first_imgThe website iHelp BR was able to find a group of new icons and workout titles hidden in the recent iOS 11 beta, seeming designed for the Watch’s Workouts app. These activities aren’t currently supported by the Apple Watch for tracking, with many being more complex to track than the typical exercise routine, including dance, gymnastics, and kickboxing.The full list of icons and activities named are the following: badminton, barre, basketball, baseball, bowling, boxing, climbing, core training, cricket, cross training, curling, dance, equestrian sports, fencing, fishing, flexibility, football, functional training, golf, gymnastics, jump rope, kickboxing, lacrosse, paddle sports, pilates, sailing, skating, and skiing.The workouts aren’t included in the latest watchOS 4 beta, possibly indicating that they all may not be compatible with the current Apple Watch hardware. There’s been increasing rumors in the last few weeks about a new Apple Watch model, likely named “Series 3,” and it may include hardware improvements that allow it to support a wider range of workouts.SOURCE iHelp BR Story TimelineTim Cook himself is testing the new Apple Watch’s huge medical featureNike+ Apple Watch bands match new Air VaporMax running shoesSwiss watchmaker H. Moser creates $27k Apple Watch lookalikeDetached back cover on your Apple Watch 1? Get it fixed for freeApple Watch LTE tipped for this year [Update]Apple Watch 3 will look the same, gain LTE says Kuo Apple‘s latest firmware updates continue to give us hints and leaks about upcoming devices and features. While the latest isn’t as big as the iPhone 8 discoveries in the recent HomePod software, the new iOS 11 beta reveals that Apple may be adding support for a large number of new exercise activities to the Apple Watch‘s Workouts feature.last_img read more

first_imgThe 470EX-AI can automatically reorient the flash head depending on the subject or the indoor location, but you have to reconfigure it each time you change one of those. For those with a bit more experience who simply want the flash to remember its position, there are modes for that as well.AdChoices广告The Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI goes on sale in April with a retail price of $399.99. It is compatible with a variety of Canon EOS Digital and even EOS Film cameras, but the exact features available will depend on the model. MWC 2018 may still be ongoing, but camera makers are wasting no time to introduce new products to shutterbugs. In fact, they seem to be timing it well to offer refuge for those who want to graduate from smartphone cameras. To help such newcomers, Canon is launching an interesting new flash, one with a different kind of “AI”. No, not artificial intelligence but Auto Intelligent Bounce, a flash technology that automatically moves and rotates the flash head for the best bounce angle for any kind of indoor shot. A camera flash isn’t the simplistic, fixed light source that smartphones would have novices believe. Used incorrectly, a flash can ruin a shot instead of improving it. More than just intensity or color, the light’s bouncing angle from ceilings or walls can either hinder or help in taking that perfect indoor photo opp.Budding photographers have it the hardest, as that bounce angle is yet another setting they have to mind. That’s where the Canon 470EX-AI comes in. Using the Full AI setting, users can simply let the flash determine the best angle for them. More impressively, with a quick double press of the shutter, the flash will also reorient itself if you turn the camera sideways.last_img read more

first_imgThe new feature sounded simple enough. When you logged into any Google service using a Chrome browser, you would also be signed into that Chrome browser using that same Google account. Log out of either the Chrome browser or the Google service and you’d be signed out of the other automatically. Google’s aim was to reduce the confusion at having two separate sign-ins and to reduce the risk of making a (tracked) Google search using your account while logged into the Chrome account of another.Except that’s not what long time Chrome users have been accustomed to. It has only made it more confusing and, considering it wasn’t a widely publicized change, potentially more problematic. At the most extreme, some have accused Google of turning Chrome browser into simply a gateway for Google services and tricking users into unwittingly sharing their browsing history with Google even if they only logged into Gmail.Google clarifies that the new Chrome sign-in feature doesn’t automatically turn Chrome sync on, which means browsing history, cookies, passwords, and whatnot are not suddenly being tracked. Users have to explicitly turn tat on if they want to. And starting Chrome 70, users will have the option to disable that link. The UI will also be made to reflect the confusing duality of sign-ins and syncing.AdChoices广告Google is obviously not backing down from its stance but it could have spared itself some headache if it had been more upfront about the feature. Then again, it would still have been criticized for it, as critics are wont to do regardless. Story TimelineGoogle Chrome marks 10th birthday with new look, new tricksChrome OS 69 finally brings Linux apps to stable channelChrome 69 ties Google services with browser login For the most part, Chrome 69 is a significant release, bringing in a new Material Design, a smarter search bar, and more. But thanks to a rather unannounced feature, it has turned into quite a mess. Contrary to its stated goal, the new sign-in consistency only brought more confusion and the usual monopolistic accusations. Now Google is telling Chrome users to keep calm and browse on because Chrome 70 will address, not fix, those concerns.last_img read more

first_imgThis is the latest in part of Mercedes-Benz’s “#MBPhotoPass,” something it calls an “Instagram series” that aims to show how real people use their Mercedes vehicles — it also happens to be a fun way to see what Loki is up to, for those who follow his accounts. The video above is a 360-degree offering — click inside of it and drag your mouse to look around while the content plays, or watch it using a VR headset so that you can look around and experience it almost as if you’re there yourself. Not familiar with YouTube’s 360 degree videos and how they work with VR headsets? We’ve got all the details you need here. Story TimelineMercedes-AMG C43 coupe debuts with 362hp biturbo V6Mercedes is ditching some robots in favor of human staff2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet & Mercedes-AMG C43 Cabriolet First Look in Geneva For those unaware, Loki the Wolf Dog is a canine residing with his owner, Kelly Lund, in Colorado, and he’s the subject of a fairly popular Instagram account. On it, pictures and videos of Loki and his adventures are posted for the nearly 1 million people who follow the account. Enter Mercedes-Benz and the auto maker’s new partnership with Loki (and his owner) to showcase the Mercedes-Benz 2017 GLS, a full-size SUV that gets center stage in a new VR video (below) the team put together.If you have Google Cardboard or Gear VR, now is the time to put it on.center_img A car is a tool used as part of something greater, a means to travel to new places and experience new adventures. We get glimpses of those could-be adventures from dramatic commercials, but they don’t offer much — at least, not as much as stepping into someone else’s world could. Enter Mercedes-Benz and its new partnership with Loki the Wolf Dog, a dog through which we can live vicariously on Instagram, and a new story Mercedes-Benz is telling through virtual reality.last_img read more

