Month: February 2014

Hawaii Health Connector urges everyone to get covered

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Hawaii Health Connector

Hawai‘i Health Connector’s ‘Weekend of Action’ Urges Uninsured to Get Covered
For Immediate Release                                                               February 20, 214
HONOLULU, HI – The Hawai‘i Health Connector, the state’s online health insurance marketplace, is promoting a “Weekend of Action” for enrollment this upcoming weekend (February 21-23). Enrollment and outreach efforts will be happening statewide, with Kokua on hand to help residents with the enrollment process.
“We’re encouraged by the steady increase in enrollment since we launched our #EnrollHI outreach efforts. We’re urging everyone across our Islands to take action; attend one of these informative events and start the enrollment process with one of our community partners. The open enrollment period ends March 31, so now is the time to act if you don’t have coverage,” Tom Matsuda, interim executive director of the Hawai‘i Health Connector, said.
Below are several events this weekend. For a complete listing of Weekend of Action Connector events visit: HawaiiHealthConnector.com/Weekend-of-Action.
Friday, February 21st
• Molokai: Friendly Market Center in Kaunakakai, 9 am – noon
Saturday, February 22nd
• Oahu: Leeward Community College Small Business Fair, 8:30 am-1:30 pm
• Maui: Kihei Youth Center, 9 am – 2 pm
• Kauai: Hanalei Farmers Market, 9 am – noon
• Big Island: Honokaa Farmers Market, 9 am – noon
“We’ve also invested significant time and resources to reach out and educate younger adults about the value of health insurance coverage because many may feel coverage is not necessary or an added expense and not realize that a health plan is designed to help cover costs for unexpected medical expenses such as a biking or surfing accident,” Matsuda said.
To reach younger enrollees, the Connector will be holding an enrollment event at the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus on Wednesday, February 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Student Campus Center as part of our Young Invincibles Enrollment Week. This enrollment event is geared toward college students, particularly those who are no longer covered under their parent’s health plan. The Affordable Care Act allows individuals up to age 26 to be covered under their parent’s plan. Those older than 26 years old need to obtain coverage through their employer or through the insurance marketplace.
The #EnrollHI hashtag can be used online to track the enrollment drive, and share messages of what it means to get health care coverage with friends and family. Additionally, consumers can call the Connector’s Customer Support Center at 1-877-628-5076 (TTY/TDD: 1-855-585-8604).
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About the Hawai‘i Health Connector
The Hawai‘i Health Connector is the online health insurance marketplace for Hawai‘i. The Hawai‘i State Legislature established the Connector in 2011 through Act 205 to comply with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010. The Connector’s works in conjunction with the Prepaid Health Care Act, an employer mandate for health insurance coverage in effect since 1974. For more information, visit www.HawaiiHealthConnector.com.
Media Contacts:
Bobby Lambrix                                                       Nathan Hokama
blambrix@mvnp.com                        nhokama@scsolutions-hi.com    
(808) 529-6239                                                          (808) 226-7470

NRHA Update

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National Rural Health Associations Newsletter.  

In this issue:

Rural primary care physicians more likely to participate in quality improvement 
Rural Health Voices 
A new study in NRHA’s Journal of Rural Health cites a survey of 2,000 rural and urban family practitioners indicating rural primary care physicians are significantly more likely to participate in quality improvement activities. “Rural primary care often faces significant challenges with equal or better patient outcomes. It’s time to start looking at what’s done right in rural,” said Alan Morgan, NRHA CEO. 

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For small hospitals, big decisions can mean life or death 
HealthLeaders Media 
Seeking a strategic path for a health care organization amid historic levels of disruption can be exhilarating, but small systems and standalone hospitals essentially are betting their institutional lives on the changes they’re making. 

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Lucky you: Save $100 on NRHA’s biggest conference 
NRHA’s 37th Annual Rural Health Conference is a sure bet with more than 55 innovative, practical and cost-saving sessions April 22-25David Satcher, M.D., the second person to simultaneously hold the positions of U.S. surgeon general and assistant secretary for health, will headline the Las Vegas event. Save $100 on the nation’s largest gathering of rural health professionals, and come early for the Rural Medical Educators conference April 22Scholarships are available. 

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SPONSORED CONTENT

Faces of the Affordable Care Act: The safety net doctor 
The Wall Street Journal 
Douglas Olson is an internist and chief medical officer at the Norwalk Community Health Center in Norwalk, Conn., which serves as a safety net for many underprivileged and uninsured people in the community. He says the Affordable Care Act will probably mean more of his patients will be insured and more services will be covered. 

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NRHA’s grassroots advocacy call next Wednesday 
NRHA looks forward to giving you the latest from Washington, D.C., in our next grassroots call at11 a.m. CST, Feb. 26. Register today to get updated on issues affecting rural health, including the SGR. NRHA’s government affairs team will discuss funding for rural health programs through federal appropriations, reimbursement issues facing rural health providers as well as the latest news from Capitol Hill. 

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NRHA CEO on why rural needs your voice 
Rural Health Voices 
A unified, authentic rural voice is needed now in Washington, D.C., more than ever before. More than 430 rural advocates were that voice on Capitol Hill recently as part of NRHA’s 25th Policy Institute. It is a powerful message when a rural doctor, a rural nurse and a rural community leader come together to share why rural legislation is necessary for the survival of rural America. 

