Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category
NN/LM PSR Consumer Health & Technology Coordinator Kelli Ham attended an event hosted by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) on October 15, 2013, for stakeholders involved with the Affordable Care Act. The four-hour session was titled A New Era of Coverage: Maximizing Participation in the ACA and was held at the California Endowment in Los Angeles. Attendees included county agencies, certified enrollment counselors, outreach and education grantee organizations, health plans, and insurance companies.
The session was well worth attending! I was able to hear first-hand about ‘boots on the ground’ efforts to educate California residents about the new health insurance law and to help them sign up for accounts, learn about their options, and enroll in a health insurance plan. In addition, we all participated in a group activity in the afternoon which was a very productive exercise; groups responded to questions and brainstormed ideas for outreach to “hard-to-reach” communities, such as immigrants, limited-English proficient, homeless/re-entry populations, and low wage/part-time workers. Groups discussed the barriers and strategies for reaching the population and enrolling them in health coverage. Potential partner organizations and agencies were also identified.
The results of this activity were enlightening; while each group suggested standard approaches, many ideas were proposed that would work well for outreach from the NN/LM standpoint. For instance, our group chose ‘Young Immigrants’ as our target population. Some of the barriers identified for this group were the distrust of government agencies, immigration status and fear of deportation, lack of perceived need for health insurance (young invincibles), and language difficulties. Strategies for reaching this population included the use of social media, mobile apps, tables at street fairs, outreach at clubs, ads on public transportation (bus, Metro), adult schools, and ESL classes. Word of mouth is also powerful, so recruiting young people from this group is another strategy. Possible partnering organizations would be non-profits that deal with undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children, other legal organizations, local clinics, and Planned Parenthood, to name a few.
Since the Covered California website had only been up and running for a few weeks, few statistics were available. According to one of the presenters, the website had over 987,000 unique visits during the first week. Combining telephone contacts and the web site, there were over 43,000 applications and over 16,000 household applications were completed. More statistics will be released in the near future.
Anyone who is interested in attending local workshops or presentations can see announcements on the Covered California Twitter feed, @coveredca, or view news and upcoming events at the Covered California News Center page. Libraries might be interested in hosting a program with outreach and education counselors; the best way to find local grantee organizations is to download the updated PDF file Outreach and Education Grant Program Award Recipients, dated August 20, 2013. Also, library patrons might be interested in applying by phone rather than the website. According to Covered California, it takes less than an hour to enroll in a Covered California health plan by phone. Service centers are open weekdays 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. – 6 p.m, available at 800-300-1506.
WebJunction recently updated its website to help library staff connect patrons to available resources and community experts that can provide assistance:
- The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has soft launched LocalHelp.healthcare.gov, where individuals or organizations can enter their geographic location to identify local ACA consumer assistance destinations in their area. Local consumer assisters, including Navigators, Certified Application counselors, etc., can provide personal help in applying for healthcare coverage through the ACA. This resource is also available in Spanish. CMS has also made English and Spanish widgets available for those that may be interested in hosting this resource as a widget on their website.
- Please be advised that, according to CMS, many consumer assistance organizations are still completing the training and certification process. The database will be regularly updated to add new locations as they become available, so check back frequently. Please also note that states operating independent health insurance marketplaces may have more details about customer support networks at their state’s individual marketplace site. Unsure what type of marketplace is operating in your state? Visit the Get State Information page on HealthCare.gov to determine your state’s approach and access the most relevant source for local marketplace information.
Printed Publications and Forms
- If your state is participating in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has an online ordering system for print materials. Libraries are welcome to request these print materials from CMS, however, it is important to note that quantities are limited and stock is constantly changing. You will need to create an account to be able to view and order materials. Once you have an account, search on the keyword “marketplace” to see the available publications.
- In the near future, CMS expects to add an option to order and/or download print versions of the Federal Application form (not available until open enrollment begins on October 1). While print forms will be an option, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online because they will see real-time eligibility and available health insurance options.
The National Library of Medicine has announced the completion of its third collaborative digitization project with Gale/Cengage Learning’s Archives Unbound service. Narcotic Addiction and Mental Health: The Clinical Papers of Lawrence Kolb Sr., a searchable online collection of 15,000 images drawn from the personal and professional papers of a pioneer in the medical approach to narcotics addiction treatment, and in public health research and treatment of mental illness, is now freely available within the NLM’s History of Medicine reading room and via local libraries with subscriptions to Archives Unbound.
