyAGSOnline

Congratulations to this week's most active members: Priya Mendiratta, MD, MPH, AGSF; Stephen Ryan, MD, MPH, AGSF; Rohit Jain; and Robert Zorowitz, MD, MBA, FACP, AGSF, CMD.

Upcoming Webinar: Mobility and Falls Prevention for Older Adults

Resources for Integrated Care, in collaboration with AGS, invites you to attend an upcoming webinar on "Mobility and Falls Prevention in Older Adults" (Wed., Feb. 13, 12-1:30pm ET). This webinar will provide an overview of the importance of falls assessment and prevention for older adults and their caregivers and will offer concrete interventions and strategies to improve mobility and prevent falls. The webinar offers CME/CE credit at no cost to participants. For more information and to register, click here.

Tell Congress to Close the Medicare Observation Status Gap

Under Medicare law, patients must have an inpatient stay in a hospital spanning at least 3 days for coverage of a subsequent rehab stay in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF). However, outpatients or those under "observation" often receive the exact same care as their inpatient counterparts. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that Medicare beneficiaries experienced 633,148 outpatient hospital stays that lasted longer than 72 hours. Problematically, Medicare would not cover follow-on rehabilitation services provided by an SNF for those long-term "observation" patients, even though the care received by patients under "observation" was medically necessary.

The observation status gap is unsustainable and unaffordable for older adults. Help show your support for filling this gap by signing the American Case Management Association's online petition campaign today. You can also access the email and Twitter campaign to contact your representatives here.

Things We Like: Families Open Up their Homes to Serve Veterans

In a recent segment on CBS this Morning, families who open their homes to veterans were highlighted in reporting on a medical foster home program through the VA. The program offers an alternative to long-term care facilities. Watch the segment here, and learn more about innovative VA programs (with plenty of input from AGS members!) in a Home Health Care News article here.

Don't Forget...

  • The 2019 Updated AGS Beers Criteria® are now available, with several free benefits for AGS Members. Members can immediately access the AGS Beers Criteria® by logging into their member accounts at GeriatricsCareOnline.org. Additionally, and as a brand-new benefit in 2019, members will receive an AGS Beers Criteria® Pocketcard with their complimentary copy of Geriatrics at Your Fingertips, released each May.
  • Cast your vote in the AGS Leadership Election before polls close on Thurs., Feb. 28. If you did not receive your electronic ballot (sent via e-mail on Fri., Feb. 1), please email Mary Jordan Samuel at mjsamuel@americangeriatrics.org.
  • Have you helped older adults or your health system choose tests and treatments wisely thanks to the Choosing Wisely campaign? Submit your application for the AGS Choosing Wisely Champions Award before Tues., Mar. 5. Access our Choosing Wisely list available for free here.
  • The Geriatrics Review Syllabus: 10th Edition (GRS10) is now available on GeriatricsCareOnline.org.
  • Attending #AGS19? Don't forget to sign up for the mentor program.