Friday, March 27, 2015

Special Enrollment Period ends April 30


Millions of people have already signed up for 2015 coverage, and 8 out of 10 who enroll are getting financial help.

Don’t miss the chance to enroll in health coverage for 2015 if you owe the fee.


This is too important to put off. If you don’t have coverage for the remainder of 2015 you’ll risk having to pay the fee again next year for the portion of the year you don’t have coverage. If you don’t have health coverage for 2015, the fee is $325 per person or 2% of your household income – whichever is higher.

We hope you take advantage of this extended opportunity to get quality coverage this year.

The HealthCare.gov Team

Thursday, March 26, 2015

2015 County Health Rankings Released

Health snapshots for nearly every county in all 50 states

The 2015 County Health Rankings examine 30 factors that influence health—including adult obesity rates, physical inactivity rates, access to exercise opportunities, and a food environment index that measures both food insecurity and access to healthy food.

This year's key findings report shows that 60 percent of the nation’s counties are seeing declines in premature death rates. On the other hand, this year’s report also reveals that almost one out of four children in the U.S. lives in poverty. The report also looks at income distribution within communities, as well as the links between income levels and health.

Learn about other national trends at countyhealthrankings.org 

RWJF.org

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Utah Navigators Ready to Help Those Fined for not Having Health Insurance

This tax season, Utahns who didn’t have health insurance last year may discover for the first time that they have to pay a penalty to the federal government. But they have an opportunity to sign up for insurance and avoid future fines.
Credit obamacarefacts.com

As Utahns prepare to file their tax returns this year, they will have to provide some information about their health coverage. If their income level is above the poverty line, then they will have to pay a fine of 95 dollars for every adult that doesn’t have insurance in the household, and 47.50 for every child.  Or 1 percent of their income, whichever is higher.

“For a lot of people, this will be the first time they’ve heard of the penalty for not having had health insurance,” says Randal Serr, Director of Take Care Utah, a state ACA enrollment organization. Seer says Utahns without health insurance can’t avoid the fine for their 2014 taxes, but they can still sign up this year and avoid additional fines for 2015. A new special enrollment period is underway for those facing penalties. Serr says there are more than 100 enrollment experts around the state ready to help.

“A lot of people are hearing about Obamacare and about the penalties and so forth, but most people don’t know that free help is available,” he says. “What we recommend is that they either call 211 or visit TakeCareUtah.org, and by doing that they can find local help, they can get their questions answered. Believe it or not, there are still quite a bit of misconceptions out there about Obamacare.”

The special enrollment period ends April 30th.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Office of Health Disparities Internship Opportunity


Agency
Utah Department of Health, Office of Health Disparities

Duration
May 1 to August 31, 2015

Hours
15h/week 

Stipend
$12.00 per hour

Openings
One (1)

Description
Intern will engage in activities with African American community to promote and build support for outreach, health education, and access to public health programs and health care services. Assist in the planning of a community health program to reduce birth outcomes disparities among Utah's African American population.

Responsibilities
Intern will be responsible for tasks including but not  limited to, gathering quantitative and qualitative data, developing educational materials, producing reports, giving presentations, conducting outreach activities and other tasks as needed.

Requirements
-BS from an accredited U.S college or university in public health, community health, health promotion or related field. Currently enrolled students may also apply.
-Experience working with the African American community
-Knowledge of, and ties to, the Utah's African American community or ability to do so
-Must have own vehicle and current Utah driver's license
-Must attend mandatory orientation and trainings
-Disciplined, self-starter, flexible and able to work independently and with a team
-Good writing and communication skills

Location
Utah Department of Health, Highland Campus, 3760 South Highland Drive, Salt  Lake City. Some travel required, mostly along the Wasatch Front.

Application
Qualified applicants may send resume (no more than 2 pages) to Dulce Díez diez@utah.gov 

Description
Intern will engage in activities with African American community to promote and build support for outreach, health education, and access to public health programs and health care services. Assist in the planning of a community health program to reduce birth outcomes disparities among Utah's African American population.

Responsibilities
Intern will be responsible for tasks including but not  limited to, gathering quantitative and qualitative data, developing educational materials, producing reports, giving presentations,conducting outreach activities and other tasks as needed.