first_imgStory TimelineInstagram taps machine learning to detect online bullyingInstagram Shopping adds three big features for the holidaysInstagram feature accidentally leaks passwords, affected users warned to update Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook obviously attract a ton of people, and when you have platforms as massive as these are, some have the temptation to artificially inflate things such as likes and follows to increase their popularity. This is something that runs rampant on pretty much every social media platform out there, and today, Instagram announced that it has had enough. Starting today, Instagram will begin removing fake likes, follows, and comments from profiles across its service. Using fake followers to boost a post or profile’s visibility doesn’t seem like a huge deal at first glance, but Instagram argues that it actually makes the platform less safe, as those third-party services that dole out fake likes and follows usually require that users hand over their username and password.Obviously, that’s something that Instagram doesn’t want, so using machine learning, it will now purge those inauthentic interactions from the platform. If it determines that your account has used one of these services, you’ll see an in-app message when you log in that explains why this suspicious activity has been removed. It’ll also prompt you to change your password to lock those third-party services out of your account.Even if you’ve never actually used one of these services to artificially inflate the popularity of a post or profile on Instagram, it sounds like you may still see this notice. Instagram explained today that some users unknowingly give account access to these third-parties, which then use those profiles to post fake likes and comments. Basically, if Instagram prompts you to change your password, you should listen to it.AdChoices广告Of course, accounts that continue to artificially inflate their popularity after being warned “may see their Instagram experience impacted,” which certainly makes it sound like suspensions or bans will be handed out to repeat offenders. This is just the first step in the process of purging inauthentic activity from Instagram, and the company says that it’ll have more to share on that front in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.last_img read more

first_imgThe Samsung Galaxy S10 will be one of the first smartphones to support WiFi 6, the latest version of the wireless technology that promises more speed, range, and resilience to crowded networks. WiFi 6 is the new branding for 802.11ax, a WiFi upgrade so new, it’s actually rare to find a router that supports it. Story TimelineGalaxy S10 lineup leaks in full: iPhone XS to bonkersSources say skip Galaxy S10, wait for Note 10Galaxy S10E real pics leaked: The most flat model 802.11ax has a number of advantages over previous versions of WiFi. As with previous wireless networking upgrades, one of the primary advantages will be an improvement in throughput rates. Up to 10 Gbps will be supported, at least theoretically, using both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, and up to 8 spatial streams with 1024-QAM. However it’ll also be far more adept at handling situations with multiple wireless devices attempting to coexist. 802.11ax routers will be able to transmit to up to eight devices simultaneously – twice as many as the old version – with a combination of beamforming, MU-MIMO, and OFDMA, among other things. That should pay dividends in homes and offices where more and more devices are trying to get online at the same time.What it’s not is a particularly easy name to remember. That’s why the Wi-Fi Alliance announced new branding back in October 2018, rebooting how WiFi is known on the consumer side. While still officially 802.11ax, for marketing purposes companies like Samsung are being encouraged to use WiFi 6 as the brand name. WiFi 5 is the name retroactively applied to 802.11ac, meanwhile, and WiFi 4 is 802.11n. WiFi 6, we were told, was set to show up commercially in early 2019, and now we’ve had confirmation of some of the first client devices to support it. When the Samsung Galaxy S10 crossed through the FCC earlier, it didn’t just confirm that there were at least three models of the phone. It also made clear, Droid-Life spotted, that there’d be WiFi 6 802.11ax support as well. Considering Samsung is expected to use Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 855 for the Galaxy S10, and one of the headline networking features of that SoC is WiFi 6 support, all this doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Nonetheless it’s a good place for WiFi 6 to build from as it looks to gain traction this year. For the best results, of course, both the client device like a smartphone and the router it’s connected to need to support WiFi 6. We’ve seen a few routers announced for home use with 802.11ax capability, though it’ll likely be some time before they’re prevalent in deployments. All the same, it’s a well known chicken-and-egg problem getting new networking standards adopted, and so it’s a positive thing for Samsung to be helping to lead that charge. It won’t be alone, mind. Apple’s 2019 iPhone upgrade is expected to also feature WiFi 6 among its improvements, even as the Cupertino firm is widely predicted to hold off on 5G until 2020. last_img read more

first_imgREAD: China ‘deadbeat debtors’ app turns citizens into snitchesChina first introduced elements of its ‘social credit’ in 2014, more recently expanding it to additional areas and people. The system is designed to slap people with rewards and penalties based on perceived good and bad behavior, with some of those penalties being issued for things as small as failing to pay a fine or put a dog on a leash.According to a new report from Associated Press, China blocked 5.5 million attempts to purchase train tickets in 2018, the reason for each being poor social credit. In addition, 128 people were barred from traveling outside of China over unpaid taxes, and 17.5 million attempts to buy plane tickets were blocked due to various issues related to one’s social credit.The nation’s Communist Party has implemented the restrictions and overall social credit system in an effort to modify social behaviors. The attempt is part of a wider draconian move toward controlling people using a variety of technologies, including facial recognition tech, clothing with built-in trackers, cameras embedded in public housing, and more. China has attempted to crowdsource at least part of its enforcement efforts by launching a mobile app that shows the public when someone near them is a ‘deadbeat debtor.’ The app encourages users to report one of these people if it appears they are purchasing items they can’t afford or spending money they shouldn’t have. China’s dystopian ‘social credit’ system has resulted in millions of people being banned from public transportation. According to the National Public Credit Information Center, China blocked the attempted purchase of train tickets and, in some cases, attempts to travel outside of the country due to low ‘social credit,’ which can result from back taxes and unpaid fines, among other things. Story TimelineChina shares Chang’e 4 moon landing videoChina plans to deploy a solar power station in spaceChina’s gene-edited CRISPR babies may have enhanced memorylast_img read more

