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Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category

News and Updates on the ACA

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Several recently released studies indicate that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) helped reduce the number of uninsured Americans by between 8 and 11 million in the first year of the Marketplaces. Other key points from one report¹:

  • Many of the previously uninsured have used their new coverage to obtain needed care
  • The uninsured rate for people ages 19-64 declined from 20% in the period July – September 2013 to 15% in the period April – June 2014
  • Young men and women (ages 19-34) made up a significant portion of the decline
  • In states which expanded Medicaid coverage, the uninsured rate for people in poverty declined at an even higher rate (28% to 17%)

Instructor with students on computers

A new Kaiser Family Foundation survey of Navigators and Assister programs nationwide found that an estimated 10.6 million people received personal help from Navigators and Assisters during the Open Enrollment Period (Oct. 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014). In total, more than 4,400 Assister Program provided assistance for enrollment. Most Assister programs reported that people looking for health insurance sought help because they did not understand the ACA or health insurance and lacked confidence to apply on their own. In addition, the survey showed that 90% of Assister Programs have already been re-ontacted by consumers with post-enrollment questions and problems.²

The next Open Enrollment Period for insurance coverage will begin on November 15, 2014. If your organization is a community health center or other health care provider, hospital, a non-federal governmental or non-profit social service agency in a state with a Federally-facilitated Marketplace or a State Partnership Marketplace, and your organization would like to help by training your staff to assist people applying for coverage through the Marketplace, you can apply to be a Certified Application Counselor (CAC).  Attend an informational webinar on July 23rd at 1:00 p.m. CT for clarification regarding eligibility requirements. For more information on the CAC program, visit: http://marketplace.cms.gov/help-us/cac.html

Information on the webinar:

From Coverage to Care (C2C) is a national initiative from CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), specifically designed to help people with new health care coverage understand their benefits and connect to primary care and the preventive services that are right for them. It also seeks to give healthcare providers the tolls they need to promote patient engagement. An overview of the full range of resources included in C2C will be presented in a webinar on Wednesday, July 30th, at 11:00 a.m. CT: http://ow.ly/zpUfo

¹Gaining Ground: American’s Health Insurance Coverage and Access to Care After the Affordable Care Act’s First Open Enrollment Period

²Kaiser Family Foundation Survey of Health Insurance Marketplace Assister Programs

Health Insurance Marketplace

 

July 2014 Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

NIH News in Health Fun in Sun

The July issue of NIH News in Health,
the monthly newsletter bringing practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research is now available:

Features:

Sun and Skin: The Dark Side of Sun Exposure
Sunlight is essential to many living things, but it also has a dangerous side. The good news is you can take simple steps to protect your skin from sun damage.
Read more about sun and skin.

Fight Off Food Poisoning: Food Safety for Warmer Weather
It can be hard to keep foods safe to eat during warmer weather. Learn how to handle food properly to avoid the misery of food poisoning.
Read more about food poisoning.

Health Capsules:
Physical Activity Helps Seniors Stay Mobile
Kidney Failure and Its Treatment
Featured Website: Bionic Man

Click here to download a PDF version for printing.
Visit our Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like us to cover, or let us know what you find helpful about the newsletter. We’d like to hear from you!
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.

June is LGBT Pride Month

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

rainbow caduceus

In celebration of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bixesual, and Transgender) Pride Month, we have put together a list of LGBT health information resources. Often an underserved population, people who identify as LGBT have health needs that are widely varied. The compiled list, although far from comprehensive, covers resources for LGBT individuals from youth to older adult. If you are unfamiliar with LGBT health resources or just want a refresher, start here.

The first of these resources is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (or SAMHSA). SAMHSA’s LGBT health page includes a wealth of information, including links to resources like “A Practitioner’s Resource Guide: Helping Families to Support Their LGBT Children”, “Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations Information & Resource Kit” as well as links to federal initiatives and resources.

The second of these resources is from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). ACOG has two particularly useful resources for LGBT health; one is a committee opinion piece from the Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women on Health Care for Lesbians and Bisexual Women , and the other is a Transgender Resource Guide from the same committee. Although these pages are not to be “construed as dictating an exclusive course of treatment or procedure”, they offer quality information concerning barriers to health care, routine health visits, as well as mental health considerations and more.

The third resource is the LGBT Community Field Guide from the Joint Commission. The purpose of the LGBT Community Field guide is to advance and improve effective communication, cultural competence, and patient- and family-centered care. This field guide includes sections on how to use the guide, an explanation of terminology, as well as chapters on provision of care and patient/family engagement. Also included are checklists, designed to help practitioners stay in line with Joint Commission standards and mission.

The final resource is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health page from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The introduction to the page states “The perspectives and needs of LGBT people should be routinely considered in public health efforts to improve the overall health of every person and eliminate health disparities.” This resource features specific health topic pages for gay and bisexual men, youth, lesbians and bisexual women,  and transgender persons. In addition to these health topic pages, the CDC also offers information on health services as well as data and statistics.

For additional links to LGBT health resources, visit the MedlinePlus Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender health topic page.

Navigator Funding Opportunity Announcment for 2014-15

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a recent funding opportunity intended to support Navigators providing health insurance enrollment assistance in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces in 2014 – 2015. Navigators provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, the Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).   You may learn more about this opportunity here: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=93.332 

Many libraries have actively partnered with Navigator organizations in their communities to support outreach, education, and enrollment in the health insurance Marketplace established as part of the Affordable Care Act. Libraries have contributed in many ways, such as providing space for Navigator information sessions, making library computers available for enrollment sessions, and sharing resources from Navigators in person and online. HealthCare.gov defines Navigators as: An individual or organization that’s trained and able to help consumers, small businesses, and their employees as they look for health coverage options through the Marketplace, including completing eligibility and enrollment forms. These individuals and organizations are required to be unbiased. Their services are free to consumers.

The funding opportunity is available to all eligible individuals, as well as public and private entities, applying to serve as Navigators in states with a Federally-facilitated or State Partnership Marketplace. It is open to new and returning Navigator applicants; applications are due July 10, 2014.

Health Insurance Marketplace

NLM Presentations at MLA Recordings Available

Friday, June 6th, 2014

MLA 2014 Annual Conference

Every year at the MLA Annual Meeting, the National Library of Medicine holds a variety of presentations in their exhibit booth to bring users up-to-date on NLM databases and services.  The recordings of the 13 presentations are now available from the NLM Technical Bulletin.   Learn about:

  1. The ACA, Hospital Community Benefit and Needs Assessment: NLM Resources
  2. Beau-TOX: TOXNET Gets a Facelift
  3. MedlinePlus: Usability, Mobile & Responsive Design
  4. Modernizing History: The New (and much improved) IndexCat Interface
  5. My NCBI Update: SciENcv & NIH Public Access
  6. NLM Resources & Electronic Health Records: MedlinePlusConnect, RxNorm & UMLS
  7. NLM Resources Used in Disasters
  8. PubMed Commons
  9. PubMed Health
  10. PubMed Update
  11. RDA One Year Later
  12. Still Scanning After All These Years: New Digital Projects from HMD
  13. Using the ClinicalTrials.gov Results Database

$300 Million Available to Expand Services at Community Health Centers

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

bigstock_Health_Care_Costs_In_America_1437512

More than $300 Million has been made available to help the nation’s community health centers expand service hours, hire more medical providers, and add oral health, behavioral health, pharmacy, and vision services.

Nearly 1,300 health centers operate more than 9,000 service delivery sites that provide care to over 21 million patients in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin.  The health center program is administered by HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). These funds will allow health centers to expand services to better serve newly insured patients.

Health center grantees requesting expanded services funds must demonstrate how these funds will be used to expand primary care medical capacity and services to underserved populations in their communities.

For more information on this funding opportunity announcement, please visit
http://www.hrsa.gov/grants/apply/assistance/es/esinstructions.pdf.

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act and Community Health Centers, visit http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about/healthcenterfactsheet.pdf.

To learn more about HRSA’s Community Health Center Program, visit http://bphc.hrsa.gov/about/index.html.

To find a health center in your area, visit http://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov.

Electronic Consumer Health Outreach Award Recipients

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

The NN/LM SCR is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014-2015 Electronic Consumer Health Outreach (ECHO) Award:

Organization: The Alliance of Border Collaboratives, El Paso, TX
Title of Project: “Provision: Capacity Building Assistance Project”
Responsible Investigator: Rebeca Ramos
Description: The goal of this project is to increase awareness and utilization of NLM resources to Community Health Workers (Promotores) and the general population of El Paso County, TX and Dona Ana County, NM through development of training tutorials and community presentations. Development of training materials/tutorials will have a specific focus on information related to diabetes and mental health.

