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Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category

November is National Native American Heritage Month

Friday, November 14th, 2014

During November, the nation collectively recognizes the achievements, contributions and rich culture of the Native Americans.

History Native American Heritage Month was first recognized in 1915 with the annual meeting of the Congress of the American Indian Association, building upon previous work of Dr. Arthur C. Parker. Despite this proclamation, various states began organizing days of commemoration at different times of the year. It wasn’t until 1990 that a joint resolution from the White House was issued, designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Learn more about the history of Native American Heritage Month from the Library of Congress.

Health Concerns American Indians and Alaska Natives have a unique relationship with the federal government. Tribes exist as sovereign entities, but federally recognized tribes are entitled to health and educational services provided by the federal government. Though the Indian Health Service (IHS) is charged with serving the health needs of these populations, more than half of American Indians and Alaska Natives do not permanently reside on a reservation, and therefore have limited or no access to IHS services. Though often referred to as a singular group, American Indians and Alaska Natives represent diverse cultures, languages and customs unique to each community. Health challenges, however, have not been as unique with many Native American communities similarly experiencing the harsh impact of diabetes, HIV/AIDS, heart disease, stroke and infant mortality.

Profile: American Indian and Alaska Native Health Statistics by Disease Leading Causes of Death Other Critical Health Issues Find Journals and Publications Affordable Care Act and Native Americans The Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care law, was created to expand access to coverage, control health care costs, and improve health care quality and coordination. The ACA also includes permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act , which extends the current law and authorizes new programs and services within the Indian Health Service.

More about the Affordable Care Act and Native Americans Fact sheet: The ACA and American Indian and Alaska Native People

Our Work Delivery of health services and funding of programs to maintain and improve the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives are consonant with the federal government’s historical and unique legal relationship with Indian Tribes. In recognition of this, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) supports research on improving the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives. American Indian and Alaska Native Health Research Advisory Council (HRAC) American Indian/Alaska Native Health Disparities Program Grantees All grants and cooperative agreements American Indian/Alaska Native Tribal Initiative Awards (TIHA) Native Generations , an infant mortality awareness campaign Circle of Life , a multimedia HIV/AIDS/STI curriculum for Native youth National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services

Ways to Commemorate Native American Heritage Month

Educate yourself! Read up on the history of the Native people of the Americas and the creation of Native American History Month.

Raise awareness! Organize a community event to raise awareness about the health disparities that exist among Native American communities.

Get covered! Learn more about affordable health care options now available to you and your family and spread the word.

Share your story! How are you celebrating Native American Heritage Month? What’s happening in your organization or community? Share your story or tweet with us throughout the month.

From the Office of Minority Health

New Interactive Tool Identify Underserved Patient Care Areas

Friday, November 14th, 2014

The American Medical Association (AMA) has announced a resource to help healthcare providers improve patient access to care. The Health Workforce Mapper is an interactive tool that illustrates the geographic locations of the health care work force in each state, including health professional shortage areas, hospital locations, and other related workforce trends.

The tool is designed to highlight areas where the number of health care professionals could be expanded to enhance patient access to timely, quality care close to home. It can also assist policy makers to make evidence-based decisions. Non-members of the AMA can view a version of the tool: http://bit.ly/1udJooM.

Health Insurance Marketplace Offers Tool to Help Consumers Review Their Plan Options for 2015

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Beginning this week, consumers can visit HealthCare.gov to review detailed information about each health insurance plan offered in their area before applying ahead of open enrollment, which starts November 15, according to an announcement made today by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.  With more issuers offering coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace this year, the majority of consumers will find more affordable options for themselves and their families. By answering a few simple questions, such as location and family size, consumers will be able to compare plans and get an estimate on how much financial assistance they may qualify for when shopping for coverage, without needing to submit an application.

“Consumers can prepare for open enrollment by visiting HealthCare.gov and using the window shopping feature to see what plans will be available in their area,” said Administrator Tavenner. “Using this tool, consumers can compare plans, covered benefits, and physician and hospital networks before the Marketplace annual open enrollment period starts on November 15. New features will give consumers a comprehensive picture of the plans in their area so they can choose the one that’s right for them.”

CMS is working to improve the consumer experience by making the shopping experience easier. Last year, a consumer had to answer nine questions before being able to view their plan options, this year a consumer can start looking at plans after entering just their zip code. Consumers can answer a few simple questions relevant to them to get an estimate on how much financial assistance they may qualify for when shopping for coverage. The window shopping tool has also been optimized for access through a smart phone or tablet. Consumers can also review their options at a more convenient time by emailing or sharing a link to a plan’s information. Premium estimates are more accurate due to more robust data in HealthCare.gov, such as rates adjusted for tobacco use, which are being included in the estimates provided by the tool.

Window shopping remains the single most popular section on HealthCare.gov and regularly has three times the amount of traffic than any other page on the Marketplace website. CMS has improved the scalability and performance of the tool for high volumes of traffic. Additionally, the site has gone through usability and mobile testing that has been key in improving the website’s features.

Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins Nov. 15, 2014, and runs through Feb. 15, 2015. Consumers should visit HealthCare.gov to review and compare health plan options and find out if they are eligible for financial assistance, which can help pay monthly premiums and reduce out-of-pocket costs when receiving services. All consumers shopping for health insurance coverage for 2015— even those who currently have coverage through the Marketplace — should enroll or re-enroll between November 15 and December 15 in order to have coverage effective on Jan. 1, 2015.

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. Translation services are available. The call is free.

To preview plans in your area this week, visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans/

For more information about Health Insurance Marketplaces, visit: www.healthcare.gov/marketplace

PA Forward: Libraries Create Healthier Pennsylvania Communities (Lunch with the RML session)

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Presenter:  Kathy Silks, Project Manager, PA Forward | Pennsylvania Libraries / Pennsylvania Library Association

Date / Time:  Thursday, November 20, 2014 / Noon – 1 pm (ET)

Wherehttps://webmeeting.nih.gov/lunch2/

Online / No Registration Required

Summary:     This webinar will introduce PA Forward | Pennsylvania Libraries, an action plan designed to communicate libraries’ essential role in preparing citizens to meet the demands of life.  Libraries can help solve some of our society’s biggest economic and social challenges, and that includes the health of our citizens.  Research shows that nothing – not age, income, employment status, education level, or racial and ethnic background – affects health status more than literacy skills.  Through print and online resources, public programs, community outreach services, and on-staff information experts, libraries help people learn healthy habits, make healthier decisions, and actively manage their own and their family’s well-being.

We will share information about PA Forward’s focus on health literacy and four other essential literacies, its partnerships with eight statewide healthcare organizations, and the high-tech and high-touch ways libraries link citizens of all ages to the most reliable information available to help them prevent disease and manage their health.

Helpful Ebola Information

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

For Science Educators: Environmental Health Student Resources

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) provides online environmental health student resources for students in grades 1-12.  The following resources are free and have been vetted by science professionals.  The resources can be used by science educators in their classrooms, in after-school programs, in home-school programs, and by students for their academic research assignments.

  • Environmental Health Student Portal (Grades 6-8):  Provides middle school students and educators with information on common environmental health topics such as water pollution, climate change, air pollution, and chemicals.
  • Toxicology Tutorials (Grades 9-12+):  Teach basic toxicology principles; written at the introductory college student level.
  • Household Products Database (Grades 6-12+):  Learn about the potential health effects of chemicals in common household products ranging from personal hygiene products to landscape care products.
  • ToxTown (Grades 6-12+):  Interactive guide to commonly encountered toxic substances. Includes classroom materials. Also available in Spanish.
  • TOXMAP (Grades 9-12+):  Uses maps of the United States to visually explore Superfund and Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) sites and data from the EPA. Includes classroom materials.
  • Native Voices Exhibition Lesson Plans & Activities (Grades 6-12):  Familiarize students with Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian healthcare by using the NLM Native Voices exhibition Web site content materials.
  • ToxMystery (Grades 1-5):  Teaches elementary school students about toxic substances in the home. Game format; includes lesson plans and activities. Also available in Spanish.

Hospital Emergency Preparedness and Response during Superstorm Sandy

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

This 43-page document is a report from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General, which found that 89% of hospitals in Superstorm Sandy-related declared disaster areas experienced “substantial challenges” responding to the storm, which affected Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York in October 2012.

Specifically, the 174 Medicare-certified hospitals in these three states that were examined for this report, stated that they struggled with interrelated infrastructure and resource sharing problems in the storm’s aftermath:  http://go.usa.gov/7pGA

NIH News in Health

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Steps Toward a Healthier Life

Diabetes raises your risk for heart disease, blindness, amputations, and other serious issues. But the most common type of diabetes, called type 2 diabetes, can be prevented or delayed if you know what steps to take.

Parkinson’s Disease
Understanding a Complicated Condition

Parkinson’s disease can rob a person of the ability to do everyday tasks that many of us take for granted. There’s no cure, but treatment can help.

Click here to download a PDF version for printing.

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Please pass the word on to your colleagues about NIH News in Health. We are happy to send a limited number of print copies free of charge for display in offices, libraries or clinics. Just email us or call 301-402-7337 for more information.

Free Ebola PPE Training

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Next week is the New Jersey State Conference on EMS in Atlantic City, NJ.

During the pre-conference, they are offering a free Ebola Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Training Course:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 

This two-hour course is intended to train emergency medical services personnel in the proper utilization of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when responding to suspect cases of Ebola.  This session will be offered twice at the times below (choose one to attend):

  • Session 1 / 1:30 – 3:30 pm
  • Session 2 / 3:30 – 5:30 pm

NOTE that there is a 50 person limit for each session.  The training is free; however, you must be pre-registered for the training to be admitted. 

Register:  CLICK HERE

For more information, download the complete Conference brochure: www.NJEMSConference.com

NLM’s Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN) Rebranded as HealthReach

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

The National Library of Medicine’s Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN) resource was a national collaborative partnership with the principal focus of creating and making available a database of quality multilingual/multicultural, public health resources to professionals providing care to resettled refugees and asylees. In October 2014, NLM’s Specialized Information Services (SIS) broadened the scope of RHIN by rebranding it HealthReach.

This was done to better meet the needs of the diverse non-English and English as a second language speaking audiences. HealthReach continues to recognize the importance of providing refugee and asylee specific information while expanding the information provided to meet the needs of most immigrant populations. Over the next several months new resources will be added to the website. There is also a new Twitter feed, @NLM_HealthReach. There isn’t much change between the old RHIN and the new HealthReach; this was intentional to help with the continuity of service through the transition.