Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration
Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration
HomeCategoriesPopulation Health Spotlight - August 2017

Population Health Spotlight - August 2017


Cancer Care: New Frontiers in Delivery & Payment

NIHCM Foundation will be hosting a webinar on September 8 to explore new ways to deliver and pay for cancer care. Learn more and register now.


Maternal Health in Crisis: Ensuring Access to Maternity Care Providers

NIHCM Foundation and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs hosted a webinar looking at shortages in maternity care providers and at promising solutions to address the problems. Slides are available, and a recording will be posted soon.

Medicaid Undone? Covering the Safety Net’s New Future

USC Annenberg’s Center for Health Journalism hosted a webinar, with support from a NIHCM Foundation journalism grant, to offer a primer for understanding potential changes to Medicaid, including state and federal efforts to rein in spending and tighten eligibility requirements. Watch the video.

Where Medicaid Stands: From the AHCA to State Waivers

The Alliance for Health Policy hosted a webinar, with support from a NIHCM Foundation journalism grant, with experts in state and federal health policy to discussing the impact of potential changes to Medicaid. Watch the video.

Podcast on Population Health

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York has released several new and free podcasts through its Point of Health series, with topics including the relationship between community health and economic growth, the escalating costs of prescription drugs, and the future of the ACA. Listen here.

Research & Analysis

The Concentration of U.S. Health Care Spending

NIHCM Foundation released a new chart story examining the latest data showing the extreme concentration of health spending—5 percent of the population accounts for nearly 50 percent of spending—and the traits and sectors associated with high levels of spending. View the charts.

The Burden of Rising Health Spending

NIHCM Foundation released a new chart story on out-of-pocket spending for health care and found, for example, that out-of-pocket spending actually decreased as a share of total spending between 2006 and 2015—and that spending for all categories of health care is on the rise, everyone is bearing a share of the burden, and alleviating that burden will require strong resolve to control overall health spending. View the charts.

Alzheimer’s Deaths Are on the Rise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report showing that Alzheimer’s deaths rose by more than 50 percent from 1999 to 2014—and will likely continue to rise—and that a larger portion of patients were dying at home in 2014 than in 1999.

Historic Low for Teen Tobacco Use

The CDC reported that tobacco use among middle and high school students in the U.S. reached a historic low in 2016, falling from 4.7 million in 2015 to 3.9 million in just one year.

Community Investments

EPA Recognizes a Health Plan Asthma Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has named Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) as a winner of the 2017 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management for its asthma improvement programs. HCSC, in its partnership with the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, has implemented these comprehensive, community-based programs at more than 120 clinics, reaching over 435,000 individuals, reducing hospitalizations and emergency room visits, and achieving a cost savings of $2.40 per $1 spent. Read NIHCM Foundation’s fact sheet on HCSC’s asthma management program.

Reducing ED Visits by Reaching Patients at Home

Since 2016, the Community Paramedicine Program at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico has helped more than 1,100 Medicaid members reduce emergency room visits and ambulance use by almost 62 and 63 percent, respectively, avoiding an estimated $1.7 million in medical costs for the state’s Medicaid program. The program allows community paramedics to visit patients at home and help direct them to proper care, if needed.

Investing in Early Chronic Disease Prevention in Texas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) announced a new $10 million community investment program to improve the prevention and early detection of chronic diabetic kidney disease (CKD) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), two health issues greatly impacting the life span, productivity and quality of life of Texans. BCBSTX will award up to $2 million yearly to current and new community-based organizations working to reduce CKD and COPD.

Addressing Behavioral Health Solutions in Washington and Alaska

Premera Blue Cross awarded $1 million in grants as part of its new Social Impact Program, which launched earlier this year to support behavioral health solutions with a focus on underserved communities. This funding round included $175,000 to support the Rising Strong program for families at risk of child neglect due to alcohol and substance use disorder.

Grants to Address Opioid Abuse in Michigan

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, alongside several community partners, has allocated $455,000 for an opioid and prescription drug initiative grant program. The partnership will provide one-time grants to projects aimed at reducing opioid abuse in Michigan.

Bringing Together Stakeholders to Combat Opioid Abuse

The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey recently awarded a $250,000 grant the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey to fund a series of forums designed to help prevent opioid abuse and share best practices. The forums bring together local prevention and treatment organizations, law enforcement and government, and medical community leaders. Learn more about the initiative.

Program Updates

Partnering with CMS to Improve Primary Care

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services selected Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York and Independent Health to implement an innovative primary care initiative in the Greater Buffalo Region. The five-year initiative is designed to help primary care practices support patients with serious or chronic diseases, deliver preventive care, engage patients in their own care and increase care coordination.

Swim Lessons to Prevent Drowning Accidents in North Carolina

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the YMCA have partnered to expand drowning prevention efforts in eight North Carolina counties. Efforts include free swim lessons to children in Title I schools and transportation to the YMCA locations.

Improving Maternity Support Through Telehealth Visits

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia is expanding its existing maternity support system to include telehealth visits with certified lactation consultants for all eligible State Health Benefit Plan members.

Expanding Air Ambulances in Montana

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana and Life Flight Network will expand air ambulance coverage in Montana, which will increase medical transportation options available to members, particularly in southwest Montana.


NIHCM Foundation is looking for a health policy enthusiast to join our productive, collaborative office for a Fall 2017 paid internship. Learn more about the opportunity.