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New funding to increase access to mental health services under health care law 
The White House Blog 
So far this year, the Administration has taken three key steps as part of its ongoing effort to increase access to mental health services. They will continue to look for steps they can take to help prevent mental health problems and make sure people experiencing mental health problems get the help they need. As the vice president said in December, “The fact that less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need is unacceptable. The president and I have made it a priority to do everything we can to make it easier to access mental health services.” 

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Barriers to healthy country living: Child obesity in rural America, part 2 
Altarum Institute 
In Part 1 of this series, researchers looked at some of the reasons why childhood obesity is more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas. Researchers also explored barriers to combating obesity, including a lack of space for active living and the long distances between the home and opportunities for physical activity and healthy foods. Despite these barriers, in recent years, rural communities and stakeholders have developed promising practices tailored for these areas. 

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Slow EHR, health IT adoption rates may endanger CAHs 
EHR Intelligence 
Small, independent hospitals, especially those located in rural areas, have never had it easy. Tight budgets, scarce resources and an increasingly complex patient population have stretched critical access hospitals to the limit for years. While it may seem counterintuitive to try to break through these barriers by spending money on electronic health records, health information exchange and data analytics technologies, Lorren Pettit, vice president of market research for HIMSS Analytics, worries that CAHs might not be able to hold out on their own for long. 

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HHS releases national vaccine plan 
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released The State of the National Vaccine Plan 2013 annual report, the first of what will be an annual report developed to provide an overview of recent accomplishments and progress that fall under the five goals of the national vaccine plan. The plan aligns with a number of HHS goals and objectives to reduce the occurrence of vaccine preventable diseases by focusing on strategies to improve the quality of all aspects of the immunization system. 

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Must-do task for rural providers: Call Congress 
HealthLeaders Media 
Rural hospitals face a potential double whammy: Not only could they be saddled with paying for the SGR repeal, they also could lose this supplemental money that comes with it. That’s why it is so important for rural providers to take the initiative and contact their elected representatives. “Groups like NRHA do a good job making the case for hospitals. But nothing makes an elected representative take notice like an active electorate,” the article states. 

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Socioeconomic policy is health policy, writes past NRHA president/rural doc 
Rural Assistance Center 
The marked increase in income inequality that people in this country have experienced over the last 35 years is a major factor in our poor health. Unemployment remains high, particularly in rural America, writes Wayne Myers, M.D. Now there’s a lot of controversy about the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and unemployment assistance. The bottom line: social services for low-income people and the unemployed are just as important to health as health care. 

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National Rural Health Policy Institute’s Congressional Action Kit

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The National Rural Health Policy Institute’s Congressional Action Kit highlights is available below.  You will find the issues and concerns that the association lists as its critical priorities.  They are in PDF format.

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NRHA announces H.R. 3991 – Critical Access Hospital Relief Act introduced

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The National Rural Health Association has exciting news to announce – Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE), introduced H.R. 3991, the Critical Access Hospital Relief Act which would repeal the burdensome 96-Hour rule now being enforced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  This regulation requires physicians at Critical Access Hospitals at the time of admission to certify Medicare and Medicaid patients will not be there more than 96 hours.  Otherwise, the hospital must transfer the patient or face non-reimbursement.  Your advocacy efforts are paying off!  Thank you!!

Congressman Smith joins Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and David Loebsak (D-IA) in sponsoring this bill.

 

New CDC Vital Signs: Child Passenger Safety

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New CDC Vital Signs: Child Passenger Safety

One in three children who died in crashes in 2011 was not buckled up, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report. CDC analyzed 2002–2011 data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to determine the number and rate of motor-vehicle occupant deaths, and the percentage of child deaths among children age 12 and younger who were not buckled up. Motor vehicle crash deaths among children age 12 and younger decreased by 43 percent in the past decade (2002-2011), however, more than 9,000 children died in crashes during that period.

Research has shown that using age- and size-appropriate child restraints (car seats, booster seats, and seat belts) is the best way to save lives and reduce injuries in a crash, yet only 2 out of every 100 children live in states that require car seat or booster seat use for children age 8 and under. Almost half of all black (45 percent) and Hispanic (46 percent) children who died in crashes were not buckled up, compared to 26 percent of white children (2009-2010).

To help keep children safe on the road, parents and caregivers can:

  • Buckle children in car seats, booster seats, and seat belts in the back seat—on every trip, no matter how short.
    • Rear-facing car seat from birth up to age 2. Buckle children in a rear-facing seat until age 2 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of that seat.
    • Forward-facing car seat from age 2 up to at least age 5. When children outgrow their rear-facing seat, they should be buckled in a forward-facing car seat until at least age 5 or when they reach the upper weight or height limit of that seat.
    • Booster seat from age 5 up until seat belt fits properly. Once children outgrow their forward-facing seat, they should be buckled in a booster seat until seat belts fit properly. The recommended height for proper seat belt fit is 57 inches tall.
    • Seat belt once it fits properly without a booster seat. Children no longer need to use a booster seat once seat belts fit them properly. Seat belts fit properly when the lap belt lays across the upper thighs (not the stomach) and the shoulder belt lays across the chest (not the neck).
  • Install and use car seats according to the owner’s manual or get help installing them from a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.
  • Buckle children age 12 and under in the back seat.

CDC’s Injury Center works to protect the safety of everyone on the roads, every day. For more information, please visit www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety.