Thursday, May 30, 2013

CLAS Standards have been enhanced.

HHS releases blueprint to advance culturally and linguistically appropriate services in health and health care

New standards will help organizations improve quality of care and reduce health disparities
Health and Human Services (HHS) today released enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care – a blueprint to help organizations improve health care quality in serving our nation’s diverse communities.
The enhanced standards, developed by the HHS Office of Minority Health, are a comprehensive update of the 2000 National CLAS Standards and include the expertise of federal and non-federal partners nationwide, to ensure an even stronger platform for health equity. The enhanced National CLAS standards are grounded in a broad definition of culture – one in which health is recognized as being influenced by factors ranging from race and ethnicity to language, spirituality, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and geography.
“We are making great strides in providing quality care and affordable coverage for every American, regardless of race or ethnicity or other cultural factors because of the Affordable Care Act,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The Enhanced National CLAS Standards will help us build on this ongoing effort to ensure that effective and equitable care is accessible to all.”
A key initiative in the department’s effort to reduce health disparities, the update marks a major milestone in the implementation of the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.
Long existing inequities in health and health care have come at a steep cost not only for minority communities, but also for our nation. As cited in a recent report from the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the burden of insufficient and inequitable care related to racial and ethnic health disparities has been estimated to top $1 trillion.
“Disparities have prevented improved outcomes in our health and health care system for far too long," said Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH. “The enhanced CLAS Standards provide a platform for all persons to reach their full health potential.”
Specifically, the enhanced CLAS Standards provide a framework to health and health care organizations for the delivery of culturally respectful and linguistically responsive care and services. By adopting the framework, health and human services professionals will be better able to meet the needs of all individuals at all points of contact.
“Many Americans struggle to achieve good health because the health care and services that are available to them do not adequately address their needs,” said J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the HHS Office of Minority Health. “As our nation becomes increasingly diverse, improving cultural and linguistic competency across public health and our health care system can be one of our most powerful levers for advancing health equity.”
The enhanced CLAS standards are being released today during a press event at Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington.  HHS officials are scheduled to be joined by representatives from the American Hospital Association, Texas Health Institute, and National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University who will emphasize the importance of integrating these standards into practice in order to improve quality of care and services for everyone.
For additional information, please visit and

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Health Care Law and You - Webinars in Asian and Pacific Islander languages

The Health Care Law and You is a presentation developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to educate community members about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. This resource has been translated by the Office of Public Engagement at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services into the following languages: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Hindi, Bengali, Hmong, Khmer, Samoan and Tongan. 
Webinars this week:

MANDARIN – Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 4pm

TONGAN – Tuesday, May 28, 2013 at 5:15pm

KOREAN  Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 4pm

TAGALOG - Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 4pm

VIETNAMESE - Friday, May 31, 2013 at 4pm

In-language resources

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Medicaid Expansion Analysis Presented to Workgroup

(Salt Lake City, UT) – A report released today during the Medicaid Expansion Options Community Workgroup meeting will provide information for Utah policy makers as they consider whether to expand the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The report, produced by Boston-based Public Consulting Group (PCG), does not make recommendations on how the state should proceed, but rather analyzes the costs and benefits associated with five potential expansion scenarios.
The PCG report found that the ACA will increase Medicaid’s overall cost to the state, and that those costs increase over time as the federal government’s Medicaid reimbursement rate shrinks.
“This report is one of many considerations I encourage the committee to take into account.  Our workgroup will undoubtedly identify additional items that will need to be thoroughly considered before providing our report to the governor,” said Utah Department of Health Executive Director David Patton.  “The bottom line is that each and every scenario comes with significant costs to the taxpayer.  But there are also benefits, both human and financial, and we must remain focused on finding the best way to deliver high-quality, affordable health care to Utahns.”
The PCG report models the costs and benefits of five different scenarios, four optional expansion scenarios in addition to the mandatory changes to Medicaid required by the ACA.  For each scenario, the report analyzes the cost of expansion due to increased enrollment and administrative costs.  It also estimates potential savings, primarily to other state and county public assistance programs whose clients would become eligible for Medicaid.  The PCG report also analyzes the savings Utah hospitals and community health centers would achieve from reducing the amount of uncompensated care they provide.  Finally, the report estimates how expanding Medicaid may impact the state’s overall economy, as well as the impact it may have on creating new jobs.
The PCG report found significant costs will come from mandatory changes to Medicaid eligibility and from increased enrollment due to the ACA’s requirement that all residents have health insurance. Some of the mandatory changes include the removal of a resource test for some eligibility groups as well as an increase in the income eligibility level for some children.  The state will bear the costs of these mandatory changes regardless of whether it chooses to expand the Medicaid program.  The PCG report estimates over the next 10 years the mandatory changes will:

