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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

Become a Champion for Coverage

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Today, October 1, 2013,  is the first day of open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace. For 2014, the Open Enrollment Period is October 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014.  Uninsured citizens not enrolled by the end of March 2014 have to pay a fee and pay for all of their care. Coverage starts as early as January 1, 2014.  For 2015 and later years, the open enrollment period is October 15 to December 7 of the previous year.

In New England, some states participate in the federally facilitated marketplace, and others have state marketplaces. The Health Insurance Marketplace helps the public learn how to get insurance in each state. Maine and New Hampshire will use the site to enroll, compare coverage and apply for plans. New England states with their own marketplaces include:

Become a Champion for Coverage.

Libraries have the opportunity to become a Champion for Coverage.   Many libraries have already volunteered to be a Champion for Coverage.  There are many ways your organization can be a Champion for Coverage.  These include:

1) Send your patrons to the official consumer sources to learn about the Marketplace and get coverage ( and, 24/7 Consumer Call Center (800) 318-2596)

2) Send an email to your patrons regarding the Marketplace.

3) Post the and/or widget on your website.

4) Hang posters and/or give our factsheets and brochures about the Marketplace. (Libraries can order print materials at:

5) Host a conference call, webinar, or another education event about the Marketplace.

6) Include a story about the Marketplace in your organizational newsletter or other publication.

7) Record and send out a public service announcement about the Marketplace.

8) Have your staff/members learn about the Marketplace in educational sessions.

9) Connect with your partners/members/customers through official Marketplace social media channels to share their stories. (;; @HealthCareGov; @CuidadoDeSalud)

10) Provide space for enrollment sessions or fairs (ideally, with computers so people can check out the Marketplace online).

To be publicly recognized as a Champion for Coverage, complete this online form:


ACA Resources on UCONN Healthnet Subject Guide

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

[Announcement from UCONN Healthnet]

Looking for some quick links to Affordable Care Act information?

The long anticipated Affordable Care Act will soon be a reality. Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins October 1. Coverage may begin as soon as January 1, 2014.

Here’s a quick way to find information….
A new section of the UCONN Health Center Library’s Subject Guide, “Navigating the Health Care System,” has links to Affordable Care Act resources all in one place.

Click on the “Affordable Care Act” tab to see links to …
the federal government’s official website for health consumers, including a link to the Spanish language version, and the 24/7 toll-free phone number.

  • Access Health CT, the State of Connecticut’s new “Official Health Insurance Marketplace”
  • A chart describing the provisions of the new Health Care Law, in plain language, on the website of the Connecticut Office of the Health Care Advocate
  • A one-page overview of the new Affordable Care Act from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

These links will provide you with basic information….all in one online location.

Role of Librarians and the ACA

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

[Forwarded from NLM]

WebJunction’s web site has been updated to reflect a question related to the role of libraries and librarians and the Affordable Care Act:

“How can I explain the role of libraries in supporting the ACA to people who wonder how libraries are involved and what our role is?

Libraries have a long history of helping people access health information. A recent study supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that, in one year, 28 million people used a library computer to get health information.

We know that people will continue to go the library for health information and, as the Affordable Care Act is implemented, we can expect that many people will turn to the library for help. Librarians are experts at helping people find web sites and information they are looking for. Library workers can help people find CMS Navigators and certified application counselors in their area who have special training to help people make decisions about health insurance enrollment through the Marketplace.

Public libraries are located in nearly every community in the United States and are recognized as a valuable community resource, offering public meeting spaces, computers, and allowing for quiet conversations—making them a natural location for trained counselors to provide outreach and education efforts.”

Summary: CDC Health Litearcy Agenda Webinar

Monday, September 16th, 2013

By Anne Conner, NN/LM NER Healty Literacy COI Leader; Director, Gale Medical Library, Littleton, NH

Cynthia Baur’s CDC’s Health Literacy Agenda CE webinar on September 11, 2013 was extremely informative.  Cynthia is the Senior Advisor for Health Literacy at the CDC’s Office of the Associate Director for Communication (OADC).  She started off by giving the CDC’s three health literacy goals, which are based on the National Action Plan to improve health literacy goals which came about with the Federal Plain Writing Act of 2010.  What is the CDC doing to promote a clear communication culture across the organization?  Cynthia included a slide detailing their 7-step process in a graphical format.  These steps may be applied in our own organizations.

I really liked The CDC Clear Communication Index, which is a research-based tool to plan and assess public communication materials.  The Index provides a numerical score on a scale of 100, with four (4) questions and twenty (20) items which the research shows are the most important characteristics to enhance clarity and aid people’s understanding.  It’s available through

This tool represents an evolution from several plain language guides produced by the CDC. In addition, there’s a companion guide which details how to use the Index.  I urge you to check it out. I really like the fact that this Index provides an unbiased score, and rates materials in seven areas: main message and call to action, language, information design, state of the science, behavioral recommendations, numbers, and risk. A score of 90 or above indicates that the finished product addresses most items that make materials easier to understand and use; if the score is 89 or below, the material needs revision.  The User Guide gives descriptions and examples for ways to improve the material.

The other important topic Cynthia discussed the potential role for libraries collaborating on clear communication projects with public health agencies. Partnering with local health agencies ties in well with the National Action Plan To Improve Health Literacy’s Goal 4 (, which is to “Support and Expand Local Efforts To Provide Adult Education, English Language Instruction, and Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Health Information Services in the Community”.  It’s not possible for the CDC to understand the needs of all audiences… everywhere.  We have an opportunity to form relationships with our local health departments, identifying information gaps and audiences not being reached.  In addition, we can review materials for clear communication using the Index.

If you want to view the webinar, point your browser to   I highly recommend this webinar if you are interested in furthering clear communication in your institutions or through public health partnerships in your areas.

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