CDC awards public health grants to states, cities   08/16/2012
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today awarded $48.8 million to help health departments in states, territories and five cities - New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Houston - prevent, track and respond to infectious diseases. The total includes $9.3 million to fight healthcare-associated infections and support meaningful use of electronic health records. The awards represent the third year of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act funding for the CDC's Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreements, plus $3.4 million in annual appropriations.
CDC recommends all baby boomers get one-time test for Hepatitis C   08/16/2012
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today recommended that all U.S. baby boomers - the generation born from 1945 through 1965 - get a one-time test for the hepatitis C virus. More than 15,000 Americans, most of them baby boomers, die each year from hepatitis C-related illness, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. CDC estimates one-time testing of baby boomers could identify more than 800,000 additional people with hepatitis C and save more than 120,000 lives. "A one-time blood test for hepatitis C should be on every baby boomer's medical checklist," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D. The virus is transmitted through contaminated blood. The U.S. blood supply has been screened for hepatitis C since 1992.
Study: Visits to retail clinics soar, but small share of outpatient care   08/16/2012
Visits to retail medical clinics increased to nearly 6 million in 2009 from 1.5 million in 2007, a fourfold increase, but still a small share of overall outpatient visits, according to a new study published online in Health Affairs. "Convenience and after-hours accessibility are possible drivers of this growth," the authors said. About 44% of visits occurred on the weekend or during weekday hours when physician offices are typically closed. An estimated 30% of patients were uninsured and 65% reported having no primary care physician. About 48% of visits between 2007 and 2009 were for preventive care (primarily vaccinations), up from 22% between 2000 and 2006.
Reminder: Schedule H Project for tax-exempt hospitals reopened   08/16/2012
The AHA encourages hospitals to participate in year two of its Schedule H Project by submitting a copy of their 2010 Schedule H forms to a secure Ernst & Young website, available through Sept. 15. Participants in the project will receive a report summarizing the response of similar hospitals to questions such as total community benefit levels and percentages, bad debt expenses and community building activities. No participant's name or identifying information will be disclosed as part of any feedback or report. AHA will use the gathered information to advocate for needed improvements to Schedule H and to oppose changes to Schedule H or tax exemption based on misinformation about hospitals' commitment to providing benefits to their community. For more on the Schedule H Project, contact AHA Member Relations at (800) 424-4301. To view last year's Schedule H benchmark report, based on 600 Schedule H forms representing nearly 900 hospitals, visit www.aha.org/ScheduleHBenchmark.