Monday, March 31, 2014

County Rankings Highlight Child Poverty and Health Disparities

The nation’s counties continue to show wide disparities in health status owing in large part to income gaps, according to the annual county health rankings from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Read the story >

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Countdown to Coverage-End of Open Enrollment

The deadline for open enrollment is March 31st at Midnight Eastern Time—or 11 pm Central Time and 10 pm Mountain Time. 

Consumers who are in line by the March 31st deadline to complete enrollment, we will make sure you get covered.  Just like Election Day, if you are in line when the polls close, you get to vote.  We won’t close the door on those who tried to get covered and were unable to do so through no fault of their own.  So, those who were in line or had technical problems with the website can quickly come back and sign up as soon as possible.

Additionally, CMS also is clarifying that under limited circumstances, people with complex cases may qualify for a special enrollment period.  These include, for example, victims of domestic abuse and consumers who were found ineligible for Medicaid, but whose accounts were not transferred to the Marketplace in a timely way before March 31

These special cases are for specific situations where a consumer was not able to successfully complete enrollment during the open enrollment period despite their efforts to do so and through no fault of their own.





Join a CMS Webinar Celebrating Minority Health Month in April

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April is Minority Health Month!

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of Minority Health invites you to attend a webinar in honor of Minority Health Month. Speakers will discuss CMS’ ongoing efforts to reduce and eliminate health disparities, and our work encouraging newly insured consumers to use preventive services and primary care.

When: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM (EDT)


Registration is required.
You will receive webinar link and call in details after you register.

We look forward to you joining us. 
Office of Minority Health, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

How Healthy is Your County? Where You Live Matters to Your Health

The County Health Rankings provide a health snapshot for nearly every county in all 50 states. See how well your county is doing on 29 factors that influence health, including smoking, high school graduation, employment, physical inactivity, access to healthy foods, and more.

Learn about key findings and how communities are using the Rankings to drive local action to improve health.

Volunteer Opportunities Available with Salt Lake County Aging Services

The Active Aging Program of Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services is recruiting volunteers who are interested in teaching and leading a variety of programs that help older adults improve their health.

Take a look at the programs that we have for volunteers just like you.

Living Well with Chronic Conditions
The Living Well with Chronic Conditions workshop is a program designed to help you manage symptoms so that you can take control of your life. In this series the participants discuss a variety of tools, including: action planning, problem solving, dealing with difficult emotions, relaxation techniques, communication ideas, healthy eating, exercise, decision making, and medication management. You can volunteer to lead these classes and support others who suffer from chronic conditions.

Living Well with Diabetes
Living Well with Diabetes is a workshop for people diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes, their care takers, family and/or friends. The workshop teaches the skills needed in the day-to-day management of treatment to maintain and/or increase life activities. If you are someone that is currently living with diabetes, have pre-diabetes or are a caregiver of someone with diabetes. You can volunteer to lead these classes and help others to manage their diabetes.

Stepping On 
The Stepping On workshop is a series of classes that are led by a health professional and a peer leader- someone who, just like you, is concerned about falls. In addition, local guest experts provide information on exercise, vision, safety and medications. By becoming a volunteer leader you will have the opportunity to share your skills and knowledge with others and help them reduce their risk of falling.

Walk with Ease
Walk with Ease is an exercise program that can reduce pain and improve your overall health. Benefits for this program include: motivation to get in shape, tips on walking safely and with comfort, improved flexibility, strength and endurance. You can volunteer to lead a Walk with Ease group where you will have the opportunity to discuss health-related topics, and guide self-paced group walks.

Contact:              Marianne Christensen
Telephone:          385.468.3087
Email:    Marianne Christensen
Address:               Salt Lake County Aging Services
Healthy Aging Program
1992 S 200 E
Salt Lake City, Utah 84115

Monday, March 24, 2014

UTA CAT (Committee on Accessible Transportation) Membership Recruiting Open House

Membership Recruiting Open House
Mon., March 31
12:30 - 2 p.m.
UTA Offices - 669 W. 200 S
Light lunch
Come learn about this valuable community advisory group!

