To get health care, many must navigate glitchy government technology : Shots

Eric Harkleroad/KHN (Images: Getty Images/Unsplash)

(Eric Harkleroad/KHN illustration; Unsplash; Getty Images)

Eric Harkleroad/KHN (Images: Getty Images/Unsplash)

In October, when Jamie Taylor’s household monthly income fit within new state income limits after Missouri’s 2021 expansion of Medicaid, she applied for health coverage. She received a rejection letter within days, stating that her earnings exceeded the acceptable limit.

It was the latest blow in Taylor’s ongoing campaign to get assistance from Missouri’s safety net. Taylor, 41, has spent hours on the phone, enduring four-hour hold times and dropped calls. Time-sensitive documents were mailed to her home in Sikeston but by the time they arrived she had little time to act.

Her latest rejection – she would later find out – resulted from a preprogrammed glitch in her application that a technician enrolling her failed to catch.

Taylor’s struggles to get a benefit she was in fact qualified for are not uncommon in Missouri or nationally. They stem from extremely outdated technology used by a humongous web of government agencies, from local public health to state-run benefits programs. Matt Salo, the National Association of State Medicaid Directors executive director, calls the need for technology upgrades “the next great challenge that government has to solve.”

The COVID crisis exposed just how antiquated and ill-equipped many systems are to handle the unprecedented demand. While private-sector businesses beefed up the ability to stream TV shows, created apps for food deliveries, and moved offices online, some public health officials tracked COVID outbreaks by fax machine.

Jamie Taylor dealt with four-hour hold times and dropped calls while trying to secure public benefits in Missouri. Others have encountered similar problems across the nation as the pandemic has highlighted the pitfalls of dated government technology.

Krissy Pruiett

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Krissy Pruiett

Jamie Taylor dealt with four-hour hold times and dropped calls while trying to secure public benefits in Missouri. Others have encountered similar problems across the nation as the pandemic has highlighted the pitfalls of dated government technology.

Krissy Pruiett

But momentum is finally building for government tech updates. With once-in-a-generation pools of money available from pandemic relief funding and higher than expected tax revenues, some efforts are underway. President Joe Biden issued an executive order in December calling on benefits enrollment to be streamlined. State lawmakers are urging the use of unspent COVID relief money to address the issue.

That’s critical because outdated information systems can trigger ripple effects throughout the public benefits system, according to Jessica Kahn, who is a partner at the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm and previously led data and systems for Medicaid at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. One example: Hard-to-navigate online benefits applications can push more applicants to call phone help lines. That can strain call centers that, like many industries, are having difficulty meeting staffing needs.

Some states are already eyeing improvements:

In Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has directed up to $80 million to replace the state’s old unemployment infrastructure.

Kansas is among the first states working with the U.S. Department of

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15 Healthcare Technology Gadgets To Keep Your Health In Check In 2022

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With 2022 underway, you’re probably making all sorts of resolutions about quickly improving your health, diet, weight, stress level and overall well-being. As you’re about to discover, healthcare technology is no longer confined to sickly clinics. There are all sorts of online services and “smart” products that can help.

But nothing replaces the need to be dedicated and persistent with your efforts to transform your resolutions into a reality that’ll make a positive difference in your life. The 15 services and gadgets described here can make the process of achieving your physical health, mental health and fitness-related goals for 2022 a bit easier.

Control Your Stress Levels

The Apollo Neuro bracelet is worn around your wrist and uses gentle vibrations (scientifically proven touch therapy) to restore balance to your nervous system and ultimately improve your body’s resistance to stress. This will directly impact your ability to sleep better, stay focused on the task at hand, and recover from anxiety and stress faster.

The bracelet’s internal rechargeable battery lasts for between six and eight hours of continuous use. According to the company, “Your Apollo will send silent, soothing sound waves that tell your body that you’re safe and in control, like a song that your body can feel.” Using the device’s seven different modes as needed, over time, your body’s measurable biometrics, like heart rate variability (HRV), will improve.

Unlike health and fitness trackers, you only need to wear the Apollo Neuro for a few minutes at a time when you need to help your body relax and de-stress. It does not need to be worn throughout the day or night.

Apple Fitness+ Offers Streaming Classes For Everyone

Instead of paying for a costly gym membership or expensive in-home fitness equipment, for less than $10 per month, you can use your iPhone and Apple Watch (along with the optional Apple TV device) and a subscription to the Apple Fitness+ service to set and achieve your realistic fitness-related goals.

Apple Fitness+ offers live and pre-recorded classes taught by experts that get streamed from the Internet to your Apple devices. These classes cover 11 different types of workouts that last between five and 45 minutes each.

For just $10 per month (or $80 per year), Apple gives you unlimited access to the Fitness+ service, and you can use apps that come bundled with your iPhone and Apple Watch to set your fitness goals and track your progress every step of the way.

In addition to helping you develop and maintain a personalized workout and fitness routine, Apple Fitness+ offers

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