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. A selection of health policy stories from Connecticut, Mississippi, California, Wisconsin, Florida and North Carolina.CT Mirror: Bulk Purchasing Of Medication Can Reduce State Budget Deficit, Comptroller SaysThe state’s chief fiscal watchdog is asking legislators and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration to take a second look at how government purchases prescription medication — and a proposal he believes could save more than $65 million over the next fiscal year. Comptroller Kevin P. Lembo said purchasing of medications in bulk for social service recipients as well as for state employees and retirees is a cost-cutting move that might be implemented as early as this spring, mitigating both the current budget deficit and the projected shortfall for 2013-14 (Phaneuf, 11/26).Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Clarke Lacks Authority To Privatize Inmate Health, Lawyer Says Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. does not have the power he claims to unilaterally privatize inmate health care at the county jail, according to lawyers for Milwaukee County. Clarke has mistakenly relied on an earlier case on a sheriff’s constitutional authority for inmate transport to claim he has similar say-so over inmate health care, Ronald Stadler, a lawyer representing the county, wrote in a legal brief. “He has failed to show that the provision of jail health services is constitutionally protected,” Stadler wrote. “Just because Sheriff Clarke says it, does not make it so” (Schultze, 11/26).Health News Florida: Patients Are Pawns In Contract FightCarol White of St. Petersburg and some of her friends spent Monday looking for a new Medicare Advantage plan after BayCare Health System ended its contracts with UnitedHealthcare. … It’s not only seniors who got squeezed at midnight Monday when the contract ended between one of the nation’s largest health insurers and BayCare, Tampa Bay’s dominant non-profit hospital chain. The break-up also affects Medicaid and employer-sponsored coverage — a total of 400,000 United customers, said Elizabeth Calzadilla-Fiallo, spokeswoman for the Florida division of the Minnesota-based insurer (Gentry, 11/27).The Associated Press: NC Report Analyzes Child Health In 15 AreasNorth Carolina’s 2.3 million children are falling behind in some important benchmarks for health, such as the poverty rate, but they’re improving in other areas, including the number who have insurance, according to a report issued Monday. The North Carolina Institute of Medicine and Action for Children released the 18th annual Child Health Report Card on Monday, analyzing data in 15 areas. North Carolina got two A’s and three D’s, compared to three A’s and one D in last year’s report. The reports compare health indicators from 2010 and 2011 with the same figures from years dating back to 2004 (11/26).North Carolina Health News: Annual Report Card Shows Poor Economy Hinders Child Health Even as North Carolina’s infant mortality rates improved and rates of childhood death dropped, the health of the state’s children is still poor, with high levels of obesity and childhood poverty, according to a report released Monday. The annual report from Action for Children North Carolina and the North Carolina Institute of Medicine details how some traditional measures of childhood health improved over the past five years: immunization rates are up, tobacco use among teens is down and more kids have access to dental care. But as North Carolina slowly climbs out of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the report details how poverty still impedes the health of North Carolina’s children (Hoban, 11/26).California Healthline: Advocates’ Challenge To Adult Day Process DeniedA federal judge ruled last week to deny a motion that would have forced the Department of Health Care Services to alter the way it is handling enrollment in the new Community Based Adult Services program. The ruling means CBAS enrollment will continue without changes unless Disability Rights California, the health advocacy group that filed the motion, appeals the ruling. Deadline for appeal is Friday (Gorn, 11/27).The Associated Press: Corrections, Medicaid Deficit Hurdles For Mississippi LegislatorsMississippi legislators head into the 2013 session knowing they have deficits to address in corrections and Medicaid. Any others? That’s all rather tentative right now about six weeks out from the Jan. 8 start. One thing is certain: the money handlers must be convinced there is a clear need. … “There’s not going to be a significant number of deficits. We know there’s going to be one in corrections and one in Medicaid. We’ve got the money in reserve accounts to cover it,” said House Appropriations Committee chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville (11/26). State Roundup: Conn. Official Says Bulk Buying Prescription Drugs Could Help Budgetlast_img read more

first_img This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Despite Uncertainty, 2012 Was Good Year For Hospital Stocks Modern Healthcare: Hospital Stocks Saw Hefty Gains In 2012 Despite ACA JittersHospital stocks ended 2012 posting big gains despite a year that was filled with uncertainty regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. When the closing bell rang Dec. 31, HCA, Nashville, the largest investor-owned chain, was trading 37% higher than it was on the last trading day of 2011. Community Health Systems, Brentwood, Tenn., added more than 77% to its market capitalization. And Tenet Healthcare Corp., Dallas, saw gains of 58% over the same period. The boost came despite a tumultuous—but ultimately fruitful—year that saw the U.S. Supreme Court uphold key provisions of the healthcare law, and the re-election of President Barack Obama to cement its future. And despite weak patient volume, investor-owned systems managed to cut costs, boost outpatient revenue and reap gains from strategic acquisitions to satisfy investors (Kutscher, 1/2). last_img read more

first_imgThe New York Times: Down To The Last Cigarette? It’s hard to remember now just how prevalent smoking used to be. In the mid-1960s, around half the men in the country smoked; for women, the number was 35 percent. People smoked in their offices, smoked in restaurants, smoked on airplanes. Indeed, Paul Billings of the American Lung Association recalls that the airlines often gave passengers small packets of cigarettes when they boarded the plane. But by the 1950s, scientists were beginning to equate cigarettes with lung cancer and other fatal diseases, a linkage the tobacco industry vehemently denied (Joe Nocera, 1/10). Los Angeles Times: After Waging War On Poverty For 50 Years, Let’s Not Surrender The truth is that the nation’s investment in the War on Poverty has yielded huge and lasting gains. That’s partially because LBJ’s program was not just a plan for financial handouts. It also encompassed a broad approach encompassing “better schools, and better health, and better homes, and better training, and better job opportunities,” as he put it in his address on Jan. 8, 1964. LBJ’s campaign brought us Head Start (in 1965) as well as Medicare and Medicaid (Michael Hiltzik, 1/12). The Baltimore Sun: New Md. Health Care Delivery System Will Prioritize Wellness Beyond the political debates over the Affordable Care Act is a bipartisan consensus about the future of our nation’s health care system. Across the political spectrum, officials and experts agree that we must shift from a near exclusive focus on treating people when they get sick to a balanced approach that also promotes health and wellness. Such a shift will both reduce costs for families and small businesses and keep many Americans from dying of preventable causes. … In Maryland, we are taking a giant step away from this outdated system. We are adopting an innovative approach to setting rates for hospitals — one that supports lower costs, enables better outcomes and creates a better experience for patients. It will also accelerate efforts in support of community health and wellness (Md. Gov. Martin O’Malley, 1/11). The New England Journal of Medicine: Maryland’s All-Payer Approach To Delivery-System Reform For 5 years beginning in 2014, Maryland will limit the growth of per capita hospital costs for all payers, including the growth of costs of both inpatient and outpatient care, to 3.58%, the 10-year compound annual growth rate of the per capita gross state product. …The resulting changes should be visible at hospitals throughout Maryland in the form of more coordinated care, a greater emphasis on care transitions, and a renewed focus on prevention. … a critical challenge for national delivery-system reform is to align payment incentives across multiple payers.  … implementing this model throughout a state with more than 5.8 million people living in urban, suburban, and rural settings will test these reforms in many different environments (Dr. Rahul Rajkumar, Ankit Patel, Karen Murphy, John M. Colmers, Jonathan D. Blum, Drs. Patrick H. Conway, and Joshua M. Sharfstein, 1/10).The Washington Post: Va. Doesn’t Need Another Mental Health Task Force Virginians should be embarrassed and angry that a newly appointed state mental health task force convened Tuesday in Richmond. It is the 16th task force asked to investigate the state’s mental health system. Are Virginia legislators so dense that they need yet another expert panel to tell them what’s wrong? Four major studies, from 1997 through 2000, in Virginia each identified the same problems and made similar recommendations. Yet the system remains a mess. Why? (Pete Earley, 1/10). The New York Times: Heroic Measures Lisa Bonchek Adams has spent the last seven years in a fierce and very public cage fight with death. Since a mammogram detected the first toxic seeds of cancer in her left breast when she was 37, she has blogged and tweeted copiously about her contest with the advancing disease. She has tweeted through morphine haze and radiation burn. Even by contemporary standards of social-media self-disclosure, she is a phenomenon. (Last week she tweeted her 165,000th tweet.) A rapt audience of several thousand follows her unsparing narrative of mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, biopsies and scans, pumps and drains and catheters, grueling drug trials and grim side effects, along with her posts on how to tell the children, potshots at the breast cancer lobby, poetry and resolute calls to “persevere” (Bill Keller, 1/12). The New York Times: The Next Frontier In Fertility TreatmentThe more than 700,000 transgender people living in the United States have long faced discrimination by health care providers. Over the past 15 years, activists have fought to compel insurers to cover transgender-related health care — from hormone therapy to gender reassignment surgery — or at least be prevented from excluding transgender clients from buying policies for basic services. Finally, starting this month, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, “transsexualism” can no longer be considered a pre-existing condition. What’s been left out of the spotlight: having babies. Many Americans have come to accept gay parents; the transgender community is next in line for recognition (Sarah Elizabeth Richards, 1/12). Philadelphia Inquirer: Time Doesn’t Always Heal Over the past month, the media has been following the untimely deaths of Jahi McMath and Marlise Munoz—two bodies kept on ventilator support despite brain death diagnoses. Much of the discussion surrounding these high-profile cases perpetuates the misconception that brain death is not as final as cardiac death; that somehow these women can recover. Unfortunately, these tragedies highlight the importance of separating specialists from charlatans (Krystyna Dereszowska, 1/13). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Viewpoints: Reflections Of Smoking Study And LBJ’s War On Poverty; Md.’s Gov. Applauds Hospital Pay Changeslast_img read more

first_img Citing a “significantly underfunded” budget for the new fiscal year, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services has told Medicaid providers they won’t be seeing the usual rate increases for inflation. In a public notice posted Monday morning, DHSS filed emergency regulations to freeze rates that customarily rise a percentage point or two every year. (Andrews, 6/29) New York officials say $7.3 billion is going to 25 networks of health care providers statewide to help overhaul the delivery of care and cut unneeded hospital visits. Meanwhile, state health officials say average spending for the state’s Medicaid patients has declined to $8,233 annually while enrollments rose by 500,000 to nearly one-third of the state’s 19 million people. (6/29) What started as a toothache from a lost filling became a raging infection that landed Christopher Smith in the University of Louisville Hospital emergency room, then in intensive care on a ventilator and feeding tube. “It came on so quickly and violently. I was terrified,” said Smith, 41, of Jeffersonville, Ind., who lacked dental insurance and hadn’t been to a dentist for years before the problem arose this month. “I had no idea it could get this serious this quickly.” (Ungar,6/29) Maryland hospitals collectively generated more than $100 million in Medicare savings in the first year of an experimental payment system being watched closely by the federal government as a possible national model for reducing health care costs.The state’s medical institutions agreed last year to a five-year agreement with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It drastically changed the way they did business and aimed to curb costs, in part by reducing expensive hospital stays and handling more patient care at the doctor’s office. (McDaniels, 6/29) The Connecticut Mirror: Health, Labor, Environment Bills Revived In Special Session State Highlights: Md. Hospitals’ Experiment Generates $100M In Medicare Savings; N.Y. To Invest $7.3B In Delivery System Overhaul News outlets report on health care developments in Maryland, Connecticut, New York, Alaska and Kentucky. A wide range of legislative priorities that failed to clear both chambers of the General Assembly before the June 3 end of the regular session won final approval early Tuesday as part of a massive budget implementation bill. The 686-page everything-but-the-kitchen-sink bill also includes several controversial new provisions, including a plan to fund pay increases for nursing home workers but give the bulk of the money to those at unionized nursing homes, and one that expands the governor’s authority to hire and fire workers in several types of jobs. (Levin Becker, Pazniokas, Phaneuf, Rabe Thomas and Spiegel, 6/29) The Wall Street Journal: Accused Of Fraud, Nurses’ Registry Files For Bankruptcy center_img A prominent Kentucky health-care company that once featured University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari in its TV ads filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of accusations from Medicare officials that it paid illegal kickbacks to doctors. (Stech, 6/29) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Alaska Dispatch News: Alaska Freezes Inflation-Linked Payment Increases To Medicaid Providers The Associated Press: NY Health Care Providers To Share $7.3 Billion For Overhaul The Baltimore Sun: Hospitals Save $100 Million In Medicare Costs USA Today: ER Visits For Dental Problems On The Rise last_img read more