To RSVP or request an accommodation to fully participate at this meeting,
contact Sherry Repscher at (801) 287-3536 or srepscher@rideuta.com

Local Health Department in Utah Gains Accreditation From New Independent Board

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) awarded five-year accreditation status earlier this week to nine public health departments across the country.
The national public health accrediting body is jointly funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
A total of 31 state and local public health departments have achieved the accreditation status. Those awarded March 19 included:
  • Columbus Public Health, Columbus, OH
  • Cook County Department of Public Health, Oak Forest, IL
  • Delaware General Health District, Delaware, OH
  • Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department, Minneapolis, MN
  • Loudoun Health District, Leesburg, VA
  • Marion County Health Department, Salem, OR
  • Missoula City-County Health Department, Missoula, MT
  • Oneida County Health Department, Rhinelander, WI
  • Tooele County Health Department, Tooele, UT
“Nine more health departments have demonstrated their commitment to ongoing performance management and quality improvement, and we are so pleased to confer accreditation on them to recognize those efforts,” said PHAB President and CEO Kaye Bender, PhD, RN, FAAN. “We are excited because with these accreditations, we have added five new states — Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Virginia — to the growing ranks of states with at least one nationally accredited health department.”
Sixteen states across the nation now boast at least one nationally accredited health department, including Colorado, 1; Illinois, 3; Kentucky, 3; Michigan, 1; Minnesota, 1; Missouri, 1; Montana, 1; New York, 1; North Carolina, 1; Ohio, 4; Oklahoma, 4; Oregon, 1; Utah, 1; Virginia, 1; Washington, 2; and Wisconsin, 5.
PHAB-accredited health departments range in size from small health departments serving communities of 37,000 to those serving large metropolitan areas of millions. Hundreds of health departments are currently preparing to seek national accreditation through the program, which launched in September 2011 after more than a decade in development.
The national accreditation program sets standards against which the nation’s more than 3,000 public health departments can continuously work to improve the quality of their services and performance. To receive national accreditation, a health department must undergo a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it meets or exceeds a set of public health quality standards and measures.

Warning: Opting Out Of Your Insurance Plan's Provider Network Is Risky



Many plans sold on the health insurance marketplaces offer a tradeoff: lower premiums in exchange for limited networks of providers.
Read the story >

Kaiser Health News

2014 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report released

The Alzheimer's Association 2014 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report released on March 19 reveals startling statistics on the ever-growing impact of Alzheimer's disease on our nation, including new information on growing death rates, the cost of the disease and the disproportionate burden of Alzheimer's disease on women.

  "Despite being the nation's biggest health threat, Alzheimer's disease is still largely misunderstood. Everyone with a brain – male or female, family history or not – is at risk for Alzheimer's."
– Angela Geiger, Alzheimer's Association chief strategy officer.

Unless something is done to change the course of the disease, there could be as many as 16 million Americans living with Alzheimer's in 2050, at a cost of $1.2 trillion (in current dollars).

The face of Alzheimer's is changing, affecting more of our friends and family every day.  Learn more and share the facts. Your free download of the report is available now.

2014 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures Shows Disproportionate Impact on Women. Among the other findings of the report:

•There are an estimated 5.2 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 200,000 people under age 65. By 2050, as many as 16 million people could have Alzheimer’s.

•About half of those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have not been diagnosed.

•One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. In 2014, an estimated 700,000 seniors in the United States will die with Alzheimer’s.

•In 2014, the direct costs of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will total an estimated $214 billion, including $150 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid.

•Alzheimer’s drives up the costs of other chronic conditions. For example, the average Medicare costs for seniors with diabetes and Alzheimer’s or another dementia are 81 percent higher than seniors with diabetes but no Alzheimer’s or dementia; for Medicare beneficiaries with heart disease, costs are 61 percent higher.

•In 2013, 15.5 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, a contribution to the nation valued at more than $220 billion.

•Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $9.3 billion in additional health care costs in 2013 due to the physical and emotional toll of caregiving.

Online Tools for the Uninsured

Looking for a quick way to point consumers to information on financial help and in-person assistance? As part of a broad coalition of organizations helping people sign up for coverage, we've put together ACAFinancialHelp.org. It’s an easy-to-use site featuring our Get Covered Calculator and Locator tools, plus a list of local enrollment events, so visitors can enter some basic information and then see what financial help they could qualify for and where they can get local help to get covered.
Enroll America. org

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Big Drop In Colon Cancer Fuels Push To Get More People Screened

The number of people getting colon cancer has fallen by 30 percent over the past decade in people over 50, and much of that progress is due to screening, a study finds.

