Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Recent ACA Filing Season Products

IRS issues updates on how the Health Care Law will affect this year’s tax return

·         Affordable Care Act - What to Expect at Tax Time
·         Info Graphic - Publication 5201 - The Health Care Law and Your Taxes
·         Affordable Care Act and Taxes - At a Glance charts

Health Care Tax Tips:

Premium Tax Credit Brings Changes to Your 2014 Income Tax Returns Health Care Tax Tip 2015-03, January 22, 2015
The Health Care Law - Getting Ready to File Your Tax Return Health Care Tax Tip 2015-02, January 21, 2015
Health Care Law Brings Changes to IRS Tax Forms Health Care Tax Tip 2015-01, January 13, 2015 Interactive Tax Assistant - Affordable Care Act

Publication 5187, ACA: What’s New for Individuals and Families, which has a robust explanation practical advice for the ACA aspect of filing tax returns this year.

CDC Study Finds High Rate of Pain Medication Used by Women of Child-Bearing Age

Displaying CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published a new study looking at how often women aged 15-44 years filled a prescription for specific pain medications, called opioids.CDC researchers found that during 2008–2012, on average, 28% of women aged 15-44 years with private health insurance and 39% of women enrolled in Medicaid filled a prescription written by a healthcare provider for an opioid medication. We welcome you to visit here to read a summary of the key findings from this paper or read the article here.
opiod use
Why this is important
Taking these medications early in pregnancy can increase the risk for some birth defects (such as spina bifida) and other poor pregnancy outcomes (such as preterm birth or low birth weight). Women who use prescription opioids also have an increased risk of death from an overdose.
Women who are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, should discuss with their health care professional the risks and benefits for any medication they are taking or considering.

CDC Activities on Medication Use in Pregnancy: Treating for Two
CDC’s Treating for Two Initiative is aimed at providing better information to women and their healthcare providers about medication use during pregnancy. You can learn more about Treating for Two at
More Information
·         For more information about medications and pregnancy, visit or
·         Do you have questions about how medications you are taking may affect a pregnancy? can help you find the answers.
·         On January 9, 2015, FDA released a new Drug Safety Communication on Pain Medicine Use during Pregnancy. For more information, visit

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Whitehouse is Urging Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders to #GetCovered

WHIAAPI header
Asian American and Pacific Islander Affordable Care Act Enrollment Week of Action
On January 26-30, please join the White House, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and community partners for a week-long series of enrollment events, social media action, and educational programs to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) across the country to #GetCovered through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Get involved in-person and online as we remind the AAPI community to take control of their#AAPIhealth and #GetCovered! Below are events during the week:

Webinar: Have Health Insurance? Now What? New Resources for AAPI Communities

  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015 from 1:00-2:00 pm ET
  • Join Dr. Cara James, Director of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Minority Health; the White House Initiative on AAPIs; and the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations to discuss how the “From Coverage to Care Initiative” can help the newly insured maximize their coverage with in-language resources for AAPI communities! Register here
  • Wednesday, January 28, 2015 from 3:00-3:30 pm ET
  • U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will share a special message for AAPI communities regarding their active engagement with and support of the Affordable Care Act. Register here.
  • Thursday, January 29, 2015 from 3:00-4:00 pm ET
Also, be sure to check out new in-language resources on the Affordable Care Act in Burmese, Hmong, Khmer, and Lao!

The summer after he graduated from college, Kalwis Lo learned he had stage 3 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that attacks the lymphatic system. His private health insurance plan denied him coverage for treatment, claiming the cancer diagnosis was a “pre-existing condition.” Every major private health plan turned him away. His family was forced to dip into their savings and ask friends and family for help to cover the cost of his testing and chemotherapy treatments. His family faced financial strain until Kalwis discovered that the Affordable Care Act created a temporary program for anyone denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. He enrolled in the program and that fall, Kalwis was able to get the treatment he needed and today is cancer-free.
Kalwis’s story is one of the reasons why President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. No one should be denied health insurance coverage when they need it most.
Unfortunately, many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) still lack health insurance coverage and don’t see a doctor on a regular basis. In fact, in 2010, nearly 24% of Asian Americans and over 37% of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders reported that they had not seen a doctor in the past year. Through the Affordable Care Act, nearly 2 million uninsured AAPIs gained access to health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, and it is likely that eight in 10 will qualify for financial assistance!

So today, I encourage all Americans -- including AAPIs across the country -- who have not enrolled for health insurance to learn more, get engaged, and enroll in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace by February 15.

To encourage AAPI families to get health coverage, throughout the week of January 26-30, the White House, White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are partnering with community groups to hold enrollment events for AAPI families to learn about the Affordable Care Act and receive free, in-person, and in-language assistance to enroll in health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Partners also plan to be active on social media, using hashtag #AAPIhealth, to share information, resources, and stories of AAPIs who have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act.

For more information on the Affordable Care Act, visit or call 1-800-318-2596. Translation services are available. The call is free. And remember to enroll before February 15, 2015!

Tina Tchen is the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the First Lady. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Tools Launched to Improve Health Services for Diverse Communities

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Utah’s increasingly diverse population poses unique challenges to health care facilities and public health agencies that serve growing numbers of clients and patients. In response to a growing number of requests for assistance, the Utah Department of Health Office of Health Disparities (OHD) has developed a training video and a practical toolkit to help state and local health agencies put into practice a set of national standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS).

To ensure the materials are relevant, the CLAS video and toolkit are based on nationally promoted best practices, as well as on Utah-specific information obtained through surveys and interviews with personnel from 36 programs from state and local health departments. The results revealed a significant need for CLAS standards and policies, as only 15% of the surveyed personnel felt their programs were “fully capable” of providing verbal or written language assistance to people with limited-English proficiency (LEP).

Language assistance is only one component covered under CLAS standards, and all health care organizations can benefit from enhancing their culturally- and linguistically-appropriate approaches to staff training, governance, workforce diversity, and policy  making.

The CLAS video, “A Class about CLAS”, provides an overview of CLAS themes and features expert commentary and guidance from public health agencies, health care organizations and community-based organizations.

To provide practical guidance for anyone interested in implementing CLAS standards, the CLAS Toolkit offers discussion scenarios and highlights real examples of CLAS-related practices and policies now used across Utah. “We believe all health care organizations and public health agencies can benefit from these tools,” said UDOH Office of Health Disparities Outreach Coordinator Jake Fitisemanu, who notes that CLAS standards compliance is mandated for all programs that receive federal funds and all agencies seeking national accreditation.

The CLAS video and toolkit, along with additional CLAS-related resources, are available online for free download at

Utah Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities Collaborate for a Free Health Event

Asian American and Pacific Islander Community Health Event

Date: Friday, January 30
Time: 4:00 - 8:00 PM
Location: Sorenson Unity Center, 900 W. 1383 S. 

Description: Health navigators will be on hand to answer questions about the Affordable Care Act and to assist with applying for health insurance. Dinner will be provided as well as a movie screening for children.

Contact: Randal Serr,

BYU Study Shows Kids Eat More Veggies When They had Recess Before Lunch

A baked potato with toppings on a lunch tray at a school in Wisconsin. Students are less likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they're rushing to get to recess, researchers say.
Schools are offering more and more healthy foods for lunch. And schools that participate in the National School Lunch program require students to choose a fruit and a vegetable side. Yet plate waste is a big problem in schools.

In many schools, kids tend to eat the entrée, like pizza, first, and leave the fruits and vegetables for last. If they aren't hungry after the entrée, they won't eat the healthy foods. But "they definitely don't leave the dessert on the tray," says Joe Price, a professor of economics at Brigham Young University.

Price, along with David Just, a researcher at the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs, wanted to see if perhaps stoking kids hunger by letting them go to recess before lunch might change the equation.

A study they've just published in Preventative Medicine suggests it does. They found that students who have recess before lunch tend to eat more servings of fruits and vegetables than kids who eat lunch first.

The researchers sent assistants to seven elementary schools in Utah, to stand by the trashcans at lunchtime and tally what students ate and what they threw away. The assistants then tallied the contents of more than 22,000 lunch trays for about four days at each school in the spring of 2011 and for about nine days at the same schools in the fall (after three of the schools had changed their schedule to have recess before lunch).

They found students who ate lunch after recess consumed 54 percent more fruits and vegetables than those who ate lunch before recess. In addition, the number of students who ate at least one serving of fruits or vegetables jumped 10 percent when they ate after running around outside.

The researchers also noticed that the students who had recess first didn't seem to feel the same hurry to eat as those who had recess after lunch. "Now that you have a little more time," says Just, "you eat the entrée and think 'OK, I'm still hungry maybe I'll try this broccoli.' "

Yet both researchers acknowledge that there's a big challenge here: Not every school can send kids to recess before lunch. "Scheduling is really difficult at schools," says Just, "particularly if they're overcrowded."

Just also maintains a list of suggestions to encourage kids to eat healthier, including lunchroom makeover tactics.

But he also recommends that schools get creative to sell the healthy options, like one school near Cornell that was struggling to sell a bean burrito. "They started advertising it as the big bad bean burrito," he said, "and then they started having to make extra trays."

Friday, January 16, 2015

New From Coverage to Care Roadmaps available in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese

From Coverage to Care (C2C) is an initiative from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) designed to help people with new health coverage understand their benefits and connect to primary care and the preventive services that are right for them. A Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You is now available to download and print in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.
Office of Minority Health
The C2C Roadmap includes 8 steps that explain what health coverage is and how to use it to get needed care.

CMS acknowledges the following community partners for their assistance in reviewing these resources:
• Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations; 
• Asian Health Services; 
• Korean Community Center of the East Bay; and 
• North East Medical Services.
C2C resources in additional languages are forthcoming.

To download or print these resources in Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese, please visit

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

The theme for 2015 is “Making Health Choices to Prevention Birth Defects – Make a PACT for Prevention.”  Although not all birth defects can be prevented, steps can be taken to increase a woman’s chance of having a healthy baby.  Encourage all pregnant women and those who may become pregnant to:

Plan ahead
o   Get as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant.
o   Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
Avoid harmful substance
o   Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
o   Be careful with harmful exposures at work and home.
Choose a healthy lifestyle
o   Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, lean proteins, and healthy fats and oils.
o   Be physically active.
o   Work to get medical conditions like diabetes under control.
Talk to your doctor
o   Get a medical checkup.
o   Discuss all medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
o   Talk about family history.

You can make a difference in the lives of Utah families.  Review the materials at this link and share them with coworkers, colleagues, staff, and others who might benefit.

If you have questions or would like additional materials, please contact the Utah Birth Defect Network, Utah Department of Health at 801-883-4661 or by email to Amy Nance at

Monday, January 12, 2015

Latino #GetCovered Week of Action January 12th - 18th

Need 2015 coverage? There’s still time to act – visit today & sign up for coverage starting in February.

¿Necesitas cobertura del 2015? Todavía hay tiempo para actuar. Visita hoy e inscríbete en un plan de cobertura que comienza en febrero. #Asegúrate
Check out this video!
Getting covered is more than a precaution; it’s the right thing to do.” – Rusk of #TX

Fue un «gran momento» para Alicia #Asegúrate. Ahora recibe la atención que necesita para estar saludable.

Deadline alert: Apply today

3 days left ticker - Jan 15

Applying is now easier than ever.

For health coverage starting on February 1, you must enroll by January 15.Submitting your application is easier than ever. You can even do it on your mobile device.
get started-red

Don’t miss out on savings. 87% of people who signed up for health insurance during the first month of open enrollment qualified for financial help. So if you haven't submitted your application for coverage, now's the time to take the next step.
Join the millions who are getting covered!
The Team

Friday, January 9, 2015

Providers can help Patients get a Healthy Start in 2015 with Annual Wellness Visits and the Initial Preventative Physical Examination

The Medicare Annual Wellness Visit
Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare beneficiaries now receive coverage for an Annual Wellness Visit (AWV), which is a yearly office visit that focuses on preventive health. During the AWV, you will review a patient’s history and risk factors for diseases, ensure that the patient’s medication list is up to date, and provide personalized health advice and counseling. The AWV also allows you to establish or update a written personalized prevention plan. This benefit will provide an ongoing focus on prevention that can be adapted as a beneficiary’s health needs change over time. Help keep your patients as healthy as possible in 2015 by encouraging them to schedule their AWV.

For Patients Newly Enrolled In Medicare
Medicare also provides coverage for the Initial Preventive Physical Examination (IPPE), commonly known as the "Welcome to Medicare" Preventive Visit, a one-time service to newly-enrolled beneficiaries. The IPPE is an introduction to Medicare and covered benefits, with a focus on health promotion and disease detection. The IPPE must be performed within the first 12 months after the beneficiary’s effective date of their Medicare Part B coverage. Help ensure that your newly enrolled Medicare patients get a good start in 2015 by encouraging them to schedule their one-time IPPE. Note: Medicare patients do not need to have this visit to be covered for the AWV.
Important Note: Medicare provides coverage of the AWV and the IPPE as Medicare Part B benefits. The beneficiary will pay nothing for the AWV and the IPPE (there is no coinsurance, copayment or Medicare Part B deductible for these benefits).

For More Information

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Health insurance options for farmworker families (In Spanish)

Health insurance options for farmworker families (In Spanish)
Please join the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for a workshop (in Spanish) on the benefits available to farmworker families under the Affordable Care Act and how to obtain insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace during open enrollment, which ends on February 15.

When:  January 8, 2015 at 3pm ET

Please join 5 minutes early (No registration is required)

Audio- conference line: 1-877-267-1577
Meeting number: 998 760 385
Meeting ID: 
Not required- Press #
For questions, please contact


Seguros de salud para los trabajadores agrícolas y sus familias (en Español)
Los Centros de Servicios de Medicare y Medicaid (CMS) los invita a un seminario en línea (en Español) sobre los beneficios disponibles para los trabajadores agrícolas y sus familias bajo la ley del cuidado de salud.  El seminario explicará cómo obtener un seguro médico en el Mercado de Seguros Médicos durante el período de inscripción abierta que termina el 15 de febrero.

Cuando:         8 de enero del 2015; a las 3pm hora del este

Por favor únanse cinco minutos antes del comienzo (no necesita registrarse)

Número de teléfono: 1-877-267-1577
Numero de conferencia: 998 760 385
no es necesario - oprima #
¿Preguntas? Contacte a   

Funding Opportunity to Address Cancer in Utah

The Utah Cancer Control Program is pleased to release a new "Request for Grant Applications" (RGA). Organizations may submit applications to receive from $15,000 to $20,000 for projects fitting the "Scope of Work" in the RGA.

The UCCP anticipates funding three to six awards. Applications must be submitted by February 20, 2015 at 5:00 pm MST.

Funding is available in the following areas:
-Physical Activity and Nutrition
-Skin Cancer Prevention
-Increasing Cancer Screening Rates among Employees at Worksites and Health System Coordination
-Cancer Survivorship Patient Navigation

Please note: The correct application is dated January 5, 2015. Any applications not dated January 5, 2015 should not be used to apply for funding. 

If you have any questions, please direct them to Brad Belnap

Are you helping people enroll in health insurance? Here are some resources that can help.

Many consumers have new health insurance coverage, we encourage you to repost, share, link or print the following tip sheets on
Fact sheets on that may come in handy when talking with consumers or patients: 
  1. What to know about seeing your doctor – (Sept 2014)
  2. What to know about getting your prescription medications - (Sept 2014)
  3.  Appealing your insurers' decision not to pay - (Nov 2014)
  4. I signed up, but don't have health coverage. What should I do? - (Sept 2014)
  5. Getting emergency care - (Aug 2014)
  6. What you should know about early renewal of health coverage - (Nov 2014)
  7. What you should know about provider networks - (Sept 2014)
  8. Can’t afford health coverage?  (April 2014)
  9. 10 things providers need to know  (Sept 2014)
  10. 10 things to tell your patients  (Sept 2014)
A list of all plans and their customer service numbers can be found in thisdata base.

In addition, please note that we have updated  to include new information as consumers begin to prepare for the tax season.  That information can be found at  . 

Please direct any questions to