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News from Community Clinic Voice

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The CCI New service has moved to CCI Center for Care Innovations, please join us at: http://www.careinnovations.org

Read more about the Voice transition.

This site will remain available as a research archive through April, 2014, but will no longer be updated. Click the issue bars at right to browse archived news stories by topics.

If you have questions, please contact Sue, sue@careinnovations.org.

Updated: 12 weeks 3 days ago

AF4Q on Benefits of Engaging Patients in Efforts to Improve Care

January 17, 2014 - 10:01
Patient engagement is a vital factor in the health care improvement equation, writes Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q). Integrating patients into efforts to improve care can result in better-quality care and also transforms the culture of health care by changing the relationship between provider and patient.

Hospital-based consumer engagement programs have demonstrated outcomes including: - Reduced length of stay; - Fewer fatal safety errors; - Better identification of “near misses;” and - Improved population health by achieving higher rates of preventive care.

Some other benefits of involving consumers: - They lend credibility to your efforts. - Patients’ feedback helps set priorities for the practice—Richard Engel, MD, Maine Medical Partners, Westbrook Internal Medicine - We had expected that the Patient Advisory Council would help us identify ways to improve the care we provide to patients, but they also want to develop ways to help patients be better partners in their care—Scott Johnson, MD, Oregon Medical Group - Committed consumer partners beget more consumer partners...

Profiles in Innovation: Health Leaders Focus on Underlying Conditions That Determine Community Health

January 17, 2014 - 08:01
Across the country, health providers and public health leaders are developing cutting-edge ways to address the underlying conditions that play a huge role in determining the health of a community and its residents, says an article from Forbes, the first in a series of Profiles in Innovation, weekly interviews with health leaders who are pioneering new methods centered on capturing data, creating partnerships, transforming payment systems, and creating interventions that improve the health of whole populations, as well as individual patients.

The first highlights Robert Kahn, director of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital's Community Health Initiative, which aims to address disparities and improve the health of all the county’s children, not just provide excellent treatment to those who are sick.

Underlying this work is a groundbreaking effort to collect comprehensive data about community conditions and to identify “hot spots” where the incidence of disease and injury is especially high. The data is then used to address those conditions and help prevent injury and illness in the first place. Read more.

KP & Partners Build New PCOR Data Network to Fight Cancer, Heart Disease & Obesity

January 16, 2014 - 12:01
Kaiser Permanente will put its longtime IT expertise to work in building a clinical data network aimed at improving patient outcomes in cancer, heart disease and obesity, HIEWatch reports.

Funded with a $7 million grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the network is one of 29 projects approved for a total of $93.5 million to form PCORnet: the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network, which seeks to improve the efficiency of health research.

This network – called Kaiser Permanente & Strategic Partners Patient Outcomes Research To Advance Learning, or PORTAL – will convene four healthcare delivery systems: Kaiser Permanente, Group Health Cooperative, HealthPartners and Denver Health. It will also include the 11 research centers affiliated with those systems, and the patients, clinicians and operational leaders to develop the infrastructure necessary to conduct comparative effectiveness research. It will develop data systems necessary to conduct studies with patients in three areas: colorectal cancer, severe congenital heart disease and obesity.

During the next 18 months, the Kaiser Permanente-led team will use the PCORI funds to expand and improve its research systems, continue work on standardizing its data for research and participate in developing policies for the national network that govern data sharing and security and protection of patient privacy, officials say...

Minority Physicians’ Major Role in the Care of Underserved Patients: Diversifying the Physician Workforce May Be Key in Addressing Health Disparities

January 16, 2014 - 11:01
Black, Hispanic and Asian physicians have a disproportionate role in the care of disadvantaged patients across the U.S., according to a study from the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Those patients are more likely to be low income people of color, have Medicaid insurance, or not to speak English, groups that historically lack access to medical care. Minority physicians also play a large role in the care of patients with poorer health, according to the study.

Some key findings:

• Asian, Hispanic and Black patients were 19-26 times more likely to be cared for by a minority physician of their same race.


• Low-income patients were 1 1/2 to 2 times more likely to be cared for by Black, Hispanic and Asian physicians...

Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities: Recommendations from RWJF Commission to Build a Healthier America

January 15, 2014 - 23:01
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) convened the Commission to Build a Healthier America in 2008 to help us find better ways to improve the health of our nation.

The Commission’s work sparked a national conversation that has led to a marked increase in collaboration among a wide variety of partners aimed at addressing the many determinants of health. Eager to build upon this progress, RWJF asked the Commissioners to come together again.

This year, the Commission tackled immensely complex matters that underlie profound differences in the health of Americans: experiences in early childhood; opportunities that communities provide for people to make healthy choices; and the mission and incentives of health professionals and health care institutions.

They found that to improve the health of all Americans we must:

• Invest in the foundations of lifelong physical and mental well-being in our youngest children • Create communities that foster health-promoting behaviors • Broaden health care to promote health outside of the medical system

Explore these recommendations.

Oregon Health Study: Social Environment and the Health of Low-income Populations

January 15, 2014 - 09:01
A Neighborhood's Built Environment May Have Numerous Effects on Its Residents' Health

Examining the interaction between social environment and the health of low-income populations in Oregon

Researchers from the Oregon Health Study profiled low-income Portland neighborhoods to uncover links among access to health insurance, health and health care use, and the physical and social conditions of the neighborhoods where people live.

Among the preliminary findings of the study are:

• A neighborhood’s built environment may have numerous effects on residents’ health. For example, the more grocery stores in close proximity to where people live, the lower their blood pressure and body mass index tend to be. A fast food outlet in close proximity to where people live is linked to higher body mass index.


• Low-income neighborhoods vary significantly in the physical and social characteristics that affect health...

Knight News Challenge Announces Award to Harness Power of Health Data; CHCF Prize for Solving Local Health Care Problems

January 15, 2014 - 08:01
Seven projects that harness the power of data and information for the health of communities will receive more than $2 million as winners of the Knight News Challenge: Health. The Foundation made the announcement 1/14/14 at the Clinton Health Matters conference in La Quinta, CA.

The winners underscore the power of data to drive change, focusing on the topic of health— an area essential to people’s lives. They provide data-driven solutions to issues from prescription drug abuse and youth crisis counseling, to better medical resource allocation and connecting communities with local health services. Read more about the winners.

The Knight News Challenge focused on health for the first time, in collaboration with California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) and three other health organizations...

Council On Accreditation Releases New Integrated Care; Health Homes Standards

January 14, 2014 - 17:01
The Council On Accreditation (COA) announced on 1/14/14 the release of its new Integrated Care; Health Homes standards (ICHH, PA-ICHH).

Now available for use, the Integrated Care; Health Homes standards advance practices for systematically coordinating an individual's behavioral and physical healthcare to achieve improved health outcomes.

The standards incorporate prominent research from the field of integrated care and were developed in collaboration with a diverse panel of subject matter experts. Panelists included Mary Cesare-Murphy, former Executive Director of Behavioral Health Accreditation at the Joint Commission, and representatives from the National Council for Behavioral Health and the Center for Health Care Strategies. By incorporating language and practice requirements from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the new standards advance practices for systematically coordinating an individual's behavioral and physical healthcare to achieve improved health outcomes...

$1T Omnibus Spending Plan Maintains ACA Implementation Funding

January 14, 2014 - 09:01
House and Senate budget negotiators on Monday unveiled an omnibus spending bill that would keep the government funded through September, ease some of the sequester's across-the-board spending cuts and maintain spending levels to implement the Affordable Care Act, California Healthline reports. Negotiators on both sides of the aisle appear optimistic that the bill will get enough bipartisan support to pass.

Overall, the spending package would provide $1.012 trillion for discretionary spending for fiscal year 2014, including $491.7 billion for domestic programs. Senate Appropriations Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) noted that the bill provides funding for all 12 subcommittees and expressed optimism that it would avoid government shutdowns.

Specifically, the spending bill would reduce Labor-HHS-Education funding by about $100 million from the fiscal year 2013 enacted level, with labor and education programs taking most of the reductions to offset increases in health care spending. The spending package also would provide $115 million for mental health programs through the "Now is the Time" violence-prevention initiative.