But a substantial number of people in that target age group still haven't been screened, and a consortium of organizations say they're pushing to get 80 percent of those people screened at least once by 2018.

The decline in new cases of colorectal cancer is accelerating, with declines of 3 percent a year in the past decade, according to published Monday in the journal CA. That progress is a result of people having gotten screened years before — and having precancerous polyps removed before they become cancer.

The biggest improvements were in people ages 65 and over, who are also the ones most at risk of dying from colon cancer.  (Avoid a billing mistake by making sure your doctor will bill the colonoscopy as a screening test rather than a diagnostic one.)

Given the good news, public health officials are zeroing in on the 30 percent or so of people ages 50 to 75 who haven't been screened. That's about 23 million people.

Read the entire story at npr.org.

Get Ready for the 2014 County Health Rankings!

On March 26 at 12:30 p.m. ET, join us for a live webcast to celebrate the launch of the 2014 County Health Rankings.

For the first time ever, this year’s Rankings release will include a Key Findings report highlighting trends at the regional and national level. This report will offer an in-depth look at how five featured measures—children in poverty, college attendance, preventable hospital stays, smoking, and physical inactivity—are influencing health nationwide.

Researchers and leaders from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin will share these new findings on the live webcast, along with highlights of communities using the County Health Rankings to drive local change and improve health.

Join the conversation on Twitter using the #HealthRankings hashtag.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Utah lawmakers embrace autism mandate

It took three years and tortured negotiations that lasted until the final day of the Legislative session.

But early on Thursday lawmakers gave a final nod to SB57, a bill that would require some state-regulated insurers to cover autism treatment. Pending the governor’s signature Utah will join 34 other states with autism mandates.

The bill will bring relief to many families struggling to afford expensive Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy for their kids — but not all families, and not immediately.

Only large employer and individual health plans sold or renewed starting Jan. 1, 2016, are subject to the mandate. Small businesses and self-insured companies are exempt –– the exception being the state of Utah, including schools and colleges.

These plans would have to cover 600 hours of therapy annually for children between the ages of 2 and 9, with families picking up co-payments and deductibles.

But HB88 will pick up some of the slack, making Utah’s autism "lottery" permanent. Lawmakers approved the $2 million measure, which will provide ABA therapy to about 270 autistic children through a lottery run by Utah’s Medicaid program.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert called debate over the mandate philosophically interesting.

"I think we’re always reluctant about mandating anything to the private sector. This is one, because of our higher incidence of autism, that made more sense than others," he said. "For some this was a penny spent now is a dollar saved. And with autism, we’re learning the earlier intervention we can have, the better chances of being able to mainstream our young people and overcome the challenge of autism in all its different forms."

The Salt Lake Tribune

National Asian American/Pacific Islander Enrollment Week of Action Google+ Hangout - March 19 at 5pm ET

Please join the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as community leaders from across the country on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 5 PM ET for our National AAPI Enrollment Week of Action Google+ Hangout!

Approximately 1.9 million Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) are projected to benefit from new options for health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  With the open enrollment period for coverage in 2014 ending on March 31, 2014, many are still unaware of the health coverage options available to them through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

We invite you to join Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health (HHS), Meena Seshamani, Deputy Director in the Office of Health Reform, and community leaders as they answer your #ACA questions.  Please join us so you can learn more about the opportunities to improve the health of the AAPI community and find out how to #GetCovered by March 31, 2014.  The Google+ Hangout will be moderated by Gautam Raghavan from the White House Office of Public Engagement with support from the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Please submit your #ACA questions for the Google+ Hangout to the Office of Minority Health at info@minorityhealth.hhs.gov by Tuesday, March 18, 2014 and join the conversation on March 19, 2014 at 5 PM ET.

DATE:  Wednesday, March 19, 2014

TIME:  5 PM ET (2 PM PT) 

LINK: http://bit.ly/AAPIWeekofAction

From: U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health

Friday, March 14, 2014

Help Me Grow currently has a job opening for a Bilingual (English/Spanish) Child Development Care Coordinator

Help Me Grow currently has a job opening for a Bilingual (English/Spanish) Child Development Care Coordinator. We are especially looking for people who have a Bachelor’s degree in special education, early childhood education, child development, human services, social service, social work, nursing or a related field. If you know anyone who might be interested, I have attached the job description to this email, or you can just send them here: http://helpmegrowuc.org/about-us/employment-opportunities. Info about where to send their resumes and cover letters can be found in the document or on the website.

We are hoping that the person we hire will be able to start on March 31st, so we will only be taking applications for about one more week. 

5 Things to Know for March 31 Health Exchange Deadline

Americans have until March 31 to sign up for health insurance or face a penalty when they file their 2014 taxes next April.
Read the story 

Utah African American Health Summit: Health Equity for All

Minority Youth Affordable Care Act Infocards Now Available for Download

Young adults have one of the highest uninsured rates. More specifically, racial and ethnic minority populations are uninsured at a much higher rate than the overall U.S. population. While many young adults don’t believe they need health insurance, others may simply be unaware of the options available to help them obtain health care coverage. The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Minority Health (OMH) is launching a campaign to inspire young adults from communities of color to explore their health care options and to sign up for health coverage through Healthcare.gov before enrollment ends on March 31st.

The campaign, which consist of four infocards that can be shared on social media is a supplemental resource to existing HHS materials to promote coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The infocards were designed to convey relatable messages, through humor and vivid imagery of multi-ethnic and multi-racial young adults (Asian American and Pacific Islander, Native American, Latino, and African American) on the importance of health care coverage.  

OMH encourages health care stakeholders, community partners and young adults to share the infocards with their communities to help boost efforts to increase enrollment for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act by March 31st.

For more information on the ACA and the social media infocards, please contact the Office of Minority Health at 1-800-444-6472, or by e-mail at info@minorityhealth.hhs.gov. Visit the Office of Minority Health website to view and download the infocards.

Healthcare Providers: New Toolkit Can Help Make Shared Notes the Norm



Medical professionals make notes concerning a young disabled male patient.Patients with easy access to their doctors' notes feel more in control of their care and better understand their medical issues.  Now, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic, Columbia St. Mary's, the VA and many other health care institutions across the country are sharing visit notes with patients. A new OpenNotes toolkit provides step-by-step strategies to guide health systems in implementing open notes, and offers tips for both patients and clinicians on how to maximize the benefits of open notes.

Read a blog post by RWJF Chief Technology and Information Officer Steve Downs >

Window Is Closing to Sign Up or Seek Changes to Obamacare Plans

People who got off to a rough start with Obamacare or have yet to pick a plan still have options— but only if they move quickly before the open enrollment period ends on March 31st.
Read the story >

USDA Finalizes Changes to WIC Food Packages


The Department of Agriculture recently finalized a series of changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), including a 30 percent increase in benefits for purchases of fruits and vegetables for children and an expansion of whole grain options for all participants. The changes further align the WIC food package with recommendations from the Institute of Medicine and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Which is the most obese state, and which is the least? Some new winners in 2013.


Montana claimed the title of least obese state in 2013, bumping Colorado out of the top spot, while Mississippi ranked as the most obese state, pushing out West Virginia, according to a Gallup-Healthways survey that questioned 178,000 adults about their height, weight and other issues related to personal health.
In 2013, Mississippi had an obesity rate of 35.4 percent, while the rate in Montana was 19.6 percent, the poll found. Montana was the only state with an obesity rate of less than 20 percent.

Monday, March 10, 2014

New Financial Help Awareness Tool

A new site from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation --www.financialhelpforhealth.org -- gives consumers state-specific information about the financial help they might qualify for on the health insurance marketplaces. To help get the word out, the site includes web buttons, video testimonials, social media graphics, and printable fliers.
RWJF.org

As Health Care Clock Ticks, a Surge for Signups

Groups step up ads, outreach to young people and Latinos as March 31 deadline nears.


It's crunch time for Obamacare: With less than four weeks left to sign up for coverage this year through the health law's insurance marketplaces, consumer groups, insurers, hospitals and state and federal officials are ratcheting up their enrollment campaigns to deliver more people — particularly young adults.

Read the story >
Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News

Find The Role Of Health Care In Population Health

The article by Drs. Eggleston and Finkelstein includes a discussion about addressing the non-medical drivers of health, and some of the challenges to related activities.

