Every Picture Tells A Story – Medicare Beneficiaries and COVID-19

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CMS provides a twice-annual snapshot of the care and concerns of Medicare beneficiaries. They just released the latest survey that ended in April. We have time to take in a few curated highlights.


No surprise here, I suppose; most of the oldster information comes from the traditional sources, mainstream media, health care providers, and official guidance. Social media, not too much – they have left those channels to their children and grandchildren.

Here is what they “know to be true.”

That 96% is an impressive percentage, the cynics amongst us would note that it is self-serving. Those who consider the “better angels” within us might say it was public-minded.

Of the 24% of beneficiaries who would probably or definitely would not get vaccinated, the top two reasons were concerns about safety (44%) and distrust of government (29%). 

Finally, I think we can all agree that the nursing homes were COVID-19 early “killing fields.” Much like the fires out West, COVID-19 roared through the human “kindling” offered up in facilities that were set up to care for the frailest amongst us. A number of the recent media reports have talked about a 40% non-vaccination rate among healthcare workers. But they are not monolithic, and they can be categorized. In this breakout of data for nursing homes, look at how many of the staff have not been vaccinated. We might quibble about mandates elsewhere, but if you are providing care to our most vulnerable, their right to remain well trumps your right not to be vaccinated – or at least, that is what I, as a physician, believe.



Sources: https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-systems/mcbs-public-use-file/medicare-current-beneficiary-survey-winter-2021-covid-19-data-snapshot