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In this week’s Friday Five, MAXIMUS is reading about a decrease in preventable hospitalizations, building awareness of age-friendly care, improving employment rates, how Medicaid can encourage saving, and the Dept. of Veteran Affair’s plan to increase innovation.

1. Medicaid expansion reduced preventable hospitalizations 

A new study found that states who expanded Medicaid had lower hospital admissions, shorter stays, and lower costs for preventable hospitalizations. According to Modern Healthcare, most of the decline was from patients with chronic respiratory illnesses, complications from diabetes, and pneumonia. These findings back up prior studies, which have found Medicaid expansion increases coverage, use of services, and quality of care.

2. Providers and caregivers need better awareness of age-friendly care 

Many patients and caregivers are unaware they can receive ‘age-friendly care,’ according to a study discussed in Healthcare Finance. While nearly 90% of elderly patients reported they were satisfied with their care, only half said their providers did a good job providing an age-friendly approach. The study defined age-friendly care as addressing what mattered to patients, focusing on mobility, using medications that don’t interfere with quality of life, as well as offering age appropriate treatment for depression, dementia and other mental health conditions.

3. The mancession is finally over 

More than 80% of prime-age adults (ages 25-54) are currently employed, matching numbers from January 2007. In this Bloomberg Opinion piece, the author makes the point that women’s employment is almost back to an all-time high, while men’s employment still lags behind its peak. The majority of men not in the labor force, reported illness/disability as the primary reason. Other reasons include being retired, responsibilities at home, or attending school. 

4. Financially stressed families save more with Medicaid, study shows 

Families under financial stress are more likely to save money if they have access to Medicaid, according to a new study. Medical Xpress reports that families without Medicaid have no incentive to save since their savings can be wiped out by bankruptcy caused by an unexpected medical bill. States with higher bankruptcy exemptions saw a bigger increase in savings rates from financially stressed individuals on Medicaid.

5. VA brings in FedTech for employee innovation trainings 

The Department of Veterans Affairs has hired a contractor to help their employees ‘turn ideas into solutions.’ According to FedScoop, the training will include lessons on how to prototype, create a business plan, and measure return on investment. The goal of the project is to increase innovation while providing better services to veterans, and is one of several efforts underway at the agency.