Texting For Better Care Grantees Announced

January 13, 2014 - 09:01
CCI is pleased to announce the grantees for the Texting for Better Care Program!

This opportunity is supported by the Blue Shield of California Foundation and will provide seed funding to develop innovative texting models that have high leverage, will make a significant impact on patient engagement or care delivery and can be spread to other organizations across the safety net.

Many safety net organizations are interested in developing new models for texting with their patients that go beyond patient education. As the demand for services in the safety net continues to grow, providers are looking for ways to increase access and improve their patients’ health outside of a face to face visit. Developing relevant models for texting that truly meet patients’ and providers’ needs is another important step in keeping patients and communities healthy.

These eight organizations to participate in this program; each will receive a $30,000 grant to develop sustainable, scalable texting solutions:

Asian Health Services Golden Valley Health Center LADHS Olive View-UCLA Medical Center Northeast Valley Health Corporation Petaluma Health Center Riverside County Health System Sacramento Native American Health Center San Francisco Department of Public Health/San Francisco General Hospital

How to Use a Patient Portal

January 13, 2014 - 08:01
Orange County Family Physician Dr. Michael Gilbert recognized early on that a patient portal can spur communications between doctors and patients.

His organization – 75 providers in Orange County, Calif.-based St Joseph Heritage Medical Group and 150 providers in their sister organization, St. Jude Heritage Medical Group, have been fully implemented on Allscripts Enterprise E.H.R. since 2005...

ONC's "Person-Centric" Vision for Effective Health Management

January 13, 2014 - 08:01
ONC's Office of Policy and Planning released an issue brief and a blog by Jodi Daniel (@JodiDaniel) that further develop the health IT policy framework for achieving a more “person-centric” vision for effective health management by individuals, their caregivers, and their health care teams by the year 2020, supported by health IT.

The "Person at the Center" issue brief describes the vision, core values and goals of the framework as well current related activities underway at ONC and other organizations. The issue brief also describes opportunities, challenges, and next steps toward achieving the vision.

CA Health Advocates Disappointed in State Budget Proposal Program Cuts

January 10, 2014 - 10:01
1/10/14 - Health care advocates were surprised and disappointed that so many recent cutbacks and program eliminations remained static in Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) proposed budget released Jan 9, 2014, writes David Gorn for California Healthline.

The health care advocacy community saw big cuts during bad times, said Jack Hailey of the not-for-profit Government Action and Communication Institute, and those same cuts are being maintained in good times, for example the 10% rate cuts from Community Based Adult Services and Medi-Cal providers.

That means the cuts likely are a programmatic change, according to Hailey said, rather than emergency reductions made to balance a bad budget.

Carmela Castellano-Garcia, CEO of the California Primary Care Association, seems hopeful the legislature will improve the situation. "Legislators are going to recognize the importance of [reversing] the cuts to traditional clinic programs," she said...

CDC: Just 1 in 4 U.S. Teens Gets Enough Exercise

January 10, 2014 - 09:01
Although U.S. health experts recommend that kids engage in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes daily, only one in four actually does so, according to a report released 1/8/14 by the CDC. About 60 percent of boys surveyed and 49 percent of girls did get in an hour five days or more each week, according to the study. Researchers found that nearly 8 percent of kids did not get in any moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for an hour on any day of the week.

"This means most teens are at risk for poor physical and mental health due to their inactive lifestyles...

ITUP on Looking Forward: Evolution of CA's Health Care System

January 10, 2014 - 08:01
ITUP begins a new series of papers, aiming to set out the options, possibilities and some recommendations for the evolution of California痴 health care system for the rest of this decade. We must clarify where we are going in order to make the best decisions possible on all these issues facing California痴 implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). To do so, we will need a coherent policy direction, not a series of ad hoc decisions, they write.

These papers will be released in installments throughout the weeks leading up to ITUP痴 18th Annual Conference, Feb 11 in Sacramento.

The introductory piece opens by highlighting key decision points that California will face in the near future...

