Category Archives: Conferences
Under the Affordable Care Act, tax-exempt hospitals are now required to conduct a community health needs assessment at least every three years and develop an implementation strategy to tackle the needs identified by the assessment.
At this week’s AcademyHealth meeting in Baltimore, experts moved from the “guess what you have to do” approach to community benefit heard at some public health meetings to some practical strategies hospitals can follow not only to fulfill the letter of the law, but to actually improve community health.
Peter Sartorius, community benefit director of the Muskegon (Michigan) Community Health Project, which brings together several Mercy hospitals in the region, told the audience that costs of the requirement can range from about $12,000 for a staff person to conduct the needs assessment to about $65,000 if a consultancy, such as a public health institute, does the work. Mercy requires that the County Health Rankings, developed through a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, be used by the hospitals in its network as the baseline measures of community health.
Sartorius urged hospitals to choose “collaborative partners” such as community health clinics, United Way agencies and universities, who can help develop the assessment and report and also share in the cost. Others have said that community benefit also offers a ripe opportunity for collaboration between hospitals and public health departments, which already house a lot of data and have similar community needs assessment requirements for voluntary accreditation.
This year’s Health Datapalooza closed out its fourth annual conference today in Washington, D.C. The confab features new and emerging uses of data by companies, startups, academics, government agencies and individuals, and was borne out of a decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to release some of the health data it collects. This year, the conference included a community health track that looked at emerging tools to improve population health, and recommendations from key public health experts on what’s still needed.
>>For more on the conference, read "Dispatches from Datapalooza" and other conference-related updates over at the Pioneering Ideas blog from the Pioneer Portfolio at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The session had a world class moderator at the helm in Edward Sondik, PhD, who recently retired as director of the National Center for Health Statistics who set the stage for the session by telling the standing room only audience that “previously most health data applications were focused on the individual, but now we’re seeing data initiatives that can do a great deal to give us more information at the community level.”
Data-sharing resources for community health presented at the session included:
The Second National Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Meeting takes place September 24-25 in Washington, D.C., and the deadline for abstract submissions is fast approaching. The conference will bring together policymakers, public health professionals, HIA practitioners; community-based organizations; researchers and decision makers from non-health agencies all who may use or rely on the results of HIAs in the fields of planning, transportation, housing, agriculture, energy, environment, and education.
The planning committee for this year’s meeting is currently seeking abstracts for a variety of sessions, particularly from presenters who will be releasing new research. Abstracts, due by Wednesday, May 29, should clearly state what new information will be presented and its impact on a specific sector or the field of HIA more generally.
Aside from the typical poster sessions and presentations, the HIA Meeting will also feature opportunities to dive deep on specific and cross-cutting topics.
The Network for Public Health Law will sponsor the 2012 Public Health Law Conference, with the theme “Practical Approaches to Critical Challenges,” from October 10 through 12, 2012, in Atlanta. Follow NewPublicHealth during the conference for interviews and session updates. Goals of the conference include:
- Examining practical legal approaches to address priority public health issues
- Learning about helpful public health law resources and evidence-based research
- Discussing public health legal questions and answers
- Building partnerships to accomplish public health objectives and foster innovation
According to the Network, target audiences for the conference include attorneys, local, state, tribal and federal public health officials and practitioners, policy-makers, advocates and academics and researchers.
NewPublicHealth spoke with Dan Stier, director of the Network for Public Health Law about the Network’s accomplishments since its founding two years ago, and upcoming goals.
>>BONUS: Read our earlier Q&A with Dan Stier, offering a sneak preview of what's to come at the 2012 Public Health Law Conference.
NewPublicHealth: How much has awareness of the Network grown since you launched in 2010?
Dan Stier: The volume of the requests has grown greatly, as have the complexity and timeliness of the requests. The fact that people are becoming increasingly aware of us means that we really are addressing issues in real time. Dramatic current examples include legal questions on public health services related to West Nile virus and Hurricane Isaac in real time.
>>Read an interview with James Hodge of the Network on legal questions on these and other recent public health crises.
Other requests include longer-term issues like shared services among local health departments. State and local health departments face budget cuts and so they are figuring out ways to do things more efficiently and economically, and oftentimes, that involves shared service agreements between local health departments. We’ve seen much more activity along those lines. More recently we’ve gotten an increasing number of questions on maternal and child health, particularly with respect to the provisions relating to children in the Affordable Care Act, so we now advertise that as another area of specialty.
NPH: How have people become aware of what the Network offers?