This is Public Health

ACA

Many HealthCare.gov customers will face higher costs next year, the Obama administration acknowledged Thursday in a report that shows average premiums rising modestly.

However, officials said millions of consumers who are currently enrolled can mitigate the financial consequences if they are willing to shop around for another plan in a marketplace that’s becoming more competitive.

Click here to read the full article from NOLA.com/Times-Picayune.

piggybank

The Greater New Orleans Community Health Connection (GNOCHC) is an important program that provides preventive, primary care and mental health services to 53,000 residents in Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard and Plaquemines parishes who would otherwise be uninsured.  This critical program which has been operating since 2010 is in jeopardy of shutting down in August 2014 if the state does not continue the funding required for GNOCHC.

Without GNOCHC, the state will see approximately a $59 million increase in healthcare costs annually as patients seek non-emergency care in emergency rooms at local hospitals where they cannot be turned away.  Additionally, local businesses could be forced to lay off more than 300 employees that support the health care industry, including 121 people working in health care centers. The financial impact of this devastating cut to primary care and mental health coverage in the region is one that we simply cannot afford.

Click here to sign a petition requesting state legislators to save the GNOCHC program.

Louisiana Map

A new website recently launched in Baton Rouge features a high-tech mapping tool, allowing people to delve into data ranging from where parks and libraries are located to crime statistics and educational levels mapped out across the parish.

The new “City Key” website also features neighborhood forums, so people can post events and other communications for residents in their neighborhoods.

Click here for more information from the Advocate.

Health IT

The Crescent City Beacon Community (CCBC) and its numerous partners, convened by the Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI), was recently awarded the 2013 Innovator Award from Healthcare Informatics for its efforts to transform the healthcare delivery system in the Greater New Orleans area.

The CCBC program and the Greater New Orleans Health Information Exchange (GNOHIE) are part of a larger healthcare improvement revolution that demonstrates how health information technology investments and meaningful use of electronic medical records advance the vision of patient-centered care, while achieving the triple aim of better health, better care, and lower costs.

In April 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology chose the Greater New Orleans area as one of only 17 federally funded Beacon communities. Since then, CCBC has advanced several innovative projects, including creating a new patient-centered care coordination system for the New Orleans area, enabled by the GNOHIE, the city’s first Health Information Exchange.

Click here to read the full story.

 

With Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration opting out of the Medicaid expansion offered in the federal Affordable Care Act, New Orleans officials say they are looking for ways to go it alone. Jindal announced his decision after the Supreme Court in June upheld the constitutionality of the health-care overhaul legislation but ruled that states can’t be compelled to expand Medicaid, a key component of President Barack Obama’s goal of providing near universal health coverage by 2014.

If Gov. Jindal chooses not expand Medicaid as allowed through the Affordable Care Act, the City of New Orleans is working with the (federal) Department of Health & Human Services some options to provide universal coverage for residents.

Check out the full story from the Times-Picayune by clicking here.

Generations

Growing your own vegetables at home, also known as “urban farming,” is a money-saving idea that can put more nutrient dense foods at your finger tips. Even if you don’t have much of a garden or backyard you can still grow vegetables successfully in containers. Here’s a list of ten of some of the most vitamin-rich vegetables along with easy ways that you can grow them yourself at home. For more information and helpful resources on urban farming, the New Orleans Food and Farm Network offers garden trainings every third Saturday of the month. Visit www.noffn.org for more information.

wellness-progra

In these tough economic times, some innovative companies are developing wellness programs to help get their employees in shape to help offset costs. After all, a pair of sneakers cost $68.00 versus $98,000 for open heart surgery. According to a Louisiana employee  benefits company, employees who exercise once a week have health care costs of about $680.00 a year compared with about $1300.00 for those who don’t.  Read more on the benefits of employee wellness programs on the bottom-line and click here for tips on creating employee wellness programs.

Nurse Talking To Patient

Healthcare associated infections (HAIs) are a serious and growing concern nationally. HAIs are infections that people get while receiving treatment for another health issue. HAI infections result in over 86,000 deaths per year and result in huge costs to healthcare systems. While a cause for concern, the good news is that these infections are easily preventable if healthcare professionals are diligent about maintaining sterile conditions and closely monitoring patients. Programs advocating for HAI prevention awareness have shown that adopting a few simple measures can reduce the rate of HAIs by two-thirds and save hospitals $200 million in just 18 months. Click here to read more about studies on HAIs and their costs. Click here to read about the Department of Health and Human Services’ plan to reduce the burden of HAIs nationally.

apples

Management of Type 2 diabetes in a traditional healthcare setting can be both time consuming and costly for patients, healthcare providers and insurers alike. While prevention efforts become a greater part of America’s healthcare system, the United Health Group, one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers, is experimenting with a new approach designed to help those diagnosed with pre-diabetes work to prevent developing full diabetes in the first place. Read more about this novel approach that engages YMCAs and pharmacists in an effort to help people lose wait and prevent the development of diabetes.

Tired of the same old leftovers? Ready to toss those vegetable extras like carrot ends and celery tops? Think that stale bread is ready for the trash? Think again. There are a lot of creative ways to put leftovers to good use. This list of 50 ways to never waste food again offers healthy and green ways to stretch your food dollar.