Jul 10, 2017, 2:00 PM, Posted by
Strong partnerships spanning an array of sectors—including public health, housing, education, transportation and others—are the bedrocks of healthy communities. How do they evolve and what makes them successful?
When Mercer Medical Center in Trenton, New Jersey, planned to close its doors more than 10 years ago, many in the community were alarmed by the likely impact on health services available to the city’s large, low-income population. Encouraged by Mayor Douglas Palmer and the State Department of Health, two hospitals, a federally-qualified health center, and the city health department came together to consider how best to meet the needs of Trenton residents.
At the time, many of these providers knew one another more as competitors than as collaborators. But they recognized a shared commitment to Trenton’s most vulnerable residents and set aside potential rivalries to form the Trenton Health Team. Today, that team links more than 60 behavioral, social service, educational, and faith-based organizations to pursue better community health outcomes.
View full post
Jun 15, 2016, 9:00 AM, Posted by
Doctors and patients want to talk transparently about the costs and value of health care, but it’s easier said than done.
Health care is too often the most stressful part of the American family's budget. In a 2015 survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 42 percent of respondents reported that it is somewhat or very difficult to afford health services. This difficulty ranked higher than monthly utilities, housing, food expenses and transportation costs. In the same survey, more than half of respondents said that making information about the price of medical appointments, procedures and tests more available to patients should be a “top health care priority” for the President and Congress.
Rising out-of-pocket costs helped shape these attitudes, and they are hitting patients in the U.S. at all levels. For people with job-based insurance, the number of individuals with plan deductibles—and the size of those deductibles—has grown rapidly in recent years. In 2015, the rate of covered workers enrolled in a plan with an annual deductible of $1,000 or more for single coverage was 63 percent, a significant jump from 10 percent in 2006. This year, deductibles in marketplace plans are even higher than employer insurance, averaging $3,064 for coverage in the popular "silver" tier. For low-income marketplace enrollees, they might qualify for cost-sharing reductions, but they aren’t completely shielded from out-of-pocket expenses.
How can we lower the burden of health care costs in the U.S.?
View full post
Mar 21, 2016, 12:00 PM, Posted by
A new survey aims to reveal how communities across the nation are using collaboration to safeguard health.
The health and well-being of a community is far too complex to be the responsibility of the health care sector alone. New Hampshire’s Greater Monadnock region has figured that out. Their Council for a Healthier Community is working with local organizations, businesses, community leaders, and citizens to make this region the healthiest community in the nation by 2020. As part of that ambitious goal, the coalition is exploring a Living Wage campaign, since income and health are inextricably linked. Healthy Monadnock has enrolled employers in the cause, and is encouraging residents to patronize those companies and organizations who support a living wage.
The Greater Monadnock region is just one example of the growing number of cross sector collaborations emerging across the nation, in which the health care sector is just one player on a larger stage. In these collaborations businesses, government agencies, community groups, and schools work together with traditional health care institutions to build a Culture of Health for all, no matter where they live, work, learn, or play.
View full post
Oct 19, 2015, 8:00 AM, Posted by
Emmy Ganos, Tara Oakman
Healthcare professionals, patients, and allies across the nation are banding together to promote an understanding of what good medical care can and should be with RightCare Action Week.
Sometimes, more is definitely better. Getting that extra hour of sleep can greatly benefit your mind, body and day. Cars that get more miles per gallon are cheaper and cleaner to run. And who would argue against more vacation time?
But when it comes to health care, more is not always better. Unnecessary diagnostic tests, treatments or hospitalizations can drive up health care costs, and in some cases, actually harm patients. For example, excess imaging increases exposure to radiation. Overuse of screening and diagnostic tests can lead to stressful false positives. And unnecessary treatments, drugs or procedures increase the risk of serious complications. In the larger picture, the estimated $200 billion spent on inappropriate care each year diverts resources away from services that are actually needed both within and outside of the health system—in mental health, housing, and infrastructure, for example—that can help all Americans lead healthier lives.
View full post
Jan 27, 2015, 10:54 AM, Posted by
It's a brand new year and like many Americans, I'm thinking about New Year’s resolutions—specifically, fitness and exercise resolutions. People who know me well know how I feel about working out (Hint: I don't like it. Or do it). But I have lots of good reasons for wanting to start. I turned 30 this year, so I’m starting to age out of that Young Invincible demographic (#GetCovered), and realizing that I am, in fact, “vincible.” As I get older, and watch my parents age, it's starting to hit home that getting to a particular shape or size really isn't the point. The point is getting my heart and body in the best shape I possibly can.
So this year, New Year’s resolution time feels a little different. And as I start thinking about making some changes, I’m reflecting back over the last two Data for Health listening sessions I attended in Charleston and San Francisco. As a result, I’ve decided that it’s time to think about setting my New Year’s resolutions in an entirely different way--by using data.
View full post