Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps

 

From the Institute of Medicine press release

 

As a centerpiece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, the focus on preventive services is a profound shift from a reactive system that primarily responds to acute problems and urgent needs to one that helps foster optimal health and well-being. The ACA addresses preventive services for both men and women of all ages, and women in particular stand to benefit from additional preventive health services. The inclusion of evidence-based screenings, counseling and procedures that address women’s greater need for services over the course of a lifetime may have a profound impact for individuals and the nation as a whole.
Given the magnitude of change, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services charged the IOM with reviewing what preventive services are important to women’s health and well-being and then recommending which of these should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines. The IOM defined preventive health services as measures—including medications, procedures, devices, tests, education and counseling—shown to improve well-being, and/or decrease the likelihood or delay the onset of a targeted disease or condition.

The IOM recommends that women’s preventive services include:

 

  • improved screening for cervical cancer, counseling for sexually transmitted infections, and counseling and screening for HIV;
  • a fuller range of contraceptive education, counseling, methods, and services so that women can better avoid unwanted pregnancies and space their pregnancies to promote optimal birth outcomes;
  • services for pregnant women including screening for gestational diabetes and lactation counseling and equipment to help women who choose to breastfeed do so successfully;
  • at least one well-woman preventive care visit annually for women to receive comprehensive services; and
  • screening and counseling for all women and adolescent girls for interpersonal and domestic violence in a culturally sensitive and supportive manner.

July 22, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Looking at Healthcare through Payer Lens

Looking at Healthcare through Payer Lens (so far Part I and Part II) gives great insight on how the healthcare industry can successfully work with with individuals and other stakeholders to deliver health insurance coverage.
These items (and realated others) may be found at Chilmark Research:Providing perspective on key IT trends in the healthcare sector

Part I outlines quick current summaries (snapshots) of Accountable Care Organizations, Consumer/Member Engagement, and Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX)

Part II outlines the necessary steps of establishing trust, engagement, and collaboration

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Study Finds High-Deductible Health Plans Pose No Special Risks To The Medically Vulnerable

From a 19 April 2011 Medical News Today article

People who are medically vulnerable – those with low incomes or chronic health problems – who enroll in high-deductible health plans are at no more risk for cutting back on needed health care than other people who enroll in the plans, according to a new RAND Corporation study. [Abstract, for suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here] …

…The project examined the first-year experiences of more than 360,000 families nationwide who enrolled in high-deductible health plans offered by their employers from 2003 to 2007. The study, conducted with consulting firm Towers Watson, was published online by the journal Forum for Health Economics & Policy.

“One important issue is whether high-deductible health plans will leave low-income and chronically ill patients with inadequate access to health care,” said Amelia Haviland, lead author of the study and a statistician at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “We did not find greater cut backs for medically vulnerable families. The evidence suggests that non-vulnerable families, low-income families and high-risk families are equally affected under high-deductible plans.”

High-deductible and consumer-directed health plans have been gaining favor as one way to help control health care costs. By 2009, about 20 percent of Americans with employer-sponsored health coverage were enrolled in such plans. A 2010 survey found that more than 54 percent of large employers offered at least one high-deductible health plan to their employees. …
…Medical spending declined among all families enrolled in high-deductible and consumer-directed health plans, relative to similar families in traditional plans, with the reductions among medically vulnerable families generally being similar to that seen among other families, according to researchers.

Researchers note that the medically vulnerable families studied all had a member working full time with benefits and the results here may not hold for families with less financial stability, and in addition that similar reductions may have different health or economic impacts for these vulnerable families. …

April 19, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , | 1 Comment

HHS Secretary Released the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care Report

From the AHRQ  (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) press release

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released the National Strategy for Quality Improvement in Health Care.  The Strategy was called for under the Affordable Care Act and is the first effort to create national aims and priorities to guide local, State, and national efforts to improve the quality of health care in the United States.  The National Quality Strategy will promote quality health care that is focused on the needs of patients, families, and communities.  At the same time, the Strategy is designed to move the system to work better for doctors and other health care providers – reducing their administrative burdens and helping them collaborate to improve care.  The Strategy presents three aims:

  • Better Care: Improve the overall quality, by making health care more patient-centered, reliable, accessible, and safe.
  • Healthy People & Communities: Improve the health of the U.S. population by supporting proven interventions to address behavioral, social, and environmental determinants of health in addition to delivering higher-quality care.
  • Affordable Care: Reduce the cost of quality health care for individuals, families, employers, and government

To help achieve these aims, the Strategy also establishes six priorities, to help focus efforts by public and private partners.  Those priorities are:

  • Making care safer by reducing harm caused in the delivery of care.
  • Ensuring that each person and family is engaged as partners in their care.
  • Promoting effective communication and coordination of care.
  • Promoting the most effective prevention and treatment practices for the leading causes of mortality, starting with cardiovascular disease.
  • Working with communities to promote wide use of best practices to enable healthy living.
  • Making quality care more affordable for individuals, families, employers, and governments by developing and spreading new health care delivery models.

The National Quality Strategy is designed to be an evolving guide for the Nation as we continue to move forward with efforts to measure and improve health and health care quality, and I hope that you will use it to guide your efforts to improve the quality and safety of health care services.  Select to read the National Quality Strategy.  Supporting documents are available on the AHRQ Web site.

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

AHRQ Director Helps Consumers Navigate the Health Care System in a New Advice Column on the Web

AHRQ Director Helps Consumers Navigate the Health Care System in a New Advice Column on the Web

Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., offers advice to consumers in new, brief, easy-to-understand columns.  The columns will help consumers better navigate the health care system.  Select to read Dr. Clancy’s advice column on heart health.


February 19, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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