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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

Home Health Agency Ratings Get Medicare’s Star Treatment

Friday, November 27th, 2015

The federal government released on Thursday a new five-star rating system for home health agencies, hoping to bring clarity to a fast-growing but fragmented corner of the medical industry where it’s often difficult to distinguish good from bad.

Medicare applied the new quality measure to more than 9,000 agencies based on how quickly visits began and how often patients improved while under their care. Nearly half received average scores, with the government sparingly doling out top and bottom ratings. Read more about the ratings and rating system:

5 Facts About Deductibles from

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Factoring in out-of-pocket costs has always been part of buying health insurance, but for the first time now there are a lot of resources to help you better understand your choices at HealthCare. gov. These include new features that allow you to see your total estimated out-of-pocket costs, to search health plans by your preferred provider and to see if your prescription drugs are covered. Read more about how to calculate and prepare for out-of-pocket costs when making your health insurance decisions:

Federal Plain Language Report Card

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Each year, the Center for Plain Language evaluates how well federal agencies comply with the Plain Writing Act of 2010. In 2015 the Center graded each department in two categories:

  • Compliance – Does the Department fulfill the administrative requirements of the Plain Writing Act of 2010?
  • Writing & Information Design – Do writing samples consistently demonstrate plain writing principles (for example, clear style and organization and effective visual elements) to make documents easier to read and understand?

To see the full report card, please visit:

Reported Cases of Sexually Transmitted Diseases on the Rise, Some at Alarming Rate

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

From the Centers for Disease Control:

“Reported cases of three nationally notifiable STDs – chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis – have increased for the first time since 2006, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the 2014 STD Surveillance Report.

The approximately 1.4 million reported cases of chlamydia, a rate of 456.1 cases per 100,000 population, is up 2.8 percent since 2013. Rates of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis – the most infectious stages of syphilis –and gonorrhea have both increased since 2013, by 15.1 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively. In 2014, there were 350,062 reported cases of gonorrhea (a rate of 110.7 per 100,000) and 19,999 reported cases of P&S syphilis (for a rate of 6.3 per 100,000).”

For information on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of STDs, visit MedlinePlus: Become, and Remain, a Nonsmoker

Friday, November 20th, 2015 is intended to help you or someone you care about quit smoking. The website was created by the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute. Different people need different resources as they try to quit smoking cigarettes. The information and professional assistance available on this website can help to support both your immediate and long-term needs as you become, and remain, a non-smoker. allows you to choose the help that best fits your needs. Sign up for text messages, download an app, or browse information to help you or someone you care about quit smoking.

Everyday Words for Public Health Communication from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Everyday Words for Public Health Communication offers expert recommendations from CDC’s Health Literacy Council and other agency communicators on how to reduce jargon and replace problematic terms to improve comprehension.

This document provides substitute terms, examples of difficult public health content, revised wording and tips to reinforce meaning and avoid other common pitfall

Public Health Project Planning

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

University of Washington School of Public Health/Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) offers a new free online course: Project Planning. Students and new professionals will learn project management fundamentals, while experienced planners can brush up on crucial skills. Learn more:

Health Product Scams

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

If you buy imported products marketed as “dietary supplements” and nonprescription drug products from ethnic or international stores, flea markets, swap meets or online, watch out. Health fraud scams abound. According to Cariny Nunez, M.P.H., a public health advisory in the Office of Minority Health at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), health scammers often target advertising to people who prefer to shop at nontraditional places, especially those who have limited English proficiency and limited access to health care services and information. “These scammers know that ethnic groups who may not speak or read English well, or who hold certain cultural beliefs, can be easy targets,” Nunez says.  The FDA website offer guidance as well as how to report adverse reactions when using products 

Tick Bites: Resources for Disease Prevention

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Although small, ticks can cause serious conditions such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

MedlinePlus and the Centers for Disease Control have resources for consumers and health care providers on avoiding and recognizing tick-borne illnesses.

It’s Open Season on Ticks (CDC):

Tick Bites (MedlinePlus):

Ticks (CDC):

New Know Hepatitis B Poster – No Warning Signs

Monday, November 9th, 2015

From the Centers for Disease Control:

“A new resource has been added to the suite of multi-lingual Know More Hepatitis B campaign.  This 24×36 poster emphasizes that Hepatitis B often doesn’t cause symptoms and encourages Asian Americans to get tested, as an early diagnosis is the best way to prevent serious liver problems.  Available as a downloadable image in English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean.”

Download this and campaign materials: