Population Health Spotlight - November 2018
The Health Impact of Loneliness: Emerging Evidence and Interventions
NIHCM Foundation recently hosted a webinar to examine the health impacts of—and differences between— loneliness and social isolation. Speakers noted the link between loneliness and chronic disease risk and identified approaches to connect lonely or isolated individuals with the appropriate resources. One featured initiative— CareMore’s Togetherness Program – takes a comprehensive approach to combat loneliness among seniors through weekly phone calls, home visits and community-based programs. Watch the recording.
Preventing Chronic Diseases: Eliminating Obstacles to Healthy Living
NIHCM Foundation hosted a webinar that explored strategies for preventing chronic diseases and considered the social and environmental drivers of poor health. Watch the recording.
Potential Midterm Election Implications for Health Care
Alliance for Health Policy hosted a webinar, with support from NIHCM Foundation, that examined the role of health care in the upcoming elections and the potential health policy implications for Congress, the administration, and state governments. Watch the recording.
How Our Environment Gets Under Our Skin
USC Annenberg’s Center for Health Journalism hosted a webinar, with support from NIHCM Foundation, that covered key insights from research on the ways the experience of geography and discrimination affect physiology and health, explained the implications for public policy, and explored how journalists can best report on these health determinants. Watch the recording.
Health Care in the Courts
Alliance for Health Policy hosted a webinar, with support from NIHCM Foundation, that examined the landscape of impending health policy legal decisions, including constitutional challenges to the ACA, disputes surrounding risk corridor programs, challenges to Medicaid program work requirements, and disputes around Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives. Watch the recording.
Research & Analysis
Cardiovascular Disease: Preventable Yet on the Rise
According to a new CDC report, heart disease and stroke—while preventable—remain leading causes of death and healthcare spending in the US. The report found that more than 1,000 Americans died every day in 2016 from heart attack, stroke and other heart-related events—and that 80% of premature heart disease and strokes are preventable. Many people, especially middle-aged adults, are not taking preventive steps such as being physically active, quitting smoking, managing their cholesterol and high blood pressure, and taking aspirin.
Raising Obesity Rates Concentrated in the South
According to new CDC data, seven states –Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia—now have adult obesity rates of 35 percent or higher. This is up from zero states five years ago. The CDC accompanied the data with a call to implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce obesity prevalence, with steps including healthy eating, better sleep, stress management and physical activity.
Investing in Hunger Relief Programs
In North Carolina, one in seven people struggle with hunger. To address this issue, BCBS of North Carolina recently awarded $2.6 million in grants to three non-profits that fight food insecurity across the state: Food Bank of Central & Eastern NC, Meals on Wheels of North Carolina (MOWNC) and MANNA Food Bank. These programs provide individuals with better access to healthy foods, which can ultimately increase overall state health.
Promoting Health Equity Through Business
BCBS of Minnesota recently launched a campaign, “Health Equity: Make it Your Business,” encouraging business and health care leaders to see inequities and take strides to address them. The campaign advances health equity in an effort to save lives, save money, increase productivity, and improve the health of individuals in Minnesota. One component of the campaign is a series of videos that discuss factors related to health inequity, like the difference between equity and equality, and how factors like race, income, and gender identity can impact health.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic in Primary Care Practices and Emergency Rooms
The Florida Blue Foundation announced that Jacksonville-based LSF Health Systems will receive a three-year, $2-million grant to fund a pilot project intended to fight the state’s opioid overdose epidemic. The pilot program will train primary care physicians and ER personnel on how to implement a protocol designed to help health care professionals find and treat patients with substance abuse disorders.
Funding to Support Housing and Mental Health Services for Homeless Youth
Premera Blue Cross recently announced $250 million in investments over five years across Washington and Alaska to help stabilize the individual market, improve access to care in rural areas, and support local communities in their efforts to address the behavioral health issues impacting their residents. Grants included $1 million to Covenant House Alaska to provide housing and behavioral health services for homeless youth, and $175,000 to Catholic Charities of Spokane to begin fundraising efforts for a multi-million dollar project to help families at risk of child neglect due to alcohol and substance abuse.
Working Together to Combat NJ's Opioid Epidemic
Horizon BCBS and the US Drug Enforcement Administration are teaming up to address New Jersey’s Opioid Epidemic. Drug enforcement officials and community leaders met together in at an all-day event in Newark, New Jersey to think of diverse strategies to combat the opioid crisis that are centered on preventive interventions in the home, in the community, in schools and in the workplace.
Preventing Opioid Overdoses in the Workplace
BCBS Massachusetts is the first health plan in the state to provide opioid toolkits meant for the workplace. They will also provide employees with onsite Narcan training and provide an online opioid resource center.
Virtual Well-Being Program
BCBS Michigan will launch a new virtual well-being program in January 2019 that will allow employers and members access to weekly live webinars and health resources. The webinars will be hosted by a virtual well-being coordinator who will cover topics from financial well-being to meditation and provide downloadable content for users.