first_img Polk County reported the first confirmed sexually-transmitted case of Zika in Florida, the state health department said on Wednesday. The news comes a day after the World Health Organization said that sexual transmission of Zika is more common than previously thought. According to reports, United states is investigating more than a dozen possible such cases. (Miller, 3/9) The Boston Globe: Troubled Nursing Home’s Plan Is Rejected By State The Charlotte Observer: Veterans Get First Glimpse Of New Charlotte VA Health Care Center WBUR: Ballot Initiative Seeks To Limit Cost Ranges For Medical Care At Mass. Hospitals Two states are making inroads into revealing some of the biggest secrets of health care by publishing price information to help consumers comparison shop for doctors, dentists and prescription drugs. New Hampshire, which already had the nation’s most advanced website allowing people to compare the cost of specific medical procedures, last week added prices for 16 dental procedures and 65 prescription drugs. … California on Wednesday released an expanded version of its quality report cards on 154 large physician groups. Those cards, which already assess clinical quality and patient experiences, take a different tack than New Hampshire. (Rau, 3/10) The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: 4 New, Nonfatal Cases Of Deadly Bacterial Infection Reported In an effort to better connect people with help for opioid addiction, the state has made available a single phone number residents can call to be connected with a local substance abuse walk-in assessment center. (Levin Becker, 3/9) They’re house calls without the house. Far from the sterile confines of a doctor’s office or hospital, Brett Feldman looks for homeless people where they’re most likely to be found — in wooded encampments, under bridges, along riverbanks, at soup kitchens — and treats them for ailments ranging from diabetes to trench foot, mental illness to substance abuse. (Rubinkam, 3/10) The Houston Chronicle: Study Shows Inducing Labor At 37 To 38 Weeks May Be Safer Than Thought Kaiser Health News: N.H., Calif. Seek To Help Consumers Get Details On Health Care Prices In Massachusetts, it can cost you or your insurance company two or three times more to deliver a baby at one of the big Boston teaching hospitals than at small- or medium-size facilities outside the city. Is this a problem? Should the state try to fix it? That’s what you may have to decide when you vote in the fall. (Bebinger, 3/9) The Orlando Sentinel: Zika Update: First Sexually Transmitted Case Confirmed In Florida Orlando Health unveiled the name of its new Proton Therapy Center on Tuesday, with a gift from the Williams Family Foundation. The Marjorie and Leonard Williams Center for Proton Therapy is expected to open in April and is the first in Central Florida and third in the state. (Miller, 3/8) The Orlando Sentinel: Orlando Health Unveils Name Of Its New Proton Therapy Center center_img The new Charlotte VA Health Care Center won’t open until April. But veterans and other visitors got a sneak peek Wednesday during an open house at the nearly completed building off Tyvola Road west of Interstate 77. “It’s a beautiful facility,” said Frank Gettys, 72, a Vietnam War veteran. “I’m from Gastonia, and it’s convenient for me. … It’s all brand new. There’s nothing not to like.” (Garloch, 3/10) A Wilmington nursing home’s plan to correct widespread problems discovered in the wake of a patient’s death is unacceptable, state regulators said Wednesday. (Lazar, 3/10) For decades, more and more Californians have put on weight and fallen sick with diabetes, prompting warnings that the disease was spiraling out of control. Now experts have data showing just how bleak the situation is. Researchers from UCLA determined that 55% of California adults have either diabetes or pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetic, according to a study published Thursday. (Karlamangla, 3/10) State Highlights: Ballot Initiative Seeks To Limit The Range Of Care Costs At Mass. Hospitals; N.H., Calif. Make Progress On Health Care Transparency News outlets report on health issues in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, California, Connecticut, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida and Wisconsin. The Associated Press: Long A Niche, Street Medicine For Homeless Heads Mainstream The Connecticut Mirror: For Help With Opioid Addiction, CT Offers One Number To Call Los Angeles Times: Are You Pre-Diabetic? 46% Of California Adults Are, UCLA Study Finds The Charlotte Observer: Unvaccinated Children Sent Home For 21 Days After Chickenpox Outbreak In Union Co. Hospitals increasingly insist that low-risk pregnancies reach 39 weeks before doctors deliver the child, but babies born after elective induction of labor in the previous two weeks fare no worse, according to a new Houston study. (Ackerman, 3/9) Five-year-old Katie Hedrick doesn’t have chickenpox. But five other elementary students in Union County do. And because Katie hasn’t been vaccinated against the childhood illness, she is one of 15 children who have been ordered by the county health director to stay out of school, in quarantine, for 21 days. (Garloch, 3/10) The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Wednesday reported four new cases of the bacterial strain Elizabethkingia anophelisthat is linked to more than a dozen deaths in Wisconsin. The new cases bring the total number of people infected to 48. No deaths were reported among the new cases. Indeed, the number of deaths has been revised downward from 18 to 15. (Fauber, 3/9) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

first_img In other health IT news, Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital has rolled out a new electronic health records system — If things seem a little slow at Massachusetts General Hospital this week, blame the computers. Mass. General, a flagship teaching hospital of Partners HealthCare, launched a new electronic health records system over the weekend, part of a $1.2 billion upgrade over several years across the Partners system. (Dayal McCluskey, 5/5) Kaiser Health News: Patients’ Assessment Of Their Health Is Gaining Importance In Treatment Movement To Incorporate Patient-Generated Data Into Clinical Care Grows New online tracking tools let patients and doctors speak the same language: data. “It allows both the patient and clinician to see information in real time, both as a method of surveillance to find things out that are better to act on now, but also as a more specific and accurate record of what’s working and for decision-making,” says Lisa Opipari-Arrigan, an associate professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The Boston Globe: It’s An Epic Upgrade At Mass. General This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. For Erin Moore, keeping her son’s cystic fibrosis in check requires careful monitoring to prevent the thick, sticky mucous his body produces from further damaging his lungs and digestive system. Moore keeps tabs on 6-year-old Drew’s weight, appetite, exercise and stools every day to see if they stray from his healthy baseline. When he develops a cough, she tracks that, too. It’s been nearly a year since Drew has been hospitalized; as a baby he was admitted up to four times annually. Erin Moore credits her careful monitoring, aided by an online data tracking tool from a program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center called the Orchestra Project, with helping to keep him healthy. (Andrews, 4/5) last_img read more

first_img My expertise lies in public health, not in finance or investments. However, it is my understanding that in order to reap rewards, one first has to invest. One example is my retirement account. I give up a small amount of money out of each paycheck so that I can experience a secure retirement down the road.This type of thinking can also be applied to the re-energized debate about closing the coverage gap here in Georgia. (Laura Colbert, 7/5) Americans seem very afraid of cancer, with good reason. Unlike other things that kill us, it often seems to come out of nowhere. But evidence has increasingly accumulated that cancer may be preventable, too. Unfortunately, this has inflamed as much as it has assuaged people’s fears. As a physician, I have encountered many people who believe that heart disease, which is the single biggest cause of death among Americans, is largely controllable. After all, if people ate better, were physically active and stopped smoking, then lots of them would get better. This ignores the fact that people can’t change many risk factors of heart disease like age, race and family genetics. (Aaron E. Carroll, 7/5) Georgia Health News: Invest In Our State By Closing The Coverage Gap Last week’s landmark Supreme Court decision striking down Texas anti-abortion laws has emboldened abortion-rights activists, who now hope to lay waste to abortion restrictions all over the U.S. Their success or failure will depend on whether the Supreme Court proves willing to overhaul its abortion jurisprudence. And that’s no sure thing. (Noah Feldman, 7/5) The administration of Gov. Matt Bevin has gotten very good at blowing up state government-as-it-has-been but the learning curve on picking up the pieces after the explosion is way too slow. The state’s plan to cut off federal funds the Bluegrass Area Development District administers for aging and independent living services is a case in point. There is every reason to keep a wary eye trained on the Bluegrass ADD. Both its top management and the regional elected officials who oversee it have done little to inspire confidence. Truculent and defensive, they have chosen to spend a ton of money on self-promotion and lawyers rather than settling disputes with their funding source over allegedly misspent funds. (7/5) The New York Times: Helpless To Prevent Cancer? Actually, Quite A Bit Is In Your Control Lexington Herald Leader: Blowing Up ADD Aging Without A Plan The New York Times: Ugly Is The New Look For Cigarette Packs The Wall Street Journal: Where’s the Drug, FDA? The Columbus Dispatch: Ruling Should Aid Abortion Clinics Star Tribune: Health Care As A Business Has Hurt Health Care As A Practice When it was introduced in the late 1920s, Marlboro was a woman’s cigarette — “Mild as May,” said the ads. Ads showed glamorous and fashionable young women smoking. Marlboro left the market during the war. But in the 1950s, scientists began associating cigarettes with cancer, and smokers flocked to supposedly safer filtered cigarettes. To combat the view that a filter was for sissies, Philip Morris needed a new, masculine filtered cigarette. The company took Marlboro and fitted it with a filter — and a cowboy. (Tina Rosenberg, 7/5) Bloomberg: Justices Haven’t Ended Abortion Restrictions Yet center_img As Haitians were reeling from the devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, United Nations peacekeepers inadvertently compounded their troubles by bringing cholera to the island. Roughly 10,000 Haitians have died from the disease, which spreads easily in places with poor sanitation. The United Nations hasn’t acknowledged its responsibility and has vigorously fought legal efforts to secure compensation for victims. This is reminiscent of its slow response to allegations that peacekeepers in Africa had sexually abused scores of minors. (7/6) The Food and Drug Administration is sitting on a therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and the agency may have days to waste but the boys don’t. Bureaucratic malpractice on a safe and effective treatment is corroding the agency’s scientific credibility and the public’s trust. FDA in May delayed a decision on eteplirsen by Boston-based Sarepta Therapeutics. There is no treatment for Duchenne, a fatal disease that claims a boy’s ability to walk before organ failure in his 20s. Eteplirsen jumps over genetic code to produce a missing protein known as dystrophin. (7/5) Medical errors, by one count, are the third-leading cause of death for Americans. Surgery mistakes, misuse of drugs or equipment, delays in treatment and the like kill at least 100,000 a year, possibly as many as half a million. No one knows the exact number, and that points up an underlying problem: Hospitals almost universally resist confessing when a medical error hurts or kills a patient, because admitting fault can expose them to lawsuits. (7/5) It has been approximately 10 years since well-intended people suggested that medicine change to become more like a business. Presumably, they did so with the intention that health care would improve for both patients and those working in health care. After a decade of medicine in a business mode, we can now assess what changes have occurred with this new paradigm. I don’t intend on talking about all of them, only those that I feel are the most significant. (Dave Watkin, 7/5) For people in pain, opioids are just one leg of a chair. The other three legs — which are often missing from the debate on opioid addiction — can support equal weight if the right medical expertise and infrastructure are in place. The American Society of Anesthesiologists calls this approach multimodal analgesia. It’s the foundation for my work at Stanford Medical Center and the affiliated VA Palo Alto Health Care System, and for other pain management specialists around the country. It is also part of legislation to be reviewed tomorrow by the House and Senate Opioid Conference Committee. (Michael Leong, 7/5) Bloomberg: Make Hospitals Come Clean About Errors Viewpoints: Hospitals Should Reveal Medical Errors; FDA Takes Time On Muscular Dystrophy Drug That Patients Don’t Have A selection of opinions on health care from around the country. STAT: To Manage Chronic Pain, Use The Whole Toolkit, Not Just Opioids The New York Times: The Cholera Epidemic The U.N. Left Behind In Haiti The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down two onerous provisions in a Texas abortion law sends a clear and powerful message that medically unjustified restrictions that obstruct a woman’s access to abortion are unconstitutional. In its most sweeping decision on abortion since 1992, the court reaffirmed what it said at that time: If a law regulating abortion before the fetus is viable is more an obstacle to women than a benefit to them, then it violates the Constitution. (7/6) This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

