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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

New One-Stop-Shop Website Launched to Educate Business Owners About the ACA!

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.

HHS Awards $12 Million to Help Teaching Health Centers Train Primary Care Providers

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has just announced $12 million in Affordable Care Act funding to support primary care residency programs in 32 Teaching Health Centers across the nation. Funding will help train more than 300 residents during the 2013-2014 academic year, doubling the number of residents trained in the previous academic year. Administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Payment Program, created by the Affordable Care Act, expands residency training in community-based settings. Residents will be trained in family and internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and general and pediatric dentistry.

The current awards expand the number of states with Teaching Health Centers to 21, from 14 in 2012. Teaching Health Centers are located in a variety of settings, including urban, rural, and Tribal communities, and serve populations such as veterans and their families, minority communities, older adults, children and adolescents. Four of the FY 2014 awards are based in the Pacific Southwest Region:

  • Fresno Healthy Community Access Partners, Fresno, CA
  • Shasta Community Health Center, Redding, CA
  • Social Action Community Health System, San Bernardino, CA
  • Valley Consortium for Medical Education, Modesto, CA

A complete list of awards is available.

Health Centers to Help Uninsured Americans Obtain Affordable Health Coverage

Earlier this month, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced $150 million in grant awards to 1,159 health centers across the nation, to enroll uninsured Americans in new health coverage options made available by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With these funds, health centers are expected to hire an additional 2,900 outreach and eligibility assistance workers to assist millions of people nationwide with enrollment into affordable health coverage. Health centers have a long history of providing eligibility assistance to patients, along with delivering high-quality, primary health care services in communities across the nation. Today, health centers serve more than 21 million patients annually.

Awards have been made to health centers in all 50 states, to help consumers understand their coverage options through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program; determine their eligibility and what financial help they can get; and enroll in new affordable health coverage options. These awards, issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), complement and align with other federal efforts, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-funded Navigator program. A list of health centers receiving this funding is available on the HRSA web site.

NLM to Participate with Partners in “An Epidemiology of Information: New Methods for Interpreting Disease and Data”

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced its next initiative as part of its ongoing partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Working with NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), the NLM will be a part of An Epidemiology of Information: New Methods for Interpreting Disease and Data, an interdisciplinary symposium exploring new methods for large-scale data analysis of epidemic disease.

Scheduled to take place at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, VA, on October 17, 2013, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, “An Epidemiology of Information” will be a unique public forum through which policy makers, public health experts, and scholars can address pressing questions about how new methods of analyzing large-scale datasets can inform research and policy approaches to epidemic disease. Panelists will consider what these new methods suggest for contemporary infodemiology and epidemic intelligence, as well as the implications of data mining as a disease surveillance mechanism, and how new forms of reporting and public health surveillance affect public health policy. The symposium will also explore how these new methods can inform research on the 1918 influenza pandemic, and help to answer lingering questions about the spread of the disease, its pathogenicity, the unusual mortality rates, or the effectiveness of public health responses.

Featured speakers will include Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger, Chief, Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and Dr. David Morens, Senior Advisor to the Director, NIAID, whose research in data analysis and historical epidemiology has influenced the approaches being adopted and adapted by digital humanities scholars working in the history of medicine. “An Epidemiology of Information” is made possible in part from support received by Virginia Tech through the international Digging into Data Challenge competition sponsored by NEH. Funding for Virginia Tech’s Canadian partner, the Center for E-Health Initiatives of the University of Toronto, comes from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Know Hepatitis B Communications Campaign

Know Hepatitis B PosterThe CDC Division of Viral Hepatitis and Hep B United have launched Know Hepatitis B, a national communications campaign promoting Hepatitis B testing among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs). This multilingual campaign has materials in English, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese, and messages will be delivered through a variety of multimedia channels. Community-level outreach, in partnership with Hep B United and its local affiliates, will also incorporate campaign messages and materials that facilitate education and communication about Hepatitis B among healthcare providers, local partners, and patients.

Though AAPIs make up less than 5% of the U.S. population, they account for more than 50% of the 1.2 million Americans estimated to be living with hepatitis B. Testing identifies people living with hepatitis B and helps them take steps to protect their health, including starting treatment that can delay or reverse the effects of liver damage. An estimated 1 in 12 AAPIs is living with hepatitis B, yet as many as 2 out of 3 people do not know they are infected. Many people can live with the disease and not feel sick or have any symptoms.

Know Hepatitis B seeks to increase awareness about this silent epidemic and encourage people who may be chronically infected with hepatitis B to get tested, so they can take care of themselves and protect their families. For additional information in multiple languages on Hepatitis B, please visit MedlinePlus.

NLM Announces Listserv for Outreach to Special Populations!

The National Library of Medicine’s Specialized Information Services (SIS) Division has announced a listserv for Outreach to Specific Populations, NLM_OSP-L. This list provides health information professionals, librarians, advocates, health care professionals, students, and others with an opportunity to share information and discuss outreach to specific populations through quality information, capacity building and community engagement. This discussion forum will enable participants to stay informed about health information resources, services, and programs tailored to specific populations as well as connect with colleagues in the field, and benefit from discussions that address best practices, challenges, and gaps associated with health information outreach to specific populations.