"Eliminating persistent disparities by socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity has been the most elusive goal for the US health care system."


JAMA, Emma M. Eggleston and Jonathan A. Finkelstein, 02/26/2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

CDC Study Shows Obesity Rate Decline among Young Children


Obesity rates dropped by approximately 40 percent among children ages 2-5 years old between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012, a “significant decrease” according to researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who conducted the study. The study also found that obesity rates remained high “with no significant changes” overall for older children and adults over the same time period.  
rwjf.org

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

OHD Internship Opportunity

INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY 

Utah Department of Health, Office of Health Disparities  

Duration: April 2014 to August 30, 2015 


Hours:  Approximately 10 outreach events (4 hours each, not including travel) will 
be scheduled on an irregular basis, including evenings and weekends. 

Stipend: $10.00 per hour, with mileage reimbursement for outreach events outside 
of Salt Lake County. 

Openings: Up to four (4) candidates will be accepted. 

Description: Office of Health Disparities interns will comprise the Outreach Team 
responsible for conducting the “Bridging Communities & Clinics” program, 
which provides free health screenings, clinic referrals, and promotes 
access to primary care resources to underserved communities. 

Responsibilities: Interns are responsible for tasks including, but not limited to, providing 
blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol, and BMI screenings; providing 
counseling; disseminating health and wellness promotion information and 
referrals; setting up and taking down screening stations; following up with 
clinic referrals by telephone; and other tasks as needed. 

Requirements - Current enrollment status as a medical school student, physician 
 assistant student, or nursing student. 
- Must attend mandatory orientation and trainings. 
- Must commit to at least six (6) pre-scheduled outreach events. 

Application: Interested applicants must email responses to the following questions 
to Jake Fitisemanu, Outreach Coordinator (jjfitisemanu@utah.gov), 
along with a current resume: 
1. Current academic institution (ex. Westminster College of Nursing). 
2. Current year in training (ex. 1st year medical student). 
3. Language fluency (verbal and written, other than English). 

Contact: Inquiries should be directed to Jake Fitisemanu, Outreach Coordinator 
jjfitisemanu@utah.gov, (385) 315 0220. 

Deadline: Applicants must submit requested information before March 17, 2014
Interviews will be begin the last week of March 2014. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

ACA Enrollment Deadline is March 31st: guide in English & Spanish can help

Get Covered Guide Available in English AND Spanish

Health insurance is complicated. But our Get Covered Guidemakes it easier to understand. If you’re rusty on the difference between co-insurance and co-pays, or just trying to explain terms like these to uninsured consumers in an effective way, our Get Covered Guide is for you. And now it’s available in Spanish!

Administration plan aims to improve odds for minority boys

In strong, often personal terms, President Barack Obama called for vigorous efforts to reverse underachievement among young black and Hispanic males. He also cautioned young minority men not to repeat his own youthful mistakes in an unforgiving world.

The president kicked off his “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative from the White House East Room, appearing on stage with teenagers involved in the Becoming a Man program for at-risk boys in his hometown of Chicago.

The aim is to “start a different cycle,” Obama said. “If we help these wonderful young men become better husbands and fathers and well-educated, hardworking, good citizens, then not only will they contribute to the growth and prosperity of this country, but they will pass those lessons on to their children, on to their grandchildren.”

Read entire article here.

U.S. Expands Healthy Food Assistance to Women, Infants and Children


Some 9 million poor women and young children who receive federal food assistance under the U.S. government's so-called WIC program will have greater access to fruits, vegetables and whole grains under an overhaul of the program unveiled on Friday.
Read the story >

New Survey Findings Highlight Significant Gaps in Understanding Among Racial and Ethnic Minorities

The majority of white, non-Hispanic adults feel confident they understand key health insurance terms like ‘premium,’ ‘copayment’ and ‘deductible,’ but less than one in four Hispanics say the same, according to a new brief detailing results from the Urban Institute’s Health Reform Monitoring Survey (HRMS). The brief’s authors note that significant knowledge gaps persist even when adjustments are made to account for socioeconomic differences. The findings highlight the need for culturally appropriate education campaigns and bilingual navigators familiar with targeted communities to boost Medicaid and marketplace enrollment. The HRMS will be conducted quarterly by Urban Institute researchers, with additional funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Ford Foundation.

RWJF.org