Promoting oral health

HRSAFrom the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):

Three new publications are available from the HRSA Information Service.

“Access to HIV care: Real results” & live stream of White House observation of World AIDS Day

From the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):

On December 1, 2013, the Health Resources and Services Administration celebrated World AIDS Day to show our support and commitment to those who are living with the disease and to remember those who have died from HIV/AIDS in the United States and around the world.

Learn how five key activities are making a big difference in access to HIV care and treatment – click the infographic below to see it full size.


White House Observation of World AIDS Day live stream
December 2, 1 to 3 pm ET

Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda: Health-Related Information Resources

A new web page, “Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda: Health-Related Information Resources,” is now available from the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) Disaster Information Management Research Center. The resources on this page may be of value to international responders and response planners as well as to U.S. friends and family of people in the Philippines.

NLM has activated the Emergency Access Initiative ( in support of medical efforts in the Philippines and surrounding areas following the devastating typhoon.

Health Literate Care Model

From the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ):

HealthLiterateCareModelIn 2012, Health Affairs published an article proposing a Health Literate Care Model that weaves health literacy strategies into the widely adopted Care Model (formerly known as the Chronic Care Model). The article describes how health care organizations can infuse health literacy into all aspects of planning and operations, including self-management support, delivery system design, shared decision-making support, clinical information systems to track and plan patient care, and helping patients access community resources. The article is by HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, AHRQ researcher Cindy Brach, Linda Harris from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and Michael Parchman who is the Director of the McColl Center for Health Care Innovation.

Now a graphic of the Health Literate Care Model has been developed. Viewers familiar with the Care Model will recognize the health system elements that lead to productive interactions between health care teams and patients and their families. New is set of health literacy strategies that mediate those health system elements to ensure that interactions are not only productive, but are also health literate.

Access the graphic and the article here.

New database from CMS: Medicare Provider Charge Data

The Department of Health & Human Services has created a database that for the first time gives consumers information on what hospitals charge.  The data, on the charges for services that are provided during the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays and 30 common outpatient services, show significant variation across the country and within communities.

For example, average inpatient charges for services a hospital may provide in connection with a joint replacement range from a low of $5,300 at a hospital in Ada, Okla., to a high of $223,000 at a hospital in Monterey Park, Calif.  Even within the same geographic area, hospital charges for similar services can vary significantly. For example, average inpatient hospital charges for services that may be provided to treat heart failure range from a low of $21,000 to a high of $46,000 in Denver, Colo., and from a low of $9,000 to a high of $51,000 in Jackson, Miss.

Access the database here and on the Health Statistics research guide.


New HRSA briefs on rural health

From the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):

Two new health briefs have been published focusing on rural health and Medicare.

“Medicare Payments & Common Diagnoses. Review of 2009 Medicare Output Claims Data. Findings Brief #107” (ORPH00574) presents a summary profile of Medicare billing and reimbursement activity for independent and provider-based Rural Health Clinics (RHCs). It uses data from 2009 Medicare outpatient provider claims on all RHCs that billed Medicare.

Policy brief “Medicare Advantage Enrollment Update (Brief No. 2013-3;  ORHP00573) examines the growth of Medicare Advantage enrollment between 2008 and 2012. It reviews the distribution of market share by the type of plan, including preferred provider organizations, health maintenance organization/point of service, non-private fee for service, and other preferred provider organization plans, and by state.

Policy Brief. Childhood Asthma in Rural-Urban Areas

From the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):

This policy brief assesses rates of lifetime and current asthma for children across the rural-urban continuum for the US. It examines asthma in rural areas adjacent or non-adjacent to urban areas and relates it to variation in measures of air quality, to varying levels of agriculture and animal production, and to other characteristics such as obesity, race/ethnicity, or health insurance. The policy brief includes tables and references.

Opening up government data

From the Department of Health and Human Services’ Digitalk blog:

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Chief Information Officer, Steven VanRoekel released the federal government’s new digital strategy which aims to shift the way government information is accessed and consumed. Instead of focusing on producing a final product, which has been common practice for years, the government will now be making content more accurate, available and secure. One major tool in the information technology tool box being used to achieve this goal is the use of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). 

An API is a set of tools for building software applications. But more importantly, an API makes information more accessible. This is important for two reasons.

First, the use of APIs makes it easier to replicate government information across more places than ever before. APIs enable automatic updates of information when content is syndicated on other websites, while reducing actual person hours currently spent manually updating content.

Second, APIs make information and data easily available to developers, who can create Web and mobile applications that make information increasingly more useful to the public. We have already seen the benefits of liberating vast amounts of data through the Department of Health and Human Service’s Open Government Health Data Initiative, hundreds of applications like My Cancer GenomeHealthGrades,Archimedes’ IndiGO, and the Healthy Communities Network which have been developed for individuals, communities and service providers. HHS has been liberating vast amounts of its data, many of which have APIs and are on

Crisis standards of care – Disaster response

Just out from the National Academies Press is Crisis Standards of Care: A Systems Framework for Catastrophic Disaster Response.

Catastrophic disasters occurring in 2011 in the United States and worldwide–from the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, to the earthquake in New Zealand–have demonstrated that even prepared communities can be overwhelmed. In 2009, at the height of the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, asked the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to convene a committee of experts to develop national guidance for use by state and local public health officials and health-sector agencies and institutions in establishing and implementing standards of care that should apply in disaster situations-both naturally occurring and man-made-under conditions of scarce resources.

Building on the work of phase one (which is described in IOM’s 2009 letter report, Guidance for Establishing Crisis Standards of Care for Use in Disaster Situations), the committee developed detailed templates enumerating the functions and tasks of the key stakeholder groups involved in crisis standards of care (CSC) planning, implementation, and public engagement-state and local governments, emergency medical services (EMS), hospitals and acute care facilities, and out-of-hospital and alternate care systems. Crisis Standards of Care provides a framework for a systems approach to the development and implementation of CSC plans, and addresses the legal issues and the ethical, palliative care, and mental health issues that agencies and organizations at each level of a disaster response should address. Please note: this report is not intended to be a detailed guide to emergency preparedness or disaster response. What is described in this report is an extrapolation of existing incident management practices and principles.

A new tool to track the progress of the health care system

From the Health Affairs blog:

Now, thanks to a new tool launched by HHS, data about the state of the American health care system are at the fingertips of policymakers, providers and the public.  The Health System Measurement Project allows people to track the progress we are making toward providing all Americans with access to affordable, high-quality health care and toward reducing health disparities.

Gathering this information together in one place—and presenting it in a format that’s accessible and easy to navigate—not only makes data easier to understand, but it’s part of the Obama administration’s commitment to transparency and accountability.

The Project allows users to search for information on health care topics they’re interested in, and find regional or national-level data broken down by age, income level, and insurance coverage status. It focuses on ten critical dimensions of our health care system covering the availability, quality, and cost of care, the overall health of Americans, and the dynamism of the system. The Project also examines the evolution of these aspects of our system over time, and assesses the status of these dimensions of the system with respect to subgroups of the population, with a particular emphasis on vulnerable populations.

To read the complete post, click here.