• Increase Medicaid enrollment by 60,202 adults and children
• Increase Medicaid service and administration costs by $762 million (due to federal matching money, the state share of this increase will be $213 million)
• Generate an additional $20 million in state tax revenues
• Generate an additional $16 million in county tax revenues
• Generate $516 million statewide in economic impact, create 747 new jobs
The remaining four scenarios modeled in the PCG report all assume the state will expand its Medicaid program.  The PCG report estimates over the next 10 years the costs and benefits of the full expansion scenario (traditional Medicaid benefits for adults earning up to 138 percent of poverty) will be:

• 123,586 additional adults would enroll in Medicaid
• Medicaid service and administration costs will increase by $3.2 billion (due to federal matching money, the state share of this increase would be $260 million)
• State public assistance programs would save $156 million
• County public assistance programs would save $39 million
• Generate an additional $113 million in state tax revenues
• Generate an additional $90 million in county tax revenues
• Hospitals would save $814 million in uncompensated care
• Generate $2.9 billion statewide in economic impact, create 4,160 new jobs
A similar cost/benefit analysis for each of the other four expansion scenarios can be found in the full report.  The report is available at

 Media Contact:Tom HudachkoPublic Information Officer(o) 801-538-6232(m) 801-560-4649

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Medicaid Expansion Cost/Benefit Analysis to be Released

News Advisory

Report will be released during community workgroup meeting

What: The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) will release a report produced by Boston-based Public Consulting Group (PCG), which analyzes the costs and benefits associated with Utah’s potential expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Why: The report was commissioned by UDOH to provide Utah policy makers and the Medicaid Expansion Options Community Workgroup with a resource as they consider full expansion, alternatives to full expansion, or the status quo.

Who: The report will be released during the Medicaid Expansion Options  Community Workgroup meeting.

When: Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 1:30 p.m.

Where: Utah State Capitol Senate Building – Room 210

Monday, May 20, 2013

Health in 3-D: Understanding Diversity, Determinants and Disparities video

UDOH Office of Health Disparities (OHD) is pleased to announce the release of a new health video titled Health in 3-D: Understanding Diversity, Determinants and Disparities. Learn from local experts and community members as they share their expertise and their stories.

Health in 3-D is 28 minutes in length and can be easily accessed online.  You may use it for customer service or diversity training and it can be used by individuals or groups.

Below are locations where you can find the assessment tools that OHD has developed. There are 3 options to choose from:
Utilize UTrain.  Watch the video and follow step-by-step instructions at (For State of Utah Employees Only)
Participate as a Group.  Use a cool app called Socrative Quiz App on smartphones, tablets and laptops.  It provides immediate feedback to participants and tallies results for the group leader. Use this option at
Paper Quiz. Download the quiz at .  When you’re finished, go to the answer guide and see how you did. 

If you have any questions, please contact 801-273-4140 or email

Federal Call for Tribal Leaders about the Affordable Care Act

Please join representatives from the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday May 21st, 2013 @ 3:00 PM EST for a call with Tribal Leaders on the Affordable Care Act. We have included below the schedule of calls for 2013. Below you will find the call information as well as an Agenda for the call.

Conference Call #: 888-552-9182
Pass code: 1598939

·         Charles Galbraith, White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Recap of ACA Activities
Mayra Alvarez, Director of Public Health, Office of Health Reform
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service
·         Lisa Wilson, Senior Policy Advisor, Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight
·         Kitty Marx, Director, Tribal Affairs Group

Indian Health Service
·         Yvette Roubideaux, Director, Indian Health Service

Office of Personnel Management
·         Maria Bianchini, Program Analyst, Federal Employee Insurance Operations

Q & A’s
Closing and Next Call:
·         Stacey Ecoffey, Principal Advisor for Tribal Affairs, HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs

Monthly Call Schedule:
·         Tuesday June 11, 2013
·         Tuesday July 9, 2013
·         Tuesday August 13, 2013
·         Tuesday September 10, 2013
·         Tuesday October 8, 2013
·         Tuesday November 12, 2013
·         Tuesday December 10, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

New Consumer-Tested Materials Help People Understand New Tax Credits

Report: Who Qualifies for Insurance Premium Tax Credits?

