The number of Americans affected by the opioid epidemic has reached staggering rates. In 2016, more Americans died from drug overdoses than died through the entirety of the Vietnam War. Fortunately, there is an effective, evidence-based way of treating opioid use disorder (OUD) – treatment with the medications methadone and buprenorphine, which is termed medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Nearly 4.7 million Americans, including 1.3 million new enrollees, signed up for health care through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces, and polling indicates the public has a favorable opinion of the law. Nevertheless, after failing in their full-scale attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration continue to put individual pieces of the legislation at risk of elimination.
Tax incentives can be an effective legal intervention for advancing the public’s health. In this Q&A, Mathew Swinburne, Associate Director at the Network's Eastern Region Office, discusses ways in which tax deductions are being used to address a key barrier to improving the health status of ex-offenders: the inability to secure employment because of conviction status.
New guidelines released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in October clarify when and how healthcare providers can share a patient’s health information with family members, friends and legal representatives of those who are struggling with opioid addiction. The HIPAA Privacy Rule is often cited as a reason to refuse access to a patient’s health information, sometimes appropriately, but often not. Understanding when and how healthcare providers can share patient information with family members, friends, and legal representatives without violating the HIPAA Privacy Rule is therefore a critical component to addressing the opioid crisis and providing care to those affected.
Limited numbers of providers, cost of care, limited time, and limited mobility all reduce a person’s ability to access basic care. One way states have begun to address this issue is through scope of practice adjustments for pharmacists, granting those pharmacists with proper training the ability to become a provider themselves and prescribe certain drugs to certain patients that may otherwise be unable to obtain care.
On May 1, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made an announcement difficult to stomach: certain school nutrition standards implemented under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 would be scaled back. As American kids consume as much as half their daily calories at school, reforming school-provided meals can meaningfully impact childhood obesity, which affects over 12.7 million kids and adolescents in the United States.
Guided by a growing body of multidisciplinary research, policymakers are increasingly recognizing the role that adverse childhood experiences play in health and well-being, and are beginning to champion a burgeoning number of trauma-informed policy approaches across the nation.
Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. One often-overlooked issue in crash prevention is tire maintenance. A 2012 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 12 percent of crashes among inexperienced drivers were tire-related, while only 5 percent of crashes among experienced drivers were tire-related, suggesting that inexperienced drivers may lack knowledge about safe vehicle maintenance. Efforts to standardize and promote driver education across the country may be one way to address this issue.
Numerous public health practitioners and researchers have been assessing and monitoring the health effects of the changing climate. Two recently published books have the potential to help the public health sector continue to move from assessing climate interventions to implementing them as effective policy. Both books come at a critical time in the evolution of the public health response to climate change.
Community paramedicine is an emerging and rapidly evolving field that can help improve health care access in rural communities. Community paramedicine involves Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers operating in expanded roles in an effort to reach underserved populations, and can be particularly impactful in rural communities as a way to reach geographically-isolated areas.