Tuesday, March 3, 2015

U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy visits Utah

Newly confirmed U.S. Surgeon General,  Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA visited Utah yesterday with a stop at the YMCA Community Family Center in Taylorsville. Dr. Murthy is conducting a nationwide "listening tour" to hear the concerns and issues from health care leaders in all 50 states in order to gain public input to better inform decisions about future initiatives and programming. Attendees were impressed that rather than start off his tenure with a big, exciting national initiative or "declaration of war" against a disease, he wanted to get input from communities and find ways to collaborate and have collective impact. 

Pictured left to right: Jake Fitisemanu, UDOH Office of Health Disparities, US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, Daela Taeoali'i-Higgs,SelectHealth
In attendance was leadership from state and local health departments, Intermountain Health Care, the Governor's Office of Multicultural Affairs, Select Health and many others.  A local resident shared his personal story of being uninsured for most of his life and the relief of finally being covered through a new Marketplace health plan. 
Dr. Murthy was nominated by President Barack Obama in November 2013 and confirmed on December 15, 2014 as the 19th United States Surgeon General.  Dr Murthy is also the youngest and first Indian American to serve as Surgeon General.

Monday, March 2, 2015

New poll asks "What Shapes Health"?

When you ask people what impacts health you'll get a lot of different answers: Access to good health care and preventative services, personal behavior, exposure to germs or pollution and stress. But if you dig a little deeper you'll find a clear dividing line, and it boils down to one word: money.

People whose household income is more than $75,000 a year have very different perceptions of what affects health than those whose household income is less than $25,000. This is one key finding in a poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. One third of respondents who are low income say lack of money has a harmful effect on health.

One in 5 people in our poll say they are in a similar position — low paying jobs or unemployment harms their health. And there's research to back this up. Kate Strully, a sociologist at the University at Albany, State University of New York, studied what happened when healthy people were laid off following a plant closing. She found that losing a job increased the odds of developing stress-related health conditions by 83 percent — conditions like stroke, heart disease, diabetes and emotional or psychiatric conditions.

Another social fact that affects health is housing. Forty percent of the low-income people in our poll say bad housing causes bad health. Uzuri Pease-Greene says this is true for her family. She rents a small two-bedroom apartment with her husband, two daughters and a grandchild in a public housing complex in San Francisco. When something breaks, she says it takes years to get it fixed. Ovens don't work, there are holes in the walls, the water doesn't work or there's a sewage backup.

The impact of childhood experiences on adult health is another surprising finding in our poll. More than any other factor in childhood, people say abuse and neglect contribute to poor health in adults. 

Read What Shapes Health Report.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Utah Farmworker Resources

In the last 3 years, Utah's farms have experienced labor shortages. Futures Through Training is working with the Farm Bureau and the Utah Department of Workforce Services to encourage farm workers to move to Utah.

As part of this effort, Futures Through Training wants to ensure Utah's future farmers and farm workers know where they can go for help if they need any when they get here. Please fill out this Google form https://docs.google.com/a/utah.gov/forms/d/1vTPlC6_2g7j-jHJWoyL_XQ46cr0OcHmP-mHQjbqvWvQ/viewform?c=0&w=1 if you have services that may be of assistance to farm workers.  We are in need of more food pantries, ESL providers, housing assistance, and other basic needs providers.

This information will be used to publicize the resources that are available to farm workers and their families when they move to Utah. If you would like to be included as a resource, please complete and submit the following information in this Google form:

Agency Name
Program Name
Please cut and paste the address exactly as it appears on your website. Example: http://www.futuresthroughtraining.org/index.php/en/farmworker-program
Phone Number 
farmworkers Can Call To Talk To A Human Being - NOT A MACHINE, Please use this format: 801-394-9774 ext. 18
Where Farmworkers Can Go For Service:  Example: 1140 East 36th Street, Suite 150, Ogden, Utah 84403
How Can This Program Help Farmworkers & Their Dependents
Summarize the services your program can assist with. Example: Employment and Training Services Including: Career Counseling; Paying for ESL, Education, Computer, & Training Costs;Teaching Job Searching, Interviewing & Employment Skills.
Basic Eligibility Requirements
Briefly summarize important requirements for participation in your program. Example: Applicants must have a legal right to work in the US, a valid social security card, and during the past 2 years, must have been working in agriculture for more than half of their time or income. Dependents who have not worked in agriculture can qualify if someone in the family has been working in agriculture. The household must meet the income limits as listed at www.FuturesThroughTraining.org
Languages that Services are Available In
List All Available Languages. Example: English, Spanish, German, American Sign Language and Khmer. Translators are available for Chuukese, Thai, Burmese, Karyn 1, and Karyn 2. Other translators can be acquired for Farmworkers & Dependents who speak other languages.
Area(s) of Utah Where Services Can Be Accessed
List All Places This Program Serves. Example #1: Only Utah County; Example #2: Walk-in services in Ogden, but Career Advisers will travel ANYWHERE in Utah if a Farmworker requests services.
Email Address Of Person Submitting Form
Please complete a separate form for each program or for different locations. 
Example #1: USOE has different school districts operating the Migrant Ed Program. Each school district should be on it's own form. 
Example #2: CHC has clinics in 7 locations. Each clinic that can help Farmworkers should be on it's own form.

For more information contact Corrie at ExplorerCor@aol.com or www.FuturesThroughTraining.org

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

White House Announces Every Kid in a Park Initiative

Image result for arches national parkEvery fourth-grader in America will receive a pass in September for a free year of family visits to every National Park in the United States, per a new Every Kids in a Park initiative announced by the White House. The initiative—part of a lead-up to the centennial anniversary of the National Park System in 2016—is designed in part to encourage children to enjoy outdoor recreation and physical activity opportunities.   

Monday, February 23, 2015

Crowdsourced contest promoting home visiting begins today!

Voices for Utah Children has launched an exciting online crowdsourced contest to find out what types of support new and expecting parents in Utah want the most. The challenge, run in partnership with the national online advocacy platform SparkAction, is an opportunity to learn more about the needs of Utah parents in their own words and to help urge the Utah Legislature and U.S. Congress to continue funding evidence-based home visiting programs such as Nurse Family Partnership to serve high risk, low-income first time mothers in Utah.

The contest simply asks parents to share a photo and their  answer to the question, "If a baby expert visited you, what help would you want?" Anyone who visits the website can vote for their favorites. The entry with the most votes  will win a night of free babysitting and dinner and a movie. The contest and all the information is at utahchildren.org/4UTparents.

We hope you can help us spread the word to your networks of new and expecting parents or professionals and advocates who serve new and expecting parents.
To save you work, we have created sample social media posts, e-newsletter blurbs, images and links that can simply be copied and pasted onto your platforms and websites, available here: http://www.utahchildren.org/about-us/projects/item/567

Will you please spread the word to your networks?
The contest begins today and ends on March 12, 2015. Please help Utah parents be heard and help us raise awareness of evidence-based home visiting.

Enrollment America releases State of Enrollment Report

In this report, you'll find important lessons learned from the second open enrollment period, based on the latest data from the outreach campaign that contacted more than 6 million consumers.

Click here to read the report.
Now that an estimated 11.4 million Americans are enrolled in marketplace coverage, plus millions more in Medicaid and CHIP, it's time to reflect on the strategies that can make even more progress possible.
In the report, you'll learn about the latest findings on the "science of enrollment,"including:

  • Which messages motivated the uninsured to start the enrollment process.
  • What tools and outreach strategies make consumers more likely to successfully enroll.
  • Why year-round outreach is critical to enrollment success.
  • How tax time is a prime opportunity to encourage enrollment.
  • Where the uninsured rate has already fallen the farthest.
Click here to read the State of Enrollment report and learn more about best practices that everyone involved in enrollment can replicate in the future.

Millions more Americans can still benefit from financial help to get covered, but only if partners like you, in communities around the country, continue this important work in the years to come.

NOTICE:CMS Announces Special Enrollment Period for Tax Season

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or “shared responsibility payment” when they file their 2014 taxes in states which use the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFM). This special enrollment period will allow those individuals and families who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of this new requirement to enroll in 2015 health insurance coverage through the FFM.
For those who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of the fee for not enrolling in coverage, CMS will provide consumers with an opportunity to purchase health insurance coverage from March 15 to April 30.  If consumers do not purchase coverage for 2015 during this special enrollment period, they may have to pay a fee when they file their 2015 income taxes.
Those eligible for this special enrollment period live in states with a Federally-facilitated Marketplace and:
·         Currently are not enrolled in coverage through the FFM for 2015,
·         Attest that when they filed their 2014 tax return they paid the fee for not having health coverage in 2014, and
·        Attest that they first became aware of, or understood the implications of, the Shared Responsibility Payment after the end of open enrollment (February 15, 2015) in connection with preparing their 2014 taxes.

The special enrollment period announced today will begin on March 15, 2015 and end at 11:59 pm E.S.T. on April 30, 2015.  If a consumer enrolls in coverage before the 15th of the month, coverage will be effective on the first day of the following month. 

This year’s tax season is the first time individuals and families will be asked to provide basic information regarding their health coverage on their tax returns.  Individuals who could not afford coverage or met other conditions may be eligible to receive an exemption for 2014. To help consumers who did not have insurance last year determine if they qualify for an exemption, CMS also launched a health coverage tax exemption tool today on HealthCare.gov and CuidadodeSalud.gov.
Most taxpayers, about three quarters, will only need to check a box when they file their taxes to indicate that they had health coverage in 2014 through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans care or other qualified health coverage that qualifies as “minimum essential coverage.”  The remaining taxpayers - about one-quarter - will take different steps. It is expected that 10 to 20 percent of taxpayers who were uninsured for all or part of 2014 will qualify for an exemption from the requirement to have coverage. A much smaller fraction of taxpayers, an estimated 2 to 4 percent, will pay a fee because they made a choice to not obtain coverage and are not eligible for an exemption.
Americans who do not qualify for an exemption and went without health coverage in 2014 will have to pay a fee – $95 per adult or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater – when they file their taxes this year.  The fee increases to $325 per adult or 2% of income for 2015.  Individuals taking advantage of this special enrollment period will still owe a fee for the months they were uninsured and did not receive an exemption in 2014 and 2015.  This special enrollment period is designed to allow such individuals the opportunity to get covered for the remainder of the year and avoid additional fees for 2015.
The Administration is committed to providing the information and tools tax filers need to understand the new requirements. Part of this outreach effort involves coordinating efforts with nonprofit organizations and tax preparers who provide resources to consumers and offer on the ground support. If consumers have questions about their taxes, need to download forms, or want to learn more about the fee for not having insurance, they can find information and resources atwww.HealthCare.gov/Taxes or www.IRS.gov. Consumers can also call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596.  Consumers who need assistance filing their taxes can visit IRS.gov/VITA or IRS.gov/freefile.
Consumers seeking to take advantage of the special enrollment period can find out if they are eligible by visiting https://www.healthcare.gov/get-coverage. Consumers can find local help at: Localhelp.healthcare.gov or call the Federally-facilitated Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Assistance is available in 150 languages. The call is free.
For more information about Health Insurance Marketplaces, visit: www.healthcare.gov/marketplace
Questions or Concerns? Contact HHSIEA@hhs.gov.