Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration
Transforming Health Care Through Evidence and Collaboration

Population Health Spotlight - June 2018

Feature

Stopping the Superbug Threat: A Growing Imperative

NIHCM Foundation hosted a webinar to explore strategies to address the growing threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria, including incentives for developing new antimicrobial drugs, resistance containment efforts centered on rapid detection and coordination between facilities, and a stewardship program to identify providers with high and inappropriate antibiotic prescribing patterns. Watch the archive video here.

Events

Reimagining Health Care in America

NIHCM Foundation hosted a Capitol Hill briefing in Washington, DC, featuring forward-thinking leaders who shared insights on transforming health care in the United States, covering complex issues such as drug pricing, population health, and what the future of health care will look like. Watch the recording.

The Opioid Crisis: Treating Addiction and Saving Lives

NIHCM Foundation recently hosted a webinar on strategies to improve access to effective treatments for opioid use disorder—including how telehealth can aid in medication-assisted treatment and other evidence-based treatments, and how to protect patients from sub-standard care and insurance fraud schemes. Watch the recording. Or start with the Part 1 of the series, which focused on preventing opioid abuse.

Will the ACA Survive the Latest Legal Maneuver?

USC Annenberg’s Center for Health Journalism hosted a webinar with support from NIHCM Foundation to examine how the latest legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act could play out and the potential impact on consumers and the health insurance marketplaces. Speakers also discussed how state and local reporters can cover the story. Watch the recording.

Runaway Train: America’s Drug Price Problem

USC Annenberg’s Center for Health Journalism hosted a webinar, with support from NIHCM Foundation, that explored recent trends in drug prices and outlined leading policy ideas for reining in costs. Watch the recording.

Prescription Drug Costs: Can Increased Competition Restrain Prices?

Alliance for Health Policy hosted a webinar, with support from NIHCM Foundation, to look at rising prescription drug prices and discuss opportunities and challenges in the generic and biosimilar market, how past administrations have approached this issue, and the impact on different stakeholders, including consumers. Watch the recording.

Research & Analysis

CDC Report on Rising Pediatric Mortality Rate Due to Injuries

A recent report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics has discovered a significant increase in deaths among youth attributable to car accidents, drug overdoses, homicides and suicides. The study stressed that child injury deaths are approximately 25 percent higher today than they were in 1999, describing this as a “wake-up call that we need to pay attention to the health and well-being of our children.”

New Study Highlights Suicide Rates in U.S.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently released a report that underscores the prevalence of suicide attempts and suicidal ideation across the country. The study shows that rates of suicide attempts, thoughts of suicide, and suicide plans occur, with varying frequency, across all of the metropolitan areas studied—reinforcing the importance of treating suicide as a major public health concern.

New Study on Cigarette Smoking Status Among U.S. Adults Receiving Federal Housing Assistance

Preventing Chronic Disease, a peer-reviewed journal published by the CDC, reported that two-thirds of HUD-assisted residents are either former smokers or have never smoked, but they are still at risk for second-hand-smoke exposure in their homes. The health and financial implications of smoking in subsidized housing are significant and stand to be improved through smoke-free housing policies.

Low-Birthweight Rate Increasing

A recent report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics found that the low-birthweight rate increased between 2014 and 2016. The report also found that between 2006 and 2016, the rate of low birthweight was more than twice as high for non-Hispanic black infants than for non-Hispanic white infants.

Learn more about efforts to reduce low birthweight and premature births through a NIHCM Foundation fact sheet on the collaboration between Anthem Foundation and March of Dimes to scale up interventions. Read the fact sheet.

Community Investments

Educating Teens & Children About Drug Abuse Through Theater Program

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is partnering with the Drug Story Theater to fund the expansion of a nonprofit, peer-education program to more than 60 cities and towns across Massachusetts. The innovative program teaches improvisational theater to teens in recovery from addiction who then educate other students on how addiction starts and why children and teens are particularly vulnerable.