first_img The New Hampshire ACLU has filed a federal class action lawsuit against the state of New Hampshire over a practice called emergency room boarding. The anonymous 26 year-old plaintiff in the ACLU’s suit was admitted to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua last week following an attempted suicide. (Moon, 11/13) Boston Globe: Hospital Leaders Apologize, Acknowledge Mistakes Cost Laura Levis Her Life The leaders of Somerville Hospital’s parent organization met face-to-face Tuesday with the husband of a woman who died after collapsing outside their locked emergency room door in 2016, admitting to “multiple failures” during the emotional sitdown and apologizing for their role in the death. “I’m very sorry for what happened to your wife,” chief executive Patrick Wardell told Peter DeMarco, the widower of 34-year-old Laura Levis, who died after suffering a fatal asthma attack outside Somerville Hospital. “I can understand the horrible pain that this has inflicted upon you.” (Dayal McCluskey, 11/13) North Carolina Health News: New Push To Help Mental Health Patients Determine Their Treatment In Emergencies A week after voters approved a measure to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office announced today that it will stop processing some marijuana possession cases. Amendment 2, which legalizes medical marijuana with a 4 percent sales tax for veterans programs and job training, passed with 66 percent approval from Missouri voters and even more support from those in Jackson County. Two other medical marijuana proposals were on the state ballot but failed. (Calacal, 11/13) More than four years after Navy Lt. Rebekah Daniel bled to death within hours of childbirth at a Washington state military hospital, her husband still doesn’t know exactly how — or why — it happened. Walter Daniel, a former Coast Guard officer, demanded explanations from officials at the Naval Hospital Bremerton, where his wife, known as “Moani,” died on March 9, 2014. (Aleccia, 11/13) Bill W was looking to change careers. After decades as an executive in the tire industry, he was most of the way through a program to become a chiropractor in South Carolina. But in early 2017, he rolled his truck, leaving him with broken ribs and several fractured vertebrae. Recovering slowly, in pain while going to school and working, and a long-term heart problem had started getting worse. (Hoban, 11/14) The Star Tribune: Mayo Clinic Gets Its Largest Gift Ever: $200M To Train Doctors  The Associated Press: Mayo Clinic Receives Record $200M Gift From Michigan Donor Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is preparing to launch a new telemedicine unit focused on intensive care. Telemedicine, basically doctor’s visits by video conference, is a growing trend in healthcare — and now Dartmouth-Hitchcock is hoping to use it to support intensive care units all over the region. (Moon, 11/13) According to the United States Department of Housing and Development, the number of people ages 62 and older who are homeless and living in shelters has increased by almost 50 percent from 2007 to 2016. In Central Florida alone seniors make up about 10 percent of the homeless population. For this reason, many are living out of their cars.Robert J. Burke knows a thing or two about cars. (Prieur, 11/13) Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is committing $10 million to improve health care in rural communities across the state. BCBS, the state’s largest health benefits provider with more than 5 million members, announced Monday that it’s partnering on the project with Texas A&M University Health Science Center. It’s part of Blue Cross’ efforts to reduce costs and improve outcomes by addressing social disparities in health care. (O’Donnell, 11/13) A health insurance provider that started selling plans on Florida’s Affordable Care Act marketplace this year is suing the state’s largest insurer. Oscar Health claims Florida Blue is creating a monopoly with a policy that restricts health insurance brokers from selling competitors’ plans. New York-based Oscar entered the Orlando market this year and made arrangements with insurance brokers to sell the Affordable Care Act plans starting on Nov. 1. (Ochoa, 11/13) California Healthline: ‘Grossly Unfair’? Widower Takes Ban On Military Injury Claims To Supreme Court  The Star Tribune: Rape, Alcohol, Consent Under Review By Minn. Sex Assault Task Force A Hawaii retirement home said Tuesday residents in its independent living wing may take advantage of the state’s new medically assisted suicide law if they wish. But Kahala Nui told residents in a memorandum this week that those in its assisted living and nursing center may not do so. (11/13) Health News Florida: Homeless Seniors Living Out Of Cars Get Help center_img St. Louis University is implementing more cost-cutting measures as fiscal problems persist, even after trimming its workforce last year. The private, Catholic university is facing a double blow of fewer students and less revenue from its doctors, resulting in a projected $30 million deficit by 2023. (Delaney, 11/13) New Hampshire Public Radio: Dartmouth-Hitchcock To Launch New Telemedicine Program For Intensive Care Units Dallas Morning News: Blue Cross Targets Rural Health Care With $10 Million For Texas A&M Center  A corporate strategist from Michigan has given Mayo Clinic its largest gift ever — $200 million. The Rochester-based medical center announced Tuesday that its School of Medicine will be named for the philanthropist, Jay Alix, of Birmingham, Michigan. He also has been named to the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees. (11/13) The Associated Press: Hawaii Retirement Home Clarifies Assisted Suicide Rules Mayo Clinic will receive $200 million from the founder of a corporate turnaround firm to help future students pay for medical school and study fields such as genetics and artificial intelligence, which are becoming central to modern medicine. The endowment gift by Jay Alix, announced Tuesday morning, is the largest in Mayo’s history. The Rochester-based health care provider is renaming its medical school as the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in recognition of the gesture. (Olson, 11/13) New Hampshire Public Radio: ACLU Sues N.H. Over Emergency Room Boarding Of Mental Health Patients Medina Hospital was placed on lockdown Tuesday afternoon as law enforcement officers investigate a report of a potential active shooter situation, Cleveland Clinic’s news service said. (MacDonald, 11/13) Cleveland Plain Dealer: Medina Hospital Placed On Lockdown For Potential Active Shooter Situation KCUR: Jackson County Will Stop Prosecuting Most Pot Cases After Missouri Passes Medical Marijuana  State Highlights: Leaders At A Mass. Hospital Apologize To Widower Of Woman Who Died Outside The ER; Blue Cross To Pump $10M Into Texas To Improve Rural Health Media outlets report on news from Massachusetts, Texas, New Hampshire, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida, California, Hawaii and Ohio. Health News Florida: Florida Blue Faces Antitrust Lawsuit From Oscar Health A state task force on sexual assault is discussing changes to Minnesota’s laws on alcohol and consent that could have far-reaching implications for rape victims. The changes could make it easier for prosecutors to win convictions in sexual assault cases by showing that a victim was too drunk to consent to sex — now considered a significant barrier to prosecuting rapists. Many sexual assaults involve drinking, and officers and prosecutors consider them the toughest cases. (Bjorhus, 11/13) St. Louis Public Radio: St. Louis University To Cut Costs As Enrollment And Physician Practice Struggle This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.last_img read more

