Preventing Elder Abuse: CT Ranks 26th in USA

Connecticut ranks 26th among the nation’s 50 states in providing protections for elder abuse, according to a new analysis of state policies by the financial website WalletHub. Connecticut is the 7th oldest population in the nation.  The U.S. Census Bureau expects the national population aged 65 and older to nearly double from 43.1 million in 2012 to 83.7 million in 2050, in large measure due to aging Baby Boomers who began turning 65 in 2011.

Abuse happens every day and takes many forms, WalletHub’s elder-abuseexplains. “Anyone can become a victim of abuse, but vulnerable older Americans — especially those who are women, have disabilities and rely on others for care or other type of assistance — are among the easiest targets for such misconduct.”

WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 10 key indicators of elder-abuse protection. The data set ranges from “share of elder-abuse, gross-neglect and exploitation complaints” to “financial elder-abuse laws.” By one estimate, the analysis summary points out, elder abuse affects as many as 5 million people per year, and 96 percent of all cases go unreported.

States described as having the “Best Elder-Abuse Protections” are the District of Columbia, Nevada, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Missouri, Tennessee, Iowa, Louisiana, Vermont and Hawaii.  At the bottom of the list were Rhode Island, California, Wyoming and South Carolina.

WalletHub’s review of data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia were conducted across three key dimensions: 1) Prevalence, 2) Resources and 3) Protection.  Connecticut’s highest ranking in the individual categories was in Resources, ranking 23rd.  The Resources category included Total Expenditures on Elder-Abuse Prevention per Resident Aged 65 & Older, Total Expenditures on Legal-Assistance Development per Resident Aged 65 & Older, Total Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program Funding per Resident Aged 65 & Older.

The state legislature earlier this year folded the Legislative Commission on Aging into the new Commission on Women, Children and Seniors.  Former executive director Julia Evans Starr pointed out in an April article that "Elder abuse is a significant social justice issue that transcends race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, income, and education levels. At least 10 percent of older adults have suffered elder abuse — and that proportion is set rise among Connecticut’s rapidly growing, longer-lived population. It demands a strong policy response."

Boehringer Ingelheim Backs AFib Education Initiative

Recognizing the need for increased education and awareness of atrial fibrillation, or AFib,  and AFib-related stroke, global pharmaceutical leader Boehringer Ingelheim – with United States headquarters in Ridgefield -  became founding sponsor of Team AFib, a national coalition offering an array of initiatives that include educational materials, an informational website, and appearances at major events across the country.AFib booth

The Team AFib alliance, launched in 2011, continues to grow.  Inaugural members include, National Blood Clot Alliance, National Stroke Association, Mended Hearts, VFW and Womenheart.

The Men’s Health Network joined the coalition this year, and included the TeamAFib Insight tour in coordinated health screening events at targeted NFL venues, including the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins, and Philadelphia Eagles.

Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat and a common, serious form of heart arrhythmia.

Nearly 350,000 hospitalizations every year are attributed to AFib, which can contribute to congestive heart failure and other serious heart conditions. 

The most serious complication of AFib is stroke, and  people with AFib are nearly five times more likely to suffer a stroke than those without the condition. AFib-related strokes are nearly twice as fatal and twice as disabling as non-AFib related strokes.

Why did the company get involved?  Officials point to the firm’s dedication to patient education and improving the quality of life for patients and their families. The Team AFib effort aims to  educate patients about AFib, stroke risk and to provide tips and tools to help patients talk to their doctors.AFib website

Among the key initiatives:

Team AFib Insight tours: These live events provide an opportunity for patients to participate in a virtual 3D journey through the body to understand how AFib can lead to stroke. This experience puts AFib “in sight” to help people understand how AFib can lead to the formation of a clot that can break loose and travel to the brain where it has the potential to cause a stroke.

Podcasts and Webinars: A webinar and podcast series centered on areas of importance to the coalition, including how to recognize and respond quickly to stroke signs and symptoms, gaps in knowledge among patients and their healthcare providers about AFib and stroke risk and supporting loved ones with AFib. AFib booklet

In addition to information about AFib, diagnosing AFib and understanding stroke risk, the website provides insights from experts in Q&A form and via webcasts/podcasts, a stroke assessment tool, and the Insight Tour schedule. 

The podcasts and webinars are available at  The Insight tour made stops during 2013 in Washington DC at a local health fair, at the VFW National Convention in Reno, and at AARP conventions in Las Vegas and Atlanta.  The 2014 schedule is being finalized, and updates to the website are in the works.

Boehringer Ingelheim is a research-driven company dedicated to researching and developing, manufacturing and marketing pharmaceuticals that improve health and quality of life. The company has more than 44,094 employees in 145 affiliated companies worldwide, research and development (R&D) facilities at 12 sites in seven countries and production plants in 15 countries.

Economic Impact of CT Hospitals Highlighted in Report

Connecticut hospitals contribute $20 billion to the state and local economies, according to a report, Connecticut Hospitals: Improving Health, Strengthening Connecticut’s Economy, compiled by the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA). According to the CHA report, Connecticut hospitals provide more than 54,000 jobs, with a total annual payroll of $5.2 billion.  Earnings by Connecticut hospital and health system employees reverberate through the community, creating an additional 55,000 jobs in the local economy.

The four-page report, which focused on the economic impact of Connecticut’s hospitals and was released in the opening weeks of the state legislative session, noted that “hospitals and health systems serve as a magnet for other healthcare businesses and a stimulus for new businesses such as retail stores, banks, grocery stores and restaurants.”CHA cover

Connecticut hospitals are major employers and purchasers of goods and services, spending $9.6 billion in 2011 – funds that help to stimulate further economic growth across the state.  Goods and services purchased by hospitals, and funding spent on buildings and equipment, create additional economic value.  With these “ripple effects” included, an additional $10.4 billion is added to the Connecticut economy, resulting in a total contribution of $20 billion by Connecticut’s hospitals to the state’s economy, CHA official pointed out.

The report indicates that Connecticut hospitals treat more than 1.6 million patients in their emergency departments, bring nearly 38,000 babies into the world, and care for more than 420,000 admitted patients, providing more than 2 million days of inpatient care.

“Connecticut hospitals are a critical economic engine,” said Jennifer Jackson, President and CEO, CHA.  “They are often a community’s largest employer, stimulating jobs and attracting other businesses.  At a time when the state has never relied more on its hospitals for the safety net they provide, it is critical – both to our quality of life and economic health – that these institutions remain strong and stable.”

CHA membership includes 29 acute care hospitals and health care organizations and facilities throughout the state.  The report was issued at a time of considerable change in both the healthcare delivery and business sides of the industry, with mergers and affiliation agreements having been reached or under active consideration among industry leaders in Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, New London and elsewhere across Connecticut, as well as nationally.