New Consumer-Tested Materials Help People Understand New Tax Credits
Starting in 2014, many Americans will be eligible for significant, Affordable Care Act-mandated tax credits to help pay for their health insurance premiums. But today, consumers are largely unaware of whether they are eligible for a tax credit and how the new incentive will work. New consumer-tested materials clearly explain what Americans need to know about the new premium tax credit program, and can help raise awareness.
•    Discover what consumers need to know about premium tax credits—and how their feedback informed educational materials.
 Webinars on May 21 and May 23 will discuss how consumer testing informed a brochure that accurately conveys information about the health premium tax credits and helps consumers understand their options.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Infant Mortality Rate on the Decline for All Major Racial and Ethnic Groups

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics documents a 12 percent decline in the infant mortality rate in the U.S. from 2005 through 2011, following a plateau from 2000 through 2005. Recent Declines in Infant Mortality in the United States, 2005-2011 [PDF | 770KB] is based on information from death certificates filed in state vital statistics offices and subsequently compiled into national data and included in the National Vital Statistics System. For additional information, visit

Key findings
  • Following a plateau from 2000 through 2005, the U.S. infant mortality rate declined 12% from 2005 through 2011. Declines for neonatal and postneonatal mortality were similar.
  • From 2005 through 2011, infant mortality declined 16% for non-Hispanic black women and 12% for non-Hispanic white women.
  • Infant mortality declined for four of the five leading causes of death during the 2005–2011 period.
  • Infant mortality rates declined most rapidly among some, but not all, Southern states from 2005 through 2010. Despite these declines, states in the South still had among the highest rates in 2010. Rates were also high in 2010 in some states in the Midwest.
Infant mortality is an important indicator of the health of a nation. Changes in infant mortality rates over time are examined by age at death, maternal race and ethnicity, cause of death, and state.

The Health Care Law and You: Translated in 10 Asian and Pacific Islander Languages

Translations of The Health Care Law and You PowerPoint presentation developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to educate community members about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, are now available in 10 Asian and Asian Pacific languages! This resource has been translated by the Office of Public Engagement at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services into the following languages: Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Hindi, Bengali, Hmong, Khmer, Laotian, Samoan and Tongan. Webinars that delve deeper into these materials will take place in late May. New in-language materials and resources about the health reform law will continue to be added to the site throughout the coming months. Find in-language resources Exit Disclaimer.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pregnancy Risk Line has New Name: MotherToBaby UT

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and University of Utah collaborative program, Pregnancy Risk Line, introduce MotherToBaby UT, a name added to Pregnancy Risk Line, the statewide counseling service that connects experts in the field of birth defects research and pharmacy with health care providers and moms. 

"Our service has been providing information over the phone for nearly 30 years,” said John Carey, MD, MotherToBaby medical director and pediatrician at the University of Utah. “Most obstetric, pediatric, and family practice providers, as well as pharmacists, are aware of the service. We believe the name MotherToBaby will make it clearer that, along with pregnancy, we also answer questions about medicines and other exposures for breastfeeding moms," Carey added.
Carey explains the need for counseling, saying approximately 50% of women report taking at least one medication during pregnancy. “The average woman doesn’t find out she’s pregnant until she’s at least five or six weeks along. That means a woman could have been consuming alcohol or taking medications during that time without knowing she’s pregnant. She then finds herself deeply concerned about what it might mean for her developing baby. MotherToBaby staff can be a reassuring source for moms,” Carey added.
MotherToBaby affiliates are recommended resources by many agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are dedicated to providing evidence-based information to mothers, health care professionals, and the general public. Anyone living in North American can connect with MotherToBaby toll-free through its phone counseling service at 1 (866) 626-6847.
Find more information about MotherToBaby UT at

Utah to be First State with Dual-Model Health Insurance Exchange

Utah has come to an agreement with the US Department of Health and Human Services on how it will run its exchange – or health insurance marketplace. HHS has approved Utah’s first-of-its-kind proposal to split state and federal responsibilities. Under the agreement, Utah will continue running the state exchange known as Avenue H for small businesses. The federal government will run a separate exchange for individual consumers. 

To read entire article visit

Sunday, May 12, 2013

National Women's Health Week May 12-18, 2013

It's your time!

National Women's Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women's health and its importance.  It also empowers women to make their health a priority and encourages them to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:
  • Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkup and preventive screenings.
  • Get active.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, not wearing a seat belt or bicycle helmet, and texting while driving.
Learn more about National Women's Health Week at http: //

Friday, May 10, 2013

Webinar targeting clinicians that work with African immigrants-Project BEAT IT!

The HHS Office of Minority Health Resource Center’s National African Immigrant Project and Adventist Healthcare Center on Health Disparities are providing a webinar targeting clinicians that work with African immigrants with hepatitis B , diabetes and HIV/AIDS. The webinar Project BEAT IT! (Becoming Empowered Africans Through Improved Treatment of diabetes) will address the cultural differences between African American and African clients. Presenters will address the challenges faced by clinicians working with African clients and the culturally appropriate ways to deal with potential road blocks. 

The course is taught by a Dr. Ijeoma Otigbuo, a Nigerian/American professor of microbiology and immunology, and Mrs. Adeline Assani-Uva, a Ghanaian/American registered dietitian, both of who have several decades of expertise in their respective fields. The free online class will take place on Thursday May 30th, from 2-3 pm EST.

Title: Project BEAT IT!
Date: Thursday, May 30, 2013
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer 

Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet 

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at: