News & Announcements

Promoting Culturally Based Behavioral Health Services for Native Hawaiians (posted 10/07)

Posted: October 07, 2009

`Imi Ke Ola Mau, a community-based partnership and collaboration that provides education, consultation, and advocacy to improve substance abuse and mental health wellness within Native Hawaiian communities, published its first news bulletin. The bulletin highlights efforts and progress of community members in building a community that promotes sharing, provides professional development and leadership opportunities, and highlights relevant partnerships.  To read the news bulletin, click here.

For more information about `Imi Ke Ola Mau, please contact Jackie Hong at jackiehong64@hotmail.com.



Video Game To Help Urban Teens Avoid HIV (posted 10/05)

Posted: October 05, 2009

Creating a video game to help teens avoid sex, drugs and alcohol use-behaviors that could lead to HIV infection is the aim of a five-year, $3.9 million research grant to Yale from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  The study is designed to develop and test an interactive virtual reality-based video game called "Retro-Warriors" that will teach ethnically diverse adolescents how to make healthier choices. The research goes beyond the use of a game for education and proposes to create a world in which the game players can engage in role-playing to learn to avoid risky behaviors that could lead to HIV infection.  To read the news release from Yale University click here.



Strong Public Support for Parity in Healthcare Reform (posted 10/05)

Posted: October 05, 2009

A new poll finds strong public support for including addiction coverage in national healthcare reform, and advocates are calling on the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee to incorporate the core provisions of the Wellstone addiction and mental health parity legislation into health reform legislation so that they apply to all health plans in the U.S.

More than three-quarters of Americans polled by Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap (CATG) of the Open Society Institute support inclusion of addiction treatment in healthcare reform, including 72 percent of Republicans, 86 percent of Democrats, and 72 percent of independent voters.

The poll also found that 70 percent of those polled said they would be willing to pay out of their own pocket for greater addiction treatment coverage. Strong majorities stated that they would pay an extra $2 per month in premiums for improved treatment access; treatment advocates estimate that parity would cost policyholders less than $2 per month. "The poll documents strong bipartisan public support for addiction as a health issue, and therefore including addiction in all aspects of health reform," said CATG director Victor Capoccia, Ph.D.  Fore more information click here.  To download the poll results click here.  To view the poll from CATG's website click here.



Health IT Could Reduce Care Disparities (posted 10/05)

Posted: October 05, 2009

Speaking at a recent conference as part of National Health IT week, Garth Graham, M.D., deputy assistant for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health, suggested that telemedicine and other health information technology (IT) tools could be leveraged to reduce racial and ethnic care disparities, Government Health IT reports.  Graham said that the HITECH Act, which was authorized under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will require providers to collect and share data to better document care disparities.  Specifically, health officials anticipate that the improved data collection will help identify minority and underserved patients and ensure that they are receiving appropriate care. Noting that low-income and minority individuals are more likely to seek health information online, Graham suggested that the government and other stakeholders could leverage Web-based tools to promote various health goals or to disseminate information.  Reducing disparities among minority and underserved populations in urban and rural areas is a top priority of the administration, Graham said.  For more information click here.  To read the Government Health IT article click here.



Medicare to Launch Medical Home Pilot Project (posted 9/30)

Posted: September 30, 2009

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will help fund state-level pilot projects of the "medical home" model, under which a single physician or medical home team tracks and coordinates a patient's required care.  The three-year CMS demonstration, which will launch early next year, is modeled after a program that has been tested in Vermont. States can apply to be a part of the program this fall and will have to demonstrate that a majority of primary care physicians in the area will participate and that their programs will "actually produce better results with lower health care cost," according to Sebelius. 

In Advanced Primary Care models, physicians are given supplemental payments for achieving nationally-recognized quality standards, coordinating care across a multidisciplinary team and monitoring patients’ care outside the physician’s office or hospital using health information technology.  This demonstration will mark the first time Medicare will be a full partner in these experiments and the practice model would, for the first time, align compensation offered by all insurers to primary care physicians.  Instead of each third party payer and public program adopting different approaches, using different ways of measuring performance and creating different payment incentives, multi-payer programs will join together to work toward common goals to improve the delivery of care.  For more information click here.



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