Revitalizing Parks & Outdoor Spaces in Tennessee

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation recently announced the first project in its BlueCross Healthy Place℠ program, which is focused on providing neighborhoods with communal spaces for healthy activities. The organization will invest as much as $5.4 million to revitalize a public park in Memphis and provide ongoing maintenance and care.

Fighting Food Insecurity in Arkansas

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, as part of its 70th anniversary celebration, has committed to providing healthy food and fighting food insecurity in Arkansas. The company’s leadership set a goal to pack 700,000 meals by December 2018 and plans to reach out to schools, businesses and community organizations to help pack the meals and stock food banks and pantries in the state’s most vulnerable areas.

Funding Local Public Health Initiatives in Iowa and South Dakota

Wellmark, Inc.’s 3-Point Play program awarded nearly $90,000 to six communities to initiate or supplement community health improvement projects. The program invites sports fans to nominate their Iowa or South Dakota hometown each time a successful field goal or 3-pointer is made by one of the states’ Division 1 teams. Awards are based on nomination tallies at the end of the season.

Program Updates

NIHCM Journalism & Research Award Winners Announced

NIHCM Foundation recently announced the winners of this year's NIHCM Awards. Established in 1993, the NIHCM Awards recognize the talented journalists and researchers who serve as catalysts for positive change by informing policy making and public discourse. Winning pieces include coverage of the DEA’s role in the opioid crisis, an investigation into drug industry lobbying efforts, and a look at how multiple drugs are being prescribed to manage autism with little understanding of the potential negative interactions.

Investing in Innovations to Provide Affordable Health Care Coverage

Health Care Service Corporation recently announced it has committed $1.5 billion over three years to accelerate efforts to reduce health care costs for its members. The Affordability Cures program will focus resources in five target areas, including collaborative care, healthy communities, and digitally-driven/data-rich actions.

New Campaign to Raise Awareness on Prescription Drug Abuse in Michigan

A large coalition of stakeholders in Michigan is launching the “Be Rx SAFE” campaign. This campaign aims to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and overuse and to encourage prescribers and patients to do their part in addressing the opioid crisis. Partners include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, Michigan Osteopathic Association, the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network and the Michigan State Medical Society.

Promoting Healthy and Sustainable Public Transportation

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has sponsored BLUEbikes, a bike-share program located in metro-Boston. This program expands access to bike-sharing, providing an environmentally-friendly source of public transportation that engages community members in living active lifestyles.

Addressing Mental Health Through Emergency Department Support

In response to the opioid epidemic and the growing need for treatment, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York made a $1 million grant to support Erie County Medical Center Corporation’s future Trauma Center/Emergency Department. The new department will create a dedicated space for patients receiving behavioral health and detoxification services.

Funding Opioid Treatment Grants to Hardest-Hit States

SAMHSA announced the availability of $196 million in grants for opioid treatments and recovery support services. The agency is currently accepting applications for its grant program, which aims to expand access to proven opioid addiction treatment in communities that suffer the most from this epidemic.

Connecting Patients with Health Information Through Amazon Alexa

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan launched the “MI Blue” skill for Amazon Alexa. The voice-activated program will provide Michigan residents with answers to frequently asked health questions, explanations of insurance terms, ideas for healthy family activities and more. The main goal of this partnership is to create an easy and fun way to connect people with the health and wellness information they need.

New Nationally-Focused Professorship in Population Health

Thomas Jefferson University’s College of Population Health recently partnered with Navvis, a population health company, to announced the country’s first nationally-focused professorship in population health. The Navvis Professorship of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University will support the work of a dedicated faculty member with the goal of advancing research to make our health care system more accessible, seamless and engaging so people can more easily participate in their own health.

Internship

NIHCM Foundation is looking for a health-policy enthusiast to join our productive, collaborative office for a Fall 2018 paid internship. Learn more about the opportunity.