Requirements
-BS from an accredited U.S college or university in public health, community health, health promotion or related field. Currently enrolled students can also apply.
-Experience working with the African American community
-Knowledge of, and ties to, the Utah's African American community or ability to do so
-Must have own vehicle and current Utah driver's license
-Must attend mandatory orientation and trainings
-Disciplined, self-starter, flexible and able to work independently and with a team
-Good writing and communication skills

Location
Utah Department of Health, Highland Campus, 3760 South Highland Drive, Salt  Lake City. Some travel required, mostly along the Wasatch Front.

Application
Qualified applicants may send resume (no more than 2 pages) to Dulce Díez ddiez@utah.gov.
Additional information Explain (no more than one additional page) your experience with, and knowledge of, this specific community. Provide references and contact information for those references.

Deadline
Requested materials (resume and additional information) must be received before April 10, 2015 at 11:59 pm.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Exciting New Community Engagement, Assessment, and Design Resources

CDC’s Community Health Status Indicators (CHSI) 2015 is an interactive web application that produces health profiles for all 3,143 counties in the United States. Each profile includes key indicators of health outcomes, which describe the population health status of a county and factors that have the potential to influence health outcomes, such as health care access and quality, health behaviors, social factors (economic and social conditions that may directly or indirectly influence the health of people and communities) and the physical environment (the natural environment (air, water, and soil) and the built environment (safe and affordable housing, transportation, access to nutritious and affordable food.) The social factors and the physical environment are especially important because they represent the conditions in which people are born, live, work, and play. Key features include:


o   Summary Comparison Report – an “at a glance” summary of how a county compares with peer counties on the full set of Primary Indicator.
o   Indicator Description –info describing the significance of the indicator, source/years of data, methodology for creation, and any limitations.
o   Indicator Downloads – indicator values for each group of peer counties can be downloaded for further examination and analysis.
cid:image006.gif@01CC9C89.3176BEA0o   Populations – allows users to compare an indicator value for the entire population of a county with sub-populations defined by sex, age groups, and race/ethnicity, where data are available. This feature can be used to assist with identifying potential health disparities.
o   Census Tract Maps –identify vulnerable populations and potential health disparities by examining the geographic distribution of select social factor indicators within a county (by census tract).
o   Associated Indicators – these are indicators that are related to the primary indicator and may provide additional valuable information. For example, the primary indicator for educational attainment is on-time high school graduation rate. Associated Indicators include percent of adults without a high school diploma and percent of adults with an associate level degree or higher.

·         2014 Bicycling and Walking in the U.S. Benchmarking Report – The Report, a collaboration between CDC and the Alliance for Biking and Walking, includes new data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states, the 52 largest U.S. cities, and a select number of midsized cities. It combines original research with over 20 government data sources to compile data on bicycling and walking levels and demographics, safety, funding, policies, infrastructure, education, public health indicators, and economic impacts.

·         The Built Environment and Public Health Clearinghouse (BEPHC) is a resource for training at both the university and professional levels and a source for relevant news and information at this critical intersection of community design and health. It includes:
o   Professional Training directs professionals to webinars, primers, toolkits, organizations, and other online resources for self-directed learning.
o   Academic Training offers a full academic semester or individual modules for multidisciplinary instruction between public health and architecture, health impact assessment, planning and transportation engineering. It includes learning goals, units, reading, assignments, sample syllabi, and student reports. It also guides students on academic course offerings, specializations, certificates, and dual degree programs at US colleges and universities for architecture, health impact assessment, planning, and public health.
o   Glossary of over 1,100 terms from architecture, health impact assessment, planning, public health, and transportation engineering.
  
Key New or Upcoming Partner Resources

·         The Urban Land Institute just released the Building Healthy Places Toolkit: Strategies for Enhancing Health in the Built Environment. Developers, owners, property managers, designers, investors, and others involved in real estate decision making can use the report’s recommendations and strategies to create places that contribute to healthier people and communities. The toolkit builds on previous publications from the larger Building Healthy Places Initiative, which seeks to leverage the power of ULI’s global network of almost 33,000 members through the Toolkit and other projects like the Healthy Corridors Project designed to provide guidance on transforming isolated, auto-dependent roads and commercial strip centers into vibrant, safe, and healthy corridors.

