A children’s health education museum in St. Louis has created an on-line community guide to over 100 health services in an effort to help Missouri residents find free or low cost care, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Users can search by type of service needed (such as prescription assistance, vision or emotional health) or can search by location within several state regions and counties. “While a visit to the museum can help motivate children and adults to strive for healthier lives, we recognize there are a number of families throughout Missouri who struggle to afford medical care and other health services,” said Shannon Laine, museum CEO. “By creating the community guide, we aim to help those in need by offering a one-stop resource for those looking to access healthcare organizations, programs and resources at a discounted rate.”
A new Illinois law will cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $100 for a 30-day supply, according to WGN9. The new legislation (SB 667) is expected to impact about 1.3 million people in the state who have diabetes and is considered an important step in lowering out-of-pocket costs for Illinois families.
High prices at hospitals are driving up the cost of healthcare more dramatically in Colorado than elsewhere in the U.S., according to CPR News. Hospital profits increased by more than 280 percent between 2009 and 2018, a state report found, and profit per patient rose to more than $1,500 a patient. The report by the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing also found that uncompensated care in Colorado is at a historic low, and hospital spending on charity care and bad debt has dropped more than $385 million a year since Medicaid expansion in the state.
Connecticut’s Governor signed two executive orders to directly address healthcare costs, primary care spending and quality of care for individuals, businesses and the state government, according to Robert Wood Johnson’s State Network. The orders direct the Office of Health Strategy to establish statewide healthcare cost growth and quality benchmarks in addition to a primary care spending target, and direct the Department of Social Services to improve public transparency of Medicaid costs and quality.
Washington State launched a collaborative regional Accountable Communities of Health (ACH) model in 2015 to improve the health of communities across the state. These ACHs have evolved into independent organizations that are integral to the state’s health system transformation efforts. A 2019 evaluation by the Center for Community Health and Evaluation found this ACH model has largely succeeded in building robust regional coalitions to improve the health of their communities. This blog by NASHP highlights the ACHs’ diverse approaches to improving health.
While Connecticut has led national efforts in public insurance reform, research shows that significant health disparities persist between the state’s residents of color and white residents, reports the CT Mirror. Specifically, Black and Latino residents are more likely than white residents to be uninsured, to die before reaching adulthood and to report being in poor health. Latino adults, in particular, were more than twice as likely as white residents to say they went without seeing a doctor in the past 12 months because of the cost.
While higher inpatient spending in Massachusetts has been linked to rising prices and patient acuity levels, a recent report from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission reinforces previous findings that state residents may not actually be getting sicker, according to Modern Healthcare. Indeed, the report shows that while inpatient acuity grew by over 10 percent from 2013 to 2018, the length of stay increased only 1.5 percent. The two largest health systems in the state and the state’s Health and Hospital Association stated that new or improved EHRs have increased the ability to document diagnostic information and are a major factor in rising acuity levels and risk scores.
Researchers found that spending on public health significantly reduced the maternal mortality rate (MMR) among black mothers and narrowed black-white outcome disparities in Florida, according to Milbank Quarterly. U.S. MMRs reveal considerable racial disparities and exceed those of other developed countries. Moreover, while worldwide MMRs have dropped sharply since the 1990s, the U.S. MMR appears to be rising.
A newly implemented California law limits what consumers owe if they’re transported by an out-of-network air ambulance to what they would pay an in-network provider, reports Kaiser Health News. However, the law won’t protect approximately 6 million consumers whose health plans aren’t regulated by the state, such as self-funded employer-sponsored plans regulated by the federal government. Additionally, federal law prohibits states from regulating the “rates, routes or services” of air carriers, including air ambulances. It is unclear whether California’s law, which doesn’t spell out a payment rate for a health plan, would be preempted by federal law if challenged in court.
Since Keshee Dozier-Smith took over Rural Health Medical Program four years ago, the company has opened three new clinics in Alabama, according to AL.com. This group of South Alabama community health clinics serve some of the state's poorest and most rural communities. Thirteen Alabama hospitals have closed since 2011, with more than half of those once serving rural populations, and of the rural Alabama hospitals still open, almost 90% operate in the red. Dozier-Smith and Rural Health Medical Program provide an example of how to assuage the health access issues impacting rural America.