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In this week’s Friday Five, Maximus is reading about misperceptions around long-term care, avoiding a government shutdown, COVID-19 related health disparities, unemployment benefits, and a national artificial intelligence strategy.

1. Five myths about long-term care

In this piece published by the Washington Post, the author breaks down five common myths about long-term care that may be hampering the ability to reform the system. These include the misperceptions that traditional Medicare pays for long-term care, that most long-term care occurs in nursing homes, and that aging in place is always the best option. It also discusses how purchasers and insurance companies have moved away from long-term care insurance due to costs.

2. House passes stopgap spending bill

Earlier this week, the House passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through early December. According to FCW, the Senate is also expected to pass the bill. The bill continues funding levels until December 11, as well as extending several expiring programs, including coronavirus-related food aid distribution. Among other items, it also increases spending on the Veterans Administration’s electronic health records project and authorizes the Census Bureau to speed up their spending rate.

3. What are the top factors leading to COVID-19 health disparities?

Early in the pandemic, it became clear there were racial health disparities in both COVID rates and complications. Patient Engagement HIT reports new research has found that in addition to specific health conditions, these disparities can be tied to social determinants of health (SDOH). The SDOH factors that correlate with COVID outcomes and severity include race/ethnicity, age, gender, language barriers, income levels, air quality, housing security, transportation access, living in communal settings, employment type, payer type, and access to electronic or social media.

4. Funding for the extra $300 unemployment benefit is nearing depletion — but it’s lasting longer in some states

As of Tuesday, nine states have already paid out the six available weeks of extra $300 unemployment benefits to eligible residents. According to MarketWatch, 30 other states have been approved to distribute the funds and some are already in the process of doing so, and at least eight states are still waiting on approval. There may not be enough dedicated federal funding remaining for residents of those states to receive all six weeks of potential benefits.

5. Hurd, Kelly introduce resolution to encourage governmentwide vision of artificial intelligence 

Representatives introduced a national strategy for artificial intelligence (AI) to Congress on Monday. According to NextGov, the resolution would outline a unified vision for AI across the federal government, give federal employees support to develop AI tools, and ask agencies to focus on recruiting or developing talent. It also calls for a collaboration between experts and federal agencies in developing best practices for testing, evaluation, validation, and verification of AI technology.