U.S. needs better system to care for elderly, study says

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As the nation's elderly population continues to grow, the country must beef up its system for providing care to both seniors and the disabled, according to a new study from the Institute of Medicine.

More than 40 million United States residents are disabled in some way, the report states. Moreover, aging baby boomers are expected to increase the disabled population in the not-so-distant future. Also, lack of exercise, obesity and diabetes will contribute to a growing number of people with limitations on their physical activity.

The IOM in the report asks that Congress and federal agencies increase funding for research related to disability problems. It also urges elimination of the two-year waiting period for Medicare eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiaries. The agency also wants the federal government to amend the "in-home-use" requirement for Medicare coverage of durable medical equipment to allow reimbursement for equipment that can be used both inside and outside the home.

The report is available at http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3740/25335/42494.aspx.
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