Organization: University of New Mexico, Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, Albuquerque, NM
Title of Project: “Good Information for Good Health: Online Continuing Education for New Mexico Health Professionals”
Responsible Investigator: Gale Hannigan
Description: The goal of this project is to develop and make available accredited continuing education online modules that highlight NLM information resources. The content will be designed specifically for New Mexico primary care providers including physicians, physician assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners, and pharmacists.

 

 

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Funding Opportunity

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Hmong woman carrying a babySummary

Funding Oppportunity Title: Ethnic Community Self Help Program
Funding Opportunity Number: HHS-2014-ACF-ORR-RE-0816
Program Office: Office of Refugee Resettlement
Funding Type: Discretionary
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement
Announcement Type: Initial
CFDA: 93.576
Post Date: 04/28/2014
Application Due Date: 06/27/2014

 

Description

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) invites eligible entities to submit competitive grant applications for funding of the Ethnic Community Self-Help Program to provide services to newly arriving refugees. The objectives of this program are to strengthen organized ethnic communities comprised and representative of refugee populations, and to ensure ongoing support and culturally appropriate services to refugees within five years of their initial resettlement.
The populations targeted for services and benefits in the application must represent refugee groups who have arrived in the U.S. within the last five years.
ORR places a strong emphasis on projects with a two-fold aim: 1) strengthening of the applicant’s organizational capacity 2) provision of SMART services (Specific Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic, and Time-Bound) to refugees. Such services may include both direct and referral services.

For complete posting and link to apply, visit the HHS website

MERS-CoV Spreads to the United States

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Microscopic image of coronavirus

On May 2, 2014 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (or MERS) in the United States. The virus was found in a man who had traveled from Saudi Arabia to Indiana at the end of April.

MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory illness that first begin infecting humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012. All reported cases since have been linked to 7 different countries, and all have originated within the Arabian Peninsula. The symptoms are similar to that of the flu: fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. MERS is unusually deadly, however; around 30% of the people infected have died. Despite the name, MERS is not the same coronavirus that caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

The CDC has not yet advised any travel changes and recommends the following to those traveling to the Arabian Peninsula:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact, such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils, with sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.

If you develop symptoms of respiratory illness within 14 days of travel, the CDC recommends visiting your healthcare provider. For more information regarding MERS-CoV, coronaviruses, and the recent case in the United States, visit the links under Resources.

Resources:

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MERS CoV First US Case Announced / Press Release / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Frequently Asked Questions about MERS CoV / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

About Coronaviruses / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

UPDATE 5/13/2014

A second case of MERS-CoV was confirmed on May 12, 2014 in Orlando, Florida. As with the previous case, the patient was a healthcare worker who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia. In a press conference, CDC Director Dr. Tom Friedan and Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, iterated that so far MERS is not considered easily transmissible. The two US cases have occurred in health workers that were in close contact with those already infected with MERS. 

For the complete press conference transcript, visit the CDC’s Media page.

 

Update on Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

On May 1st, the Department of Health & Human Services released the most recent statistics on enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace surged to eight million at the end of the first enrollment period, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced. The final enrollment reporting period spans from October 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014, and includes “in line” and other enrollment activity (such as people enrolling due to a change in life circumstance) reported through Saturday, April 19, 2014.

Additional key findings from the report:

  • 2.2 million (28%) of those who selected a Marketplace plan were young adults ages 18 – 34
  • Of the more than 8 million who enrolled, nearly 2. 6 million signed up through State Based Marketplaces, and more than 5.4 million in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace
  • Of the more than 8 million, 54% are female and 46% are male
  • More than 4.8 million additional individuals enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP through March 31, 2014, compared to before the beginning of open enrollment in October

The complete press release from HHS yesterday can be read at: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2014pres/05/20140501a.html

The Marketplace Enrollment Report from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation can be accessed at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2014/MarketPlaceEnrollment/Apr2014/ib_2014Apr_enrollment.pdf

Health Insurance Marketplace