A Tesla Semi prototype has been driving around the country to apparently visit companies who have reserved the electric truck and as part of its test program.Now the prototype has been spotted in Salt Lake City. more… Source: Charge Forward

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first_imgby, Beth Baker, ChangingAging ContributorTweet49Share439Share43Email531 SharesIn 2011 Lesa Dixon-Gray of Portland, Oregon, wanted her 90-year-old mother to move from Miami to live nearby.  Her mother, Shirley, was willing, but she wanted her own place.  So Dixon-Gray began to look for housing options.  First she looked at duplexes.  But they all had stairs, not a good option for Shirley.Then she found the ideal solution:  build a small cottage on the same property as Dixon-Gray’s home.  Although it took some doing—she and her husband had to move to a place with an over-sized lot on which to build the cottage—the option worked out well for all of them.  They each have privacy, yet they are there for each other and regularly dine together.  Shirley contributes to household expenses, and she’s formed a close bond with her step-granddaughters.“It goes back to the relationship,” says Dixon-Gray, of why their housing choic worked out so well.  “I’ve always had this great mom.  She’s very funny.  It’s wonderful that my husband has a great relationship with her. Even though she’s 96 now and physically becoming more dependent, she’s my mom. That’s really the sweet part.”Lesa and Shirley’s Case StudyFamilies like this one are taking advantage of Portland’s pioneering policy of encouraging accessory dwellings as a way to promote sustainable growth, affordability, and a housing alternative for older people wanting to either stay put or to move near their children. Known in the policy world as “ADUs” – accessory dwelling units– these small homes come in many forms, including traditional basement “mother-in-law suites,” apartments atop or inside garages, and backyard cottages like Dixon-Gray’s.  Portland hopes that through zoning changes and fee waivers, the number of ADUs will rapidly expand.Accessory dwellings are among a growing number of housing options for older people, as I explore in my book, With a Little Help from Our Friends—Creating Community as We Grow Older.  From cohousing to cooperative trailer parks, senior artist colonies, house-sharing, or the Village model of neighbors helping neighbors, housing alternatives are blossoming around the country as people seek ways to age in a circle of mutual support.  For many, this support comes from family.  The challenge is finding the right balance between closeness on the one hand, and privacy and independence on the other.  Accessory dwellings fit the bill.“This idea of multigenerational living is ancient,” says ChangingAging’s Dr. Bill Thomas.  “We call them ADUs, but people have been doing this for a long time all over the world.”Well-known as the founder of the small house nursing home alternative The Green House Project, typically housing 10-12 elders, Dr. Thomas is currently hoping to revolutionize the tiny house movement. For the past year he has been developing a modular, prefab model for rapidly constructing tiny houses that are “optimized for independent living in all phases of life.”What we need now, he says, “is an ADU that is really designed to support and to maximize the opportunity of people to have their own home and that means having well-designed, small, smart, digitally-aware, and accessible housing.”  Dr. Thomas plans to add his voice to ongoing discussions about how best to expand ADUs and to make them accessible when he comes to Portland May 1, as part of the national ChangingAging tour.A leading proponent of Portland’s ADU policy is Alan DeLaTorre, a research associate at Portland State University’s Institute on Aging and co-coordinator of Age-Friendly Portland. DeLaTorre is convinced that “aging in place” is not always a good option as we age.  “It depends on the home,” he says.  Many houses that worked well for us when we moved in become too big, too expensive to maintain, and unsafe as we grow older.  Too often, he says, “We’ve zoned out creative and innovative housing types.  We’ve created strict zoning codes that adhere to NIMBY standards—don’t change my community or the value of my property.”Instead of being stuck in an aging-in-place mindset, he says, “Aging in community is the option we want to explore.  Our communities provide social support, comfort, and familiarity.”Expanding ADUsMore than a decade ago, Portland began to encourage homeowners to build ADUs as a way to help alleviate a growing lack of affordable close-in housing.  ADUs were also seen as a way for older people to downsize, while remaining in their long-time neighborhoods and generating rental income from the main house. Early on, AARP supported ADU development and suggested a model code. In addition to changing zoning codes, the city later waived some development fees to encourage more ADU construction.  The hope was that many older people would build ADUs.But a 2014 report found that older people were no more likely to have ADUs than the Portland population in general.  This will likely change substantially in the near future, according to the study.  Unlike today’s 75-year-olds and older who show little interest in accessory units, the baby boomers (in the 55-74 year old categories) were most likely of all age groups to have an ADU.  As they age, the use of ADUs among the oldest Portlanders will likely grow.Meanwhile, efforts to make accessory dwellings more attractive are continuing. One novel pilot project in Multnomah County, where Portland is located, will pay for construction of an ADU, in exchange for the homeowner allowing a homeless person or family to live there for up to 5 years.  After that, the homeowner would have full use of the ADU.  Four families are set to try the experiment this summer.At the same time a new Residential Infill Project is going to further liberalize zoning as a way to increase housing density.  Single-family homes in walkable areas, close to public transit and other services, will be able to build two ADUs, and those with a corner lot may build three.  “The zoning codes haven’t been written, but the concept has been approved,” says DeLaTorre, who serves on the stakeholder advisory committee for the project.Next Step: AccessibilityAs part of the zoning code changes, DeLaTorre proposed making “visitability”—a type of accessibility—required of all accessory dwellings.  Visitability has three main features:  a single-step entry to the home, hallways and doorways that are 36 inches wide or more, and a half-bath on the ground floor.  “It’s the least stringent requirement set, regarding broad accessibility or age-friendly design,” he says. Exceptions would be made if the property has site constraints, such as uneven slope. The requirements, though, did not go through, due in part to pushback from developers.  “The city council came back with an amendment using language that is very soft—it’s all incentive-based and not visitable.  We were disappointed, but we’re pushing forward.”Eli Spevak, a developer of green, affordable housing who serves on the city’s Planning and Sustainability Commission, is a proponent of ADUs.  But he is one who opposes that visitability be required.  For one, he argues, many sites would be difficult to make accessible, such as those built above garages or on sloped land. “There’s an unfortunate history in the developments of ADUs of death by 100 paper cuts,” he says.  “We want them affordable, and compatible with neighborhoods, and owner-occupied and accessible. Then lo and behold nobody builds any.” (Portland is one of the few places that does not require ADUs to be owner-occupied, although two-thirds of them are.) That said, he suggests that incentives be used instead, such as waiving building fees for visitability.Developer opposition is not the only obstacle to accessible housing.  DeLaTorre says that  homeowner denial of their own aging also plays a role.  “I was helping my dad find a home here in Portland,” he says.  “As an environmental gerontologist I had a specific idea of what he needed.  He was wholeheartedly against it.  ‘I don’t need to worry about those things. I’m in good health.’” It wasn’t until DeLaTorre changed the conversation to talk about his sister, who has medical issues, did the light go on.  Of course he wanted his home to be easier for her to come see him.  “That’s what visitability does,” says DeLaTorre.  “It softens the need for people to address their own decline in aging.”Accessory Dwellings Support Sustainable GrowthRobert Liberty, director of Portland State University’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions, supports ADUs from another angle – environmental sustainability.  Liberty launched a Small Backyard Homes project as a response to Portland’s push to encourage infill development, a key part of the strategy to tackle climate change.  “It’s pretty straightforward,” says Liberty.  “The single largest source of greenhouse gases is from driving in our region, and the second is from heating and cooling buildings. People who build [ADUs] near the core of the region will have a lot more opportunities to use mass transit or to bike and walk.”  The small square footage also costs substantially less to heat and cool.One obstacle to ADU expansion, Liberty says, is that most homeowners have no experience as developers. In addition to overseeing a construction project, “You have to figure out the permits and fees, and then you’re a landlord,” says Liberty.  And it can be costly.  Although interior apartment conversions can be $30,000-$40,000, a freestanding, 800-square-foot cottage averages $160,000.“A lot of people don’t have that kind of equity,” says Liberty.  “So our strategy is to address all these things that are hard to do and act as a facilitator or concierge.”  Homeowners will be able to go online and find financing packages and accessory dwelling designs that are affordable, accessible, and energy-efficient.  “We’re trying to make it as easy as possible,” he says.The Institute worked with students at Portland State’s Center of Public Interest Design “to think about the challenges in building ADUs and reducing the cost,” explains project manager Beth Gilden.  “We decided early on we wanted all of them to be accessible.  One of the most important things about ADUs is that people use them differently over time.”  Homeowners may first rent out the smaller unit, but “there may be a time in their lives where they have mobility issues, and they want to live in their ADU,” she says.With the population aging, Liberty sees ADUs as an important piece of the housing puzzle. “This is a way to restore traditional family values, keeping generations together, or allowing continued independence for seniors by having a small, accessible unit, by having income from the main house, or by having close relationships with their own children,” he says. “What we’ve learned here in Portland will have application across the U.S., and it will generate interest in having ADUs across the spectrum that has a particular value for seniors.”As for Lesa Dixon-Gray, although the challenge of multigenerational living has grown along with her mother’s frailty, she continues to appreciate having the family close together.  Shirley, now 96, cannot do many things that she could when she first moved in—cooking, taking the bus, bathing without help.  A part-time caregiver helps out.  Still, she goes grocery shopping with her daughter, sitting in the grocery café, and reminding Dixon-Gray not to forget the challah bread.  “And she still wins at bridge,” says Dixon-Gray.She and her husband have not been able to travel for the last three years, and even finding an accessible restaurant can be challenging.  But having her mom live in the backyard has been 90 percent positive, she says. “For us, it’s working pretty well.  It’s a choice we’ve made.  And I know someday we’ll be able to travel.  Everything goes in phases.”Related PostsCelebrating Mary Valentine: Green House Life through her Granddaughter’s EyesContribution by Ann Frohman, granddaughter of Mary Valentine Mary Valentine was a tiny, elegant red-headed woman who surrounded herself with beauty.  She was a lady of fashion and style. She loved the opera, flowers, poetry, French Impressionist art, the warmth … Continue reading →Conscious Aging in Cohousing CommunityUnlike most cohousing communities, which can be costly, Sand River Cohousing in Santa Fe, N.M., offers many members a financially-sustainable lifestyle.Thinking of Going Gray?We are pleased to be hosting Anne Kreamer here on the blog on Wednesday, October 19 to talk with us about her latest book, It’s Always Personal. Our readers were fascinated by her last visit here when she shared her personal story about Going Gray, so …Tweet49Share439Share43Email531 SharesTags: Portland Tiny Houselast_img read more