·         AARP is developing a web-based Livability Indexto be released in mid- to late April, which will use nationally available data, incorporate mapping technology, quantitative measures, and public policies to assess the livability of communities. The Index will help users better understand their communities and make decisions about their future needs – informing policy development and community stakeholder participation. A community’s Livability Score will be based on measures of essential attributes in certain categories, also called domains, to determine the location’s degree of livability. Domains will include: 1) Environment, 2) Health, 3) Housing, 4) Neighborhood, 5) Transportation, 6) Civic & Social Engagement, and 7) Economic Opportunity. To receive launch notification sign up here: http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/livable-community-news-alerts/.

 Existing Tools in Community Engagement and Assessment from CDC

·         Principles of Community Engagement – Provides public health professionals, health care providers, researchers, and community-based leaders and organizations with both a science base and practical guidance for engaging partners in projects that may affect them. The primer also provides tools for those who are leading efforts to improve population health through community engagement.

·         Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH) – PACE EH guides local public health officials and communities through a process to explore the broad physical and social environments that impact health and safety. The assessment process engages communities in a series of tasks to investigate the relationships among what they value, how their local environment impacts their health, and what actions are necessary to live safer and healthier lives.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of our Nation

Please join the Utah Association for Infant Mental Health (UAIMH) for Utah’s first official screening of:
The Raising of America: 
Early Childhood and the Future of our Nation
April 9 (from 6:30-9:00 pm)
Rowland School Beginning School
720 S. Guardsman Way, SLC

The Raising of America is a 5-part documentary that will be completed in its entirety in May, 2015. This film brings to light many of the challenges faced by America’s youngest children and their parents, examines root causes for these challenges, and offers possible solutions. Which solutions would work for Utah, the youngest state in the nation?

We invite all early childhood organizations and advocacy groups in Utah to join us as co-hosts.

We will be showing THE RAISING OF AMERICA SIGNATURE HOUR: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation, followed by a panel discussion. Here is a description of this hour-long episode:

The U.S. is a can-do nation. So why is child well-being in the U.S. so much worse than in other rich countries? How does what Paul Kershaw calls “the growing squeeze” on so many young families and caregivers—the squeeze for time, for money and for resources—“drip down” on their infants and young children, literally altering the wiring of their developing brains with potential long-term consequences for learning, earning and mental and physical health? How might we do better?

This hour-long episode interweaves the latest discoveries from neuroscience with the stories of families and communities struggling to provide the nurturing environments all babies and young children need to thrive—while too often hindered by social conditions that put their children on low developmental trajectories. It doesn’t have to be this way. If the nation aspires to a healthier, safer, better educated, more prosperous and equitable future, we must find a way to enable all our children the opportunity for a strong start now.

You can become an official partner of The Raising of America, via this website: http://www.raisingofamerica.org/join-campaign

ACA Cut The Ranks Of The Uninsured By A Third

A total of 16.4 million non-elderly adults have gained health insurance coverage since the Affordable Care Act became law five years ago this month. It's a reduction in the ranks of the uninsured the the Department of Health and Human Services called historic.

Those gaining insurance since 2010 include 2.3 million young adults aged 18 to 26 who were able to remain on their parents' health insurance plus another 14.1 million adults who obtained coverage through expansions of the Medicaid program, new marketplace coverage and other sources, according to the report from the department released Monday.

Image result for acaOfficials say the percentage of people without coverage has dropped about a third since 2012: from 20.3 percent to 13.2 percent in the first quarter of 2015.

"The Affordable Care Act is working to drive down the number of uninsured and the uninsured rate," Richard Frank, assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at HHS, told reporters. "Nothing since the implementation of Medicare and Medicaid has seen this kind of change."

Latinos, who traditionally have been least likely to have health coverage, have seen the largest drop in their uninsured rate, according to the report. The Latino uninsured rate fell 12.3 percentage points, from 41.8 percent to 29.5 percent. The uninsured rate for African Americans fell by nearly half, from 22.4 percent to 13.2 percent. The rate for non-Latino whites fell by just over 5 percentage points.

States that expanded the Medicaid program to 138 percent of the poverty line also saw large reductions in their low-income uninsured populations – an average of 13 percent among people with incomes under the new Medicaid threshold. States that haven't expanded the program still saw a decline, though not as large, of about 7 percent.

HHS officials said they expect to have better state-by-state breakdowns and estimates of the number of children covered later this year. The ACA turns five on March 23.

NPR Kaiser Health News