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Texas Medicaid Cuts Hurts Rural Kids With Disabilities

Photo by Gabby Orcutt is licensed under CC0.

Child Playing in Field

More than a year ago, Texas lawmakers ordered the state to cut the amount of money for therapists who work with children with disabilities. After the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit against the cuts, they are finally taking effect.

The cuts are significant—taking away $350 million in Medicaid reimbursement—and they impact some of the most vulnerable. These Texas children often are born premature, or with down syndrome, or with some other genetic disorder that delays them developmentally. And even as these providers lost money, they still served the children. Now many of these providers are closing their doors.

A story on NPR shares some of the real stories of kids in Texas who have disabilities, how the service providers have helped them, and what will happen if they don’t have access to services.

To read the NPR article and learn more about the Texas Medicaid cuts, please visit “Cuts in Texas Medicaid Hit Rural Kids With Disabilities Especially Hard.”

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Hospital Quality Data Available

“Photo” by SilasCamargo is licensed under CC0.

Hospital Beds

The Joint Commission has released its 2016 annual report on America’s hospitals. The report contains data contributed by more than 3,300 hospitals nationwide. Extensive changes were made to the metrics collected in past years. Several measures previously included were dropped from the data collection process because hospital performance was consistently high and considered to no longer represent a useful quality metric. The new process now gives organizations a choice in determining which measures to report. Additionally, eCQM (electronic clinical quality measures) are now reported.

Examples of the national performance summary data presented include measures of rates of tobacco screening, influenza immunization, stroke education, percent of stroke patients discharged on statin medications and more.

While the annual report synthesizes data collected from hospitals nationwide, granular data reflecting the quality and safety results for individual hospitals may be found on The Joint Commission Quality Check website.

See Annual Report – Improving America’s Hospitals to learn more about the data collection process and view the results of the report.

Citation: America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety – The Joint Commission’s Annual Report 2016

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Written by Lisa Smith, NN/LM SCR

 

 

Surgeon General Releases Landmark Report Regarding Addiction in America

“Photo” by WebreFabrik is licensed under CC0.

Alcohol Bottles

In a landmark report, the United States Surgeon General issued a report on alcohol, drugs and health. The report comes at a time when many organizations are calling for action in the U.S.’s opioid epidemic.

“With this report, I’m calling our country to action around one of the most underrecognized and underaddressed public health issues of our time,” said Surgeon General Vivek Murphy, MD, told Medscape reporters in a conference call.

The report, more than 400 pages long, shares key findings broken into five categories:

·       The Neurobiology of Substance Use, Misuse and Addiction
·       Prevention Programs and Policies
·       Early Intervention, Treatment, and Management of Substance Use Disorders
·       Recovery: The Many Paths to Wellness
·       Health Care Systems and Substance Use Disorders

Some of these key findings are that addiction is a chronic brain disease that has potential for recurrence and recovery, communities and populations have different risk levels for addiction, and laws targeting the alcohol-impaired have significantly decreased alcohol-related traffic deaths.

For more information, see Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health..

To read the report’s key findings, please visit the Surgeon General’s website.

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Meet Me Monday: Katelyn Helberg, UT-Austin iSchool

Katelyn Helberg, UT-Austin iSchool

Katelyn Helberg is a second year MSIS student at the UT-Austin iSchool.

Prior to graduate school, Katelyn worked as a Pre-K Teacher and Assistant Director before working in circulation for the Harris County Public Library system. Since beginning her Masters program, she has held a variety of student positions and internships, also gaining experience in academic libraries, digitization, MARC cataloging, and taxonomy development.

Katelyn’s coursework has largely focused on health informatics and special libraries, and she has especially enjoyed her time as a volunteer in the Family Resource Center at Dell Children’s Medical Center. She is excited for the chance to design and deliver library instruction at Dell Medical School for her capstone project next spring, but she is even more excited to be graduating in May 2017!

Contact Katelyn at khelberg@utexas.edu

 

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Study Suggests Women Who Have Kids Later Are More Likely to Live Longer

“Photo” by William Stitt is licensed under CC0.

Pregnant Woman

According to an article on MedlinePlus, a study, which is the first of its kind, suggests women who have children at 25 and older are more likely to live to the age of 90. The research also found that these women were more likely to be married, have college degrees and have a higher income.

Postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and study author Aladdin Shadyab said he’s not sure what the link between delaying childbirth and a women’s longevity is.

One idea is that women who wait are more likely to be of a higher socio-economic class, which research has consistently suggested increases a person’s longevity.

Research published from 2015 found that women who gave birth to their last child after age 33 were twice as likely to live to 95 than those women who gave birth to their last child at age 29.

The researchers looked at data from a nationwide study in 1993 that tracked 20,000 women to come to their findings. Of them, 54 percent of them lived to 90 years old.

To read more about the study, please visit “Do Women Who Have Kids Later Live Longer?

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Three New Mexico Counties See Shigellosis

“Photo” by geralt is licensed under CC0.

Bacteria

The New Mexico Department of Health just reported Tuesday that counties Lea, Chaves, and Eddy have all seen an outbreak of bacterial disease shigellosis.

Shigellosis is a diarrheal disease that causes about 500,000 cases of diarrhea annually. Other symptoms include fever, nausea, vomiting, cramps and toxemia. Oftentimes, diarrhea will contain blood or mucus.

