Area Agency on Aging: Medical comparison website and more scam tips

By Kay Kaylor
PREVIEW Columnist

I advocate for residents in extended care and assisted living residences as the region’s lead long-term care ombudsman. I also am a Senior Medicare Patrol and State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselor, all as an employee of San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging (SJBAAA). Information on the many aging and care concerns will be included here.

As noted here in the past, Medicare.gov has a webpage titled Nursing Home Compare (NHC). It can be found by an Internet search or by clicking on the home page on the box titled “Find Care.” This link also allows you to click boxes with links to compare doctors, hospitals, home health services, dialysis facilities, hospice care or inpatient rehabilitation.

NHC has been updated recently, as noted in the “Spotlight” box below the search. Links there give the public access to COVID-19 infection control inspections and to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services COVID-19 nursing home data (required in May). 

This year, NHC also added alerts with a red hand symbol for nursing homes cited for issues related to abuse. The main purpose of NHC is to provide information derived from state health department surveys and it allows you to compare the quality ratings of up to three nursing homes at a time.

A few more tips on COVID-19 scams

The April 9 column searchable on the online version of The Pagosa Springs SUN described emerging COVID-19 scams, such as phone calls and emails offering cures and vaccinations. An AARP article on aarp.org, “12 Tips from Top Feds to Avoid Fraud During the Pandemic,” mentioned a few tips not reported then.

Bryan Ware of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency emphasized the importance of strong passwords and to be suspicious of any emails with “COVID-19” in the subject line or on attachments or links. 

Michael Herndon of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said to be wary of someone you do not know offering to shop for groceries or supplies or to pick up prescriptions. Instead, order directly from the store or use a delivery service. 

Note that Archuleta Seniors Inc. provides shopping and prescription pickup services through volunteers. Call Rod Hubbard at 422-7084.

SJBAAA offers resources for people age 60 and older or on Medicare. For further information, please call or text 403-2165 or send an email to leadombudsman@sjbaaa.org.

Should face coverings be mandatory to protect against COVID-19?
680 votes · 680 answers
This story was posted on June 29, 2020.