Survey: Outreach, Medicaid expansion key to insuring more young adults   08/21/2013
More than 80% of the estimated 15.7 million young adults who spent some time uninsured in the 12-month period ending in March will be eli­gible next year for subsidized insurance or Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a new Commonwealth Fund survey. However, only a quarter of young adults were aware in March of the new state marketplaces that will provide access to these insurance options. “Clearly, outreach will be critical to ensure that young adults’ awareness grows over time,” the survey report states. “The major risk to young adults gaining health insurance, however, is the reluctance of many state gov­ernments to expand their Medicaid programs. With nearly 30% of uninsured young adults living in households that are below poverty and thus excluded from both the Medicaid expansion and subsidized pri­vate plans, states that do not take action will be jeop­ardizing the ability of many of their residents to obtain affordable health care.”
AHA strategies for 'Ensuring a Healthier Tomorrow' presented at CDC event   08/21/2013
AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock and Immediate Past Chair Teri Fontenot, president and CEO of Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge, LA, yesterday addressed a Director’s Seminar at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, where they shared with senior CDC officials and others recommendations from the AHA Board of Trustees’ March report “Ensuring a Healthier Tomorrow.” While overall growth in health care spending has moderated in recent years, costs are expected to continue to rise due to changing demographics and the aging baby boom generation, the growth in chronic illness, advances in medical technologies and the structure of our health care system, they noted. The AHA report recommends policymakers focus on two interconnected strategies to improve the health care system and ensure the financial viability of the nation's health care programs while tackling the federal debt and deficit: promote and reward accountability, and use limited health care dollars wisely.
CDC awards $75.8 million for public health workforce, disease surveillance   08/21/2013
The Centers for Diseases control and Prevention has awarded $75.8 million to health departments in all 50 states, six metropolitan areas and eight territories or affiliates to “strengthen core epidemiology and laboratory capacity needed to track and respond quickly to a variety of infectious diseases.” Provided through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement, the grants will help fund more than 1,000 full- and part-time health department positions – such as epidemiologists, laboratorians and health information systems staff. “CDC funding provided through the ELC platform is essential to strengthening national infectious disease infrastructure,” said Beth Bell, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. “With many infectious diseases first identified at the local level, this funding ensures that state health departments are able to effectively prevent, detect and respond to such public health threats.”
CDC: Lyme disease more common than thought   08/21/2013
More than 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year, but the actual number of those with the tick-borne disease could be much higher according to data released this week by the agency. An early estimate based on findings from three ongoing CDC studies found that the total number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease is about 300,000, roughly 10 times higher than the yearly reported number. “We know that routine surveillance only gives us part of the picture, and that the true number of illnesses is much greater,” said Paul Mead, M.D., chief of epidemiology and surveillance for CDC’s Lyme disease program. “This new preliminary estimate confirms that Lyme disease is a tremendous public health problem in the United States, and clearly highlights the urgent need for prevention.” CDC emphasized the use of repellants and tick checks but also called for a “broader approach to tick reduction, involving entire communities, to combat this public health problem.”