Wednesday, June 28, 2017

State Budget Process Advocate Primer

Understanding the state budget process is important as advocates strategize when, where and how to lend their voices for the causes they care most about. Lately, Community Health Center advocates have been asked to take action on many issues and have continued to rise to the occasion. While we must keep pressure up on the federal issues impacting health centers, we cannot lose sight of the significant state issues too.

This blog post gives advocates a chronological state budget timeline at-a-glance.

  •     February 8, 2017: Governor Kasich introduced the Executive Budget (HB 49)
  •     May 2, 2017: Ohio House passed Substitute House Bill 49 
  •     June 21, 2017: Ohio Senate passed an Amended HB 49
  •     June 27, 2017: Conference Committee released its report
  •     June 28, 2017: House and Senate expected to agree to the Conference Committee Report – this is an up or down vote, no opportunity to amend.
  •     June 30, 2017: Governor will issue his line-item vetoes of HB 49 and sign the legislation into law (the General Assembly can override a line-item veto by three-fifths majority vote of each house)

For policy wonks that want the full, “deep-dive” budget process, we suggest reading the full text of the Legislative Services Commission Guidebook.

Where are we in the process?

As it rests right now, House Bill 49 as delivered to the Governor proposes the following:
  1.     “Trigger” the termination of state funding to provide coverage to Group VIII should the federal government change its level of funding provided to states; 
  2.     Freeze enrollment in Group VIII, commonly known as the Medicaid expansion population, as of July 1, 2018. Estimates show a 72% reduction in coverage for current Group VIII enrollees within 18 months; 
  3.     Require the Ohio Department of Medicaid to re-submit the Healthy Ohio waiver- a waiver that was rejected by CMS in 2015; and 
  4.     Require individuals covered by Medicaid via expansion to be working or in school, unless they fall into one of three narrow exemption categories.  The philosophy espoused in the language does not recognize those who are actively seeking work or those on a waiting list for an alcohol or drug treatment program.

What’s next?

Upon acceptance by the House and Senate of the HB 49 Conference Committee Report, OACHC intends to issue a letter to the Governor, outlining our concerns with the above issues and encouraging him to veto these specific line provisions. Once Governor Kasich issues his line-item vetoes and signs the budget bill into law, the legislature has the remainder of the General Assembly to bring up a vote to override a veto.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Health centers pilot the implementation of a Diabetes Prevention Program

To decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in Ohio, a Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) pilot program is currently being implemented in two Ohio FQHCs. This pilot program is part of a two-year funded effort supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Ohio Department of Health.

The two FQHCs, Health Partners of Western Ohio and Family Health Care of Northwest Ohio, are working closely with CliniSync to establish a bi-directional referral tool to connect with their local hospitals and the Community Health Record. To accomplish these prevention efforts, the health centers are working closely with CliniSync for assistance with back and forth referral tools to connect with their local hospitals and the Community Health Record. These tools will assist with program tracking and with other general patient referrals.

In order to carry out the overall pilot goal, Health Partners of Western Ohio, an FQHC located in Allen County, has applied for and received pending recognition by the CDC to implement a Diabetes Prevention Program within their facility. The structure will include a combination of online and in-person sessions, to make up the yearlong program a program coordinator and trained Lifestyle Coaches. Health Partners of Western Ohio has already identified 30 health center patients initially eligible for the program utilizing the CDC Prediabetes Screening Test.

Family Health Care of Northwest Ohio, an FQHC located in Van Wert County. Family Health Care of Northwest Ohio is working with CliniSync and Van Wert County Hospital to offer the DPP within their own facility. Patients are identified as eligible for the program in accordance with CDC Prediabetes Screening Test. Guided by trained lifestyle coaches from Van