Since May of this year, NMDOH has seen 140 confirmed and probable cases of shigellosis, often among school-aged children, but officials believe the disease may be affecting a wider community.

Shigellosis is extremely contagious and infected persons can have bacteria in their stool for up to a month after the diarrhea has subsided. It can be spread by people not washing their hands well after using the bathroom, caretakers changing an infant’s diaper and not taking care to wash their hands properly, swallowing recreational water (for example from a pool) that has been contaminated, or exposure to feces through sexual contact.

NMDOH is urging anyone who is experiencing symptoms of shigellosis to get tested.

For more information about the shigellosis outbreak in New Mexico, please visit the New Mexico Department of Health’s website.

For more general information about shigellosis, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

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National Library of Medicine (NLM) Associate Fellowship Program

The NLM Associate Fellowship Program is a one year postgraduate program for recent graduates to learn about health sciences librarianship while working at the NLM in Bethesda, MD.

For almost sixty years this program has prepared recent library and information science graduates for careers and leadership roles in the health science library field.  A current associate fellow, Tyler Moses, is from the South Central Region and throughout the years many graduates from the region have been selected. To peruse the list of fellows since 1957, visit the Alumni Associate Index.

The application deadline for the 2017-2018 cycle is January 27, 2017.  For more information about the program and application process, please visit Associate Fellowship Program for Librarians on the NLM website.

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-Written by Bethany Livingston, Research Administrator, NN/LM SCR

 

SCR Regional Highlight: Arkansas Offers Abundance of Healthy Outdoor Activities

“The Old Mill – North Little Rock, AR” by
Richard Walker is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.

The Old Mill - North Little Rock, AR

As many people know, every state within the U.S. has a nickname. California is the Golden State, Texas is the Lone Star State, and Florida is the Sunshine State. But what is Arkansas? Arkansas has been nicknamed the Natural State. Does it seem odd? It shouldn’t.

Arkansas was nicknamed the Natural State because it is famous for its natural scenic beauties. Arkansas is home to 52 state parks, three national forests, five national parks, 250 parks and recreation trails, and the U.S.’s first national river. Arkansas is just as good a place as any, if not the perfect place, to get active and remain healthy while also enjoying the outdoors.

If you live in central Arkansas, be sure to check out the Arkansas River Trail, which spans an 88-mile loop through Little Rock, North Little Rock, Maumelle, and Conway. With a primarily flat terrain, it’s an easy trail for people of all ages and fitness levels. Not only is it great for getting some physical activity, but the trail connects 38 parks and six museums, so if you’re hiking, biking, skating or walking, you can make a stop along the way for another activity.

Residents of the eastern side of the state have quick access to the Bayou De View, which flows across the Arkansas Delta and eventually makes its way to the Mississippi River. The Bayou De View is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the nature around you. You may even be able to spot the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, often called “The Lord God Bird” because of its size, beauty and majesty.

In the western part of the state, Eureka Springs is nestled in the northwest corner in the Ozark valley, and is nicknamed “Little Switzerland of the Ozarks” for its Victorian-esque architecture.  The Ozarks are a perfect place for hiking and Eureka Springs has many parks and trails for the active recreationist.  It is also home of the basin springs, rumored to have healing powers for those in need of a little rejuvenation.

No matter where you are, there are always recreational activities to keep you healthy and active. Visit Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH to learn more on how to fit exercise and physical activity into your daily life.

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Written by Sara Goodwin, NN/LM SCR

Meet Me Monday: Spencer Acadia, Stephen F. Austin State University

Spencer Acadia, Stephen F. Austin State University

Spencer Acadia is an Associate Librarian at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. In addition to an MLS, he holds a PhD in sociology and a master’s degree in psychology. His research interests include medical sociology and health psychology, as well as knowledge management in academic libraries. Spencer also has an interest in Arctic studies, especially as they relate to social and behavioral topics in the health and information sciences.

Spencer is highly active in IFLA, the International Federation of Library Associations. Through IFLA, he has presented papers and served as program chair at IFLA conferences in such places as Helsinki (Finland), Lyon (France), and Cape Town (South Africa). Next year, he plans to participate in IFLA at Wrocław (Poland), as well as lead a session on library, archival, and information sciences at an Arctic conference in Umeå (Sweden).

More information about Spencer, including a list of publications and conference activities, can be found on his LinkedIn profile.

 

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Vaping Leads to Teen Cigarette Use

“Photo” by Andrew Pons
is licensed under CC0.

Cigarette Butt

Back in September, we posted a blog about teens using e-cigarettes (or “vapes”) for flavor. A new article published on healthfinder.gov says teens who regularly use e-cigarettes are more likely to be heavy smokers.

A survey studied students from 10 Los Angeles schools and found teens are twice as likely to start smoking cigarettes on a weekly basis if they vape frequently.

“The more you vape, the more likely in the future you’re going to be smoking (cigarettes),” according to lead researcher Adam Leventhal, associate professor of preventive medicine and psychology at the University of Southern California. “You’re going to be smoking more frequently and you’re going to smoke more cigarettes per day on your smoking days.”

Leventhal also suggested that teens may become hooked on nicotine through vaping and turn to nicotine for a stronger fix.

On the other hand, which the e-cigarette industry has criticized, frequent vaping, is defined in this study as three or more days in one month.

To read more about the study, please visit “E-cigs Tied to More Frequent Heavier Teen Tobacco Use.

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