Creating a Culture of Health: RWJF to Release Recommendations for a Healthier America, webinar 1/13

January 9, 2014 - 10:01
Building on its original work from 2009, which helped advance a national movement to address non-medical factors that affect our health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America will release new recommendations on Monday, January 13, 2014, at 11:30 a.m. PT, during a live online event.

During the event featuring Commission Co-Chairs Mark McClellan and Alice Rivlin, Commissioners will offer recommendations covering three key areas:

• Prioritizing investments in America’s youngest children


• Encouraging leaders in different sectors to work together to create communities where healthy decisions are possible


• Challenging health professionals and health care institutions to expand their focus from treating illness to helping people live healthy lives.


Learn more and register.

CHCF Debuts CalQualityCare.org: New Ratings Site on Medical Groups, Hospitals, Patient Experience

January 9, 2014 - 10:01
Trusted, one-stop source for free information on medical groups, hospitals, and long term care in California

CalQualityCare.org is a free, easy-to-use source for information about the performance of medical groups, hospitals, nursing homes, and other long term care services in California. Produced by the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF), a nonprofit foundation, the website offers one-stop shopping and makes it easy to find and compare providers on a range of measures, including patient experience with medical groups and office staff, nursing home staffing levels, and hospital quality, including ER wait times. Users will also find tips and checklists about how to choose a provider, what questions to ask, how to pay for care, and what to do if something goes wrong.

Previously, CHCF operated two websites rating hospitals (CalHospitalCompare.org) and long term care (CalQualityCare.org). The two sites have been combined into a single site, CalQualityCare.org...

KP: Use of Online Patient Portal Improves Medication Adherence

January 9, 2014 - 09:01
Patients with diabetes who used an online patient portal to refill medications increased their medication adherence and improved their cholesterol levels, according to a new study from Kaiser Permanente.

Online patient portals allow users to perform tasks such as scheduling appointments, accessing their health records, viewing their lab test results and emailing their care providers in addition to ordering prescription refills.

The National Institute of Health funded researchers from Kaiser Permanente and the University of California, San Francisco Medical School to follow 17,760 patients with diabetes who received care from Kaiser Permanente in Northern California between January 2006 and December 2010.

Medication non-adherence and poorly controlled cholesterol declined by 6 percent among exclusive users of the online refill function compared to the occasional or non-users.

"This research is an important step in understanding the benefits of portals beyond convenience," said lead author Urmimala Sarkar, MD, an assistant professor at University of California San Francisco...

BSCF on Reducing Income-Related Healthcare Disparities, Improving Patient Satisfaction

January 8, 2014 - 13:01
Low-income California residents tend to be less satisfied with the quality of their health care than those with higher incomes, according to "Leveling the Playing Field", a report by the Blue Shield of California Foundation that finds clear communication and patient-provider connection can level the healthcare playing field.

The survey of 1,500 California residents and found that about 50% of those whose incomes were less than 200% of the federal poverty level rated the quality of their health care as "excellent" or "very good," while nearly 70% of residents with incomes above 200% of the poverty linerated the quality of their health care as "excellent" or "very good".

The report notes that a large portion of low-income residents received their health care from community clinics and emergency departments and typically saw a different physician each visit. As a result, these patients felt less connected to the physicians they saw and less involved in their personal health care decisions.

The report advocates creative, practical approaches such as enhanced patient-provider relationships, team-based care and increased use of communications technology to reduce the health-related disparities dividing low- and higher-income state residents and improve patient satisfaction...

Nonprofit Community Health Centers Launching For-Profit Medicaid Plans

January 8, 2014 - 12:01
The nation’s 1,200 nonprofit community health centers receive federal support to treat millions of uninsured residents, but still face financial challenges. Some are responding by starting for-profit insurance plans, Kaiser Health News reports.

Faced with an increase in the number of Medicaid patients and decisions by various states to shift enrollees into managed care plans, a number of community health centers have already formed Medicaid health plans, including ones in California, Rhode Island and New York.

Health center officials told KHN that the move benefits patients because it gives the centers themselves a financial incentive to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital, makes it easier to resolve disputes over services or benefits, and generates profits that can be invested back into providing care. Read more.