Information distributed through the OSP Listserv (NLM_OSP-L) may include:

  • Health information outreach programs and services tailored to specific populations (i.e. Students/Educators, Health Professionals, Minorities, Women, Seniors, etc.)
  • Information resources addressing health topics ranging from HIV/AIDS and Environmental Health to Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
  • Announcements of funding opportunities
  • National, state and/or local meetings and conferences
  • Information and technological resources for and about specific populations
  • Training opportunities
  • Best practices, trends, and new ideas
  • Publications, articles, and research findings related to health information outreach

Feel free to let others know about the OSP listserv, and to share its messages!

New Report: Social Media in the Emergency Management Field, 2012 Survey Results!

CNA, in partnership with the National Emergency Management Association, funded the development and nationwide distribution of a 56-question survey to state, county, and local emergency management and response agencies, conducted from August 3 to September 12, 2012, to better understand their current views on the use of social media technology for emergency management. The key results from that survey have recently been published in the 84-page report, Social Media in the Emergency Management Field: 2012 Survey Results. Over 500 individuals submitted responses, representing 426 departments and agencies.

On June 4, 2013, U.S. Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, mentioned some of the survey results during her opening statement at a hearing entitled Emergency MGMT 2.0: How #SocialMedia & New Tech are Transforming Preparedness, Response, & Recovery #Disasters #Part1 #Privatesector. CNA is located in Alexandria, VA, and has nearly 70 years of experience researching and analyzing the complex scientific, operational, and policy challenges that are facing the public sector and public decision makers.

Tracking the news on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

The earlier, commonly used term “novel coronavirus” or “NCoV” is being superseded by the newly designated term “Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).” The Coronavirus Study Group, International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, announced the new terminology, which is being adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other groups. When searching for information on this virus, it may be useful to use both the old and new terms, as well as other terms that have been used to describe the virus; including human betacoronavirus 2c EMC, human betacoronavirus 2c England-Qatar, human betacoronavirus 2C Jordan-N3, or betacoronavirus England 1. One caveat is that searching PubMed with the term “coronavirus” will retrieve many citations related to the 2002-03 SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak, since the SARS virus and MERS-CoV are both coronaviruses. Following are key resources for tracking MERS-CoV news:

NLM Introduces infoSIDA Web Site to the Latino Community!

The National Library of Medicine has initiated an outreach effort to the Latino community for the federal Web site on AIDS, infoSIDA, a free, online Spanish-language resource for HIV/AIDS information regarding treatment, prevention, and research findings. It is a service of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and includes authoritative content from the following HHS agencies; the National Institutes of Health, including NLM; the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This Spanish-language Web site is designed to provide health information resources to the Latino community in an easy-to-use format, utilizing culturally appropriate and relevant language.

Today in America, according to the CDC, approximately one in 50 Latinos will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime. The rate of new HIV infections among Latino men is almost three times that of white men (39.9 vs. 15.9 per 100,000), and the rate among Latinas is more than four times that of white women (11.8 vs. 2.6 per 100,000). In 2009, Hispanics/Latinos represented 16% of the U.S. population, but accounted for 20% of new HIV infections. Statistics like these and a need to reach vulnerable populations were a driving force in NLM’s recognition of the need to speak directly to Latinos on the issue of HIV/AIDS, in a culturally relevant manner.

NLM will be promoting the infoSIDA Web site through a multi-platform media outreach effort that includes two new radio public service announcements that will air on Spanish media outlets nationwide. In addition, Ms. Fedora Braverman, a librarian with the NLM Public Services Division, will take part in a June 1st broadcast of “Bienvenidos a América,” discussing infoSIDA and other Spanish-language consumer resources from NLM. Bienvenidos a América (BAA) is a weekly call-in radio show focused on providing Spanish preferred Latinos with information and resources specific to immigration issues. Since this program’s audience is a key component in determining the success of this campaign, NLM will utilize this program, which airs on 111 Spanish radio stations nationwide. In addition to being on the air, the NLM specific segment on BAA will be streamed and made available online. The online resources of infoSIDA will also be publicized and made available via NLM’s social media outlets. Twitter users are invited to follow or join the conversation by using the hash tag #infoSIDA2013.

Institute of Medicine Publishes Affordable Care Act (ACA) Discussion Paper!

We are entering a critical time in health care in the United States. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) changes the American health care system in many ways. Of major importance is the fact that it expands access to health insurance for millions of Americans. But do Americans understand the changes that are coming? Do they understand their options for health insurance or how to choose the insurance plan that best meets their needs? And will they know how to use that insurance plan once they have it? Many people don’t have this understanding, and they have a hard time getting reliable information when they try to learn more.

Six participants in the Collaborative on Health Literacy and Access, Health Care Coverage, and Care of the IOM Roundtable on Health Literacy have prepared a discussion paper that presents basic information that can be used to help people understand their health insurance options. The 14-page paper, Helping Consumers Understand and Use
Health Insurance in 2014
, is a resource for those who will be helping consumers make important decisions; including patient navigators, community organizations, employers, media, educators, and any individual or organization working to improve understanding of options for health insurance.