The National Library of Medicine’s previous collaborations with Archives Unbound, completed in 2012, include AIDS Crisis: Records of the National Commission on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, 1983–1994 and Development of Environmental Health Policy: Pope A. Lawrence Papers 1924–1983. The newly-digitized Kolb collection deals chiefly with the subjects of drug addiction, alcoholism, juvenile delinquency, and mental health. Although parts of the collection were not digitized due to the patient privacy, privacy of Kolb’s coworkers, and copyright concerns around specific documents, the entire collection is available to researchers at the National Library of Medicine. The complete finding aid for the Kolb papers is available free from the National Library of Medicine, and researchers are cordially invited to visit the Library to consult the collection directly.
Dr. Lawrence Kolb was born in Galesville, Maryland, on February 20, 1881, and graduated from the University of Maryland medical school in 1908. The next year he was commissioned an Assistant Surgeon in the Public Health Service. From 1913 to 1919, he was stationed at the Ellis Island, New York Immigration Station, specializing in the mental disease and illness of incoming immigrants. During this same period, he also developed a program for the study and treatment of post-World War I patients suffering from war-caused neuroses. In 1923, Dr. Kolb came to Washington, D.C. and spent five years studying drug addiction and its relationship to crime. He was one of the first to advocate treating drug addicts as patients, not criminals. By 1934, Dr. Kolb was an international expert in the study of psychiatry and narcotics, and was appointed head of the Public Health Service Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky to lead the U.S. government’s first experimental unit for treating drug addicts. His final duty station was as Chief of the Public Health Service Mental Hygiene Division from 1938–1944. He was promoted to Assistant Surgeon General in 1942. His work there, along with that of Dr. Thomas Parran, led to the creation of the National Institute for Mental Health in 1946.
The National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) is offering a new online opportunity to learn more about NLM’s environmental health resources. Join the NTC from October 21 – November 5, 2013, for Module 1 of the online class, Discovering TOXNET: From Paracelsus to Nanotechnology. TOXNET is a web-based system of databases covering hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases. Module 1 covers three TOXNET databases; ChemIDPlus, LactMed, and TOXLINE, as well as three emergency response tools; CHEMM, REMM, and WISER. Module 2 will cover the risk assessment databases and will be offered at a later date. You will learn about the resources through videos, guided tutorials, discovery exercises, and solving real-life reference questions. Classes are designed for health sciences librarians and health sciences professionals interested in unlocking the available information in these resources!
The class will involve three hours of work on your own time, followed by a one-hour synchronous session using Adobe Connect. Participants who complete all class requirements are eligible for 4 MLA Continuing Education credits. The asynchronous work on your own (allow 3 hours) will be conducted from October 21 – 31, 2013, followed by the synchronous Adobe Connect session on November 5, 2013, at 10:00 AM PST. Enrollment is limited, so register soon! For questions, contact email@example.com.
The National Library of Medicine has launched a traveling banner exhibition and online adaptation of Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture, an exploration of the rise of AIDS in the early 1980′s and the evolving response to the epidemic over the last 30 years. In 1981, a new disease appeared in the United States. Reactions to the disease, soon named AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), varied. The exhibition illustrates an iconic history of AIDS alongside lesser-known examples of historical figures who changed the course of the pandemic. Utilizing a variety of historic photographs, pamphlets, and publications, Surviving and Thriving is divided into five historical investigations, each of which highlights how different groups responded to AIDS. Early responders cared for the sick, fought homophobia, and promoted new practices to keep people healthy. Scientists and public health officials struggled to understand the disease and how it spread. Politicians remained largely silent until the epidemic became too big to ignore. Activists demanded that people with AIDS be part of the solution. Early stops for the traveling banner exhibition include the University of California, San Francisco, CA, during November 25, 2013, to January 4, 2014.
The title Surviving and Thriving comes from a book written in 1987 by and for people with AIDS that insisted people could live with AIDS, not just die from it. Jennifer Brier, PhD (University of Illinois at Chicago), the exhibition’s curator, explains that, “centering the experience of people with AIDS in the exhibition allows us to see how critical they were, and continue to be, in the political and medical fight against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS.” This exhibition presents their stories alongside those of others involved in the national AIDS crisis. The companion website includes an extensive selection of NLM’s diverse poster collection about HIV/AIDS. This “Digital Gallery” displays 238 posters grouped into fifteen thematic clusters, providing viewers new historical avenues to explore beyond the exhibition. Brier sees these as invaluable resources for multiple audiences: “not only will these visual materials be incredibly useful for teachers interested in engaging students in historical thinking about HIV/AIDS, but they will also allow the general public to learn more about how public health efforts relied on graphic design and imagery to effect behavior change.” The website is augmented by education resources that investigate the exhibition content, including two lesson plans for grades 10-12; three six-class higher education modules; and two online activities. In addition, a selection of published landmark HIV/AIDS articles are provided by NLM’s PubMed Central, which freely provides access to over 2.8 million life science journal articles, and modern day information is provided by AIDSInfo/InfoSIDA.
