Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #242--June 17, 2004


CAAR (Current Awareness in Aging Research) is a weekly email report produced by the Center for Demography of Health and Aging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that helps researchers keep up to date with the latest developments in the field. For more information, including an archive of back issues and subscription information see:


I. Reports and articles:

1. CBO REPORT: "The Outlook for Social Security," (Congressional Budget Office, June 2004, .pdf, Excel and HTML format, 35p.).



Supplemental Data:


A. "Social Security: Distribution of Benefits and Taxes Relative to Earnings Level," (US General Accounting Office, GAO-04-747, June 15, 2004, .pdf format, 60p.).

B. "Internet Pharmacies: Some Pose Safety Risks for Consumers," (US General Accounting Office, GAO-04-820, June 17, 2004, .pdf format, 29p.).

Note: These are temporary addresses. GAO reports are always available at:

3. NIH PRESS RELEASE: "Eye Drops May Delay or Prevent Glaucoma in African Americans at Higher Risk," (June 14, 2004).

Background information:


A. "NCA Tracking Sheet for Positron Emission Tomography (FDG) and Other Neuroimaging Devices for Suspected Dementia (CAG-00088R)," (June 15, 2004).

B. "Medicare Proposes Expanded Coverage and New Studies of FDG-Pet for the Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease," (June 15, 2004).


A. "Review of Improper Payments Made by Medicare Part B for Services Covered Under the Part A Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System in Calendar Years 1999 and 2000," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, A-01-02-00513, June 2004, .pdf format, 34p.).

From the Executive Summary:

The report points out that Medicare paid twice for the same service--once to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) under the Medicare Part A prospective payment system (PPS) and again to an outside supplier under Medicare Part B. Under current law a skilled nursing facility (SNF) is reimbursed a prospective payment for covered services (consolidated billing) rendered to its Medicare beneficiaries in a Part A stay. Outside providers and suppliers must bill the SNF (not Medicare Part B) for most services and supplies provided. The potential improper payments to Part B providers and suppliers totaled $108.3 million. Moreover, the beneficiaries of these services may have incurred unnecessary charges of $33.1 million in coinsurance and deductibles. This problem occurred because adequate controls had not been established at SNFs or suppliers to prevent improper billing of Medicare for Part B services included in the Part A SNF payment rate. Among other things, OIG recommended recovery of the improper payments, and that CMS instruct its contractors to encourage SNFs and suppliers to establish and/or enhance billing controls.

B. "Review of Corrective Actions To Improve the Comprehensive Error Rate Testing Process for Obtaining Medical Records," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, A-03-04-00005, June 2004, .pdf format, 12p.).

From the Executive Summary:

During Fiscal Year 2003 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) experienced a significant problem with providers that did not respond to requests for medical records for use in developing the Medicare payment error rate. The objective of this review was to evaluate the adequacy of CMS's corrective actions to improve the process for obtaining medical records. The CMS has implemented a number of corrective actions to improve this process. Based on our review of data for the first three quarters of the fiscal year 2004 error rate sample, these corrective actions appear to have increased provider responsiveness to requests for medical records. However, as of April 8, 2004, providers had still failed to submit medical records supporting 2,239 of the 126,618 claims in the fiscal year 2004 sample, despite repeated requests for the records. Therefore, we have initiated an indepth review to determine why providers failed to respond. Additionally, as part of our broader evaluation of the program, we will further assess the impact of CMS's corrective actions.

6. MEPS STATISTICAL BRIEF: "Outpatient Prescribed Medicines: A Comparison of Use and Expenditures, 1987 and 2001," by Mamatha Pancholi and Marie Stagnitti (US Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Statistical Brief No. 33, June 2004, HTML and .pdf format, 5p.).

7. AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF HEALTH AND WELFARE [AIHW] REPORT: "The Impact of Dementia on the Health and Aged Care Systems," (AIHW Cat. No. AGE 37 , June 2004, .pdf format, 80p.).

8. _PCD_ BOOK REVIEW: _How Healthy Are We? A National Study of Well-Being at Midlife_, edited by Orville G. Brim, Carol D. Ryff, and Ronald C. Kessler, reviewed by Sussan K. Sutphen (US Centers for Disease Control _Preventing Chronic Disease_, Vol. 1, No. 3, July 2004, HTML and .pdf format, 2p.).

9. _JAMA_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Elderly Licensure Laws and Motor Vehicle Fatalities," by David C. Grabowski, Christine M. Campbell, and Michael A. Morrisey (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 291, No. 23, June 16, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 2840-2846).

10. _LANCET_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: Note: _Lancet_ requires free registration before providing content. "Change in stroke incidence, mortality, case-fatality, severity, and risk factors in Oxfordshire, UK from 1981 to 2004 (Oxford Vascular Study)," by P. M. Rothwell, A. J. Coull, M. F. Giles, S. C. Howard, L. E. Silver, L. M. Bull, S. A. Gutnikov, P. Edwards, D. Mant, C. M. Sackley, A. Farmer, P. A. G. Sandercock, M. S. Dennis, C. P. Warlow, J. M. Bamford, P. Anslow, for the Oxford Vascular Study (_Lancet_, Vol. 363, No. 9425, June 12, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1925-1933).

11. MEDSCAPE ARTICLE: Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles. "Treatment of Octogenarians: Should We and How? (Part I)," by Robert A. Phillips (_Journal of Clinical Hypertension_, Vol. 6, No. 5, 2004, p. 267-270 via Medscape).

12. BROOKINGS INSTITUTION REPORT: "A Summary of Saving Social Security: A Balanced Approach," by Peter A. Diamond and Peter R. Orszag (May 2004, .pdf format, 54p.).

Click on "View Full Op-Ed" for full text.


A. "Changing Pace of the Race," by Anne Harding and Simon Kelly (CP2004_001, 2004, .pdf format, 16p.).


Despite the importance of the ageing issue, little is known of the assets owned by individuals or of their ability to contribute to the costs associated with ageing. The data available on the current distribution are limited and even less is available for the future. NATSEM has for some years been aware of this void and has been developing techniques and tools to estimate current and future assets of Australians.

The highly successful collaboration between AMP and NATSEM over the past few years has allowed NATSEMs research to be brought to the attention of policy makers and the general public. The joint publications have made a strong contribution to raising awareness of the issues associated with an ageing Australia.

This paper summarizes issues associated with population ageing and its impact on present and future Australians.

B. "Live Long and Prosper? Post-retirement Incomes in Victoria," by Simon Kelly (NATSEM, June 2004, .pdf format, 28p.).

14. CENTER FOR RETIREMENT RESEARCH AT BOSTON COLLEGE ISSUE BRIEF: "Reforming the UK Retirement System: Privatization Plus a Safety Net," by Steven A. Sass (Global Issue in Brief #3, June 2004, .pdf format, 15p.).

Click on " click here" for full text.

15. ADEAR NEWSLETTER: "Connections," (Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2004).

16. AARP PERIODICAL: Selected articles from the June 2004 issue of _AARP Bulletin_ are available at the AARP website.


II. Working Papers:


A. "Plan Design and 401(k) Savings Outcomes," by James J. Choi, David Laibson, and Brigitte C. Madrian (BWP 2004-4, June 2004, .pdf format, 45p.).


We assess the impact of 401(k) plan design on four different 401(k) savings outcomes: participation in the 401(k) plan, the distribution of employee contribution rates, asset allocation, and cash distributions. We show that plan design can have an important effect on all of these savings outcomes. This suggests an important role for both employers in determining how to structure their 401(k) plans and government regulators in creating institutions that encourage or discourage particular aspects of 401(k) plan design.

B. "Employee Stock Purchase Plans," by Gary V. Engelhardt and Brigitte C. Madrian (BWP 2004-5, June 2004, .pdf format, 41p.).


Employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs) are designed to promote employee stock ownership broadly within the firm and provide another tax-deferred vehicle for individual capital accumulation in addition to traditional pensions, 401(k)s, and stock options. We outline the individual and corporate tax treatment of ESPPs and the circumstances under which ESPPs will be preferred to cash compensation from a purely tax perspective. We then examine empirically ESPP participation using administrative data from 1997-2001 for a large health services company that employs approximately 30,000 people. The picture that emerges from the analysis of these data suggests that there is substantial non-participation in these plans even though all employees could increase gross compensation through participation. We discuss a number of potential explanations for non-participation.

18. DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS UPPSALA UNIVERSITY [SWEDEN]: "Private Alternatives and Early Retirement Programs," by Matias Eklf and Daniel Hallberg (WP 2004-5, June 2004, .pdf format, 30p.).


This paper describes early retirement option programs in collective agreements in Sweden during the 1990s. We highlight the differences between actual pension benefits and those stipulated in the standard agreements. We find that the individuals frequently face far better options than those given by standard agreements. The mix and the timing of pensions is usually done in a non-trivial way. Thus, if we just relied on the standard agreement text, one important implication of these findings is that the effects of economic incentives on retirement very well might be over-estimated.


III. Journal Tables of Contents (check your library for availability):

19. American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 159, No. 12, June 15, 2004).

20. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics (Vol. 38, Supplement 1, 2004).

Click on "Table of Contents & Abstracts" on the right side of the page.

21. The Gerontologist (Vol. 44, No. 3, June 1, 2004). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

22. INGENTA Tables of Contents: INGENTA provides fee based document delivery services for selected journals.

A. Point your browser to:

B. click on "browse by publication"
C. Click the "fax/ariel" radio button, type the Journal Name in the "by words in the title" search box and click "search".
D. View the table of contents for the issue noted.

International Journal of Aging and Human Development (Vol. 58, No. 1, 2004).

Omega: Journal of Death and Dying (Vol. 48, No. 1, 2004).


23. AMEDEO MEDICAL LITERATURE: Note: "AMEDEO has been created to serve the needs of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, administrators, other members of the health professions, and patients and their friends. They can easily access timely, relevant information within their respective fields... All AMEDEO services are free of charge. This policy was made possible thanks to generous unrestricted educational grants provided by AMGEN, Berlex, Eisai, Glaxo Wellcome, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, and Schering AG."

A. Osteoporosis: Literature for the week of June 16, 2004:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of June 16, 2004:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of June 16, 2004:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of June 16, 2004:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


IV. Funding Opportunities:

24. NIH: "Midcareer investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research (K24)," (US National Institutes on Health, National Institute on Aging in conjunction with other agencies, PA-04-107, June 8, 2004).


V. Legislation Information Updates:

25. US SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING HEARING TESTIMONY: "Strengthening Social Security: What Can Personal Retirement Accounts Do For Low-Income Workers?" a hearing held June 15, 2004.

Hearing testimony (PDF):

26. US SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS, SUBCOMMITTEE ON INVESTIGATIONS HEARING TESTIMONY: "Buyer Beware: The Danger of Purchasing Pharmaceuticals over the Internet," a hearing held June 17, 2004.

Hearing testimony (PDF & HTML):

27. US HOUSE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE HEARING PUBLICATION: "Strengthening Pension Security and Defined Benefit Plans: Examining the Financial Health of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation," a hearing held September 4, 2003 (US House Serial Publication 108-29, ASCII text and .pdf format, 79p.).

28. US HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS HEARING PUBLICATION: "H.R. 743, the 'Social Security Protection Act of 2003'," a hearing held February 27, 2003 (US House Serial Publication 108-31, ASCII text and .pdf format, 79p.).


VI. Websites of Interest:

29. TECHNOLOGY FOR LONG TERM CARE WEB SITE: "Technology for Long Term Care is the result of a research project initiative by HHS to address barriers to bringing new technologies into residential care settings. Polisher Research Institute and IDEAS, Inc. constructed this Web site,, under contract with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at HHS. The Web site was created to provide ready access to information on technologies that can help provide higher quality care for the elderly and the disabled. It will be especially useful for professionals in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, board and care facilities, adult day care facilities, and continuing care retirement communities. Extensive input was received from long-term care service providers, researchers, and state and federal officials to maximize its use and benefits."

DHHS Press Release:




Charlie Fiss
Information Manager
Center for Demography and Ecology and
Center for Demography of Health and Aging
Rm. 4470A Social Science Bldg
1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
Phone: (608) 265-9240
Fax: (608) 262-8400