For more information about booking the Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture exhibit for your library, visit the traveling banner exhibition web site!
Check out the September issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this edition:
Autism Spectrum Disorder: Uncovering Clues to a Complicated Condition
Autism is a complex brain disorder that appears during early childhood. It can be difficult to diagnose and treat because it affects each person in different ways. Scientists are uncovering new clues to this complicated condition.
Let Baby Set the Delivery Date: Wait Until 39 Weeks if You Can
As more women are choosing the date they’ll give birth, there’s been a trend toward earlier delivery dates. But research shows that babies are born healthier if they have at least 39 weeks to grow in the womb.
NIH News in Health is available online in both HTML and PDF formats. Print copies are available free of charge for offices, clinics, community centers, and libraries within the U.S.
The Toxies is a multi-media campaign to keep communities safe from toxic chemicals and pollutants. The campaign, produced by the statewide coalition Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE), and led by Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSR-LA), works with groups across the country to bring toxic chemicals to life with a Hollywood spin. They are launching a new webisode series called The Toxies: Exposed. Through seven short videos, follow a daring investigative journalist as he chases down toxic chemicals and pollutants, to raise awareness about toxics in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities.
The Toxies is a project to highlight the real life battle to retire dangerous chemicals and pollutants and protect our health. The videos feature Bisphenol-A, Chloropicrin, Flame Retardants, Fracking Chemical Cocktail, Lead, Mercury, and Yellow Soap. Last year, actor D.W. Moffett hosted the event at the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles, and wrote in the Huffington Post how he and his wife Kristal “learned about the ubiquitous toxic exposures in our daily lives and our country’s broken regulatory system that does not adequately protect us.”
There was a worldwide premiere of these webisodes and discussion on August 15th at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles. Following the screening, a discussion was held with scientists, advocates, and community members. Afterwards, all seven webisodes were posted online, along with accompanying fact sheets, links to take action, discussion guide, and trivia game, so you can host a “screening” and discussion for your organization. All videos are available in English and Spanish. Online and print materials will also be available in Spanish. Explore the Toxies website for more information!
Check out the August issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this edition:
Should You Take Dietary Supplements? A Look at Vitamins, Minerals, Botanicals and More
When you reach for that bottle of vitamin C or fish oil pills, you might wonder how well they’ll work and if they’re safe. The first thing to ask yourself is whether you need them in the first place.
Recognizing Cataracts: Watch for Vision Changes as You Age
A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye. Learn how to recognize, treat and prevent this common condition.
NIH News in Health is available online in both HTML and PDF formats. Print copies are available free of charge for offices, clinics, community centers, and libraries within the U.S.
The Obama Administration has announced the launching of Business.USA.gov/healthcare, a one-stop-shop website which provides employers of all sizes with educational materials on how the Affordable Care Act may affect businesses and help them compete. The site includes a wizard tool that is tailored based on size and location, so businesses can learn how the law helps them provide affordable coverage options to their employees while still meeting their bottom line. The site will act as a user-friendly hub that connects employers to informational content on tax credits and other provisions of the law from the Small Business Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Treasury Department. As part of the Administration’s ongoing dialogue with leaders of our nation’s top businesses, this latest tool will help ensure that employers of all sizes know what the Affordable Care Act means for them, and have the information they need to take advantage of the new benefits and opportunities under the law. The Administration will work with the employer community to ensure the site continues to be a helpful resource for businesses and their employees, including updating the site with additional, timely information.
Many parts of the Affordable Care Act are already in effect, including new consumer protections, and improvements to health care coverage, that ensure consumers get more value for their premium dollars. Additional benefits will take effect in late 2013 and beyond. Starting October 1, 2013, individuals, including those who are self-employed, and small businesses looking for a better plan, will have a new way to shop for private health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) found at HealthCare.gov. Individuals may be eligible for lower costs on their monthly premiums and self-employed individuals and small businesses may be eligible for tax credits to help with the costs of coverage.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced the release of about 1,800 new high quality images of solid oral dosage medications. Images were taken at high resolution, but are also available in smaller sizes if desired for certain applications. Researchers and product developers may obtain the images and accompanying metadata via an applications programming interface (API). NLM also makes the images available for interactive Web searching via its Pillbox and RxNav sites.
Of the roughly 1,800 pills photographed to date, approximately 400 were provided by manufacturers. The others were purchased through a licensed Maryland pharmacy. NLM estimates that the images cover about 15% of the more than 10,000 solid dosage forms of the 4,075 human prescription medications on the US market, and a higher percentage of frequently prescribed medications. The FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) provided technical advice, funding, and in-kind support for the development of the photography standards for these pills, the establishment of an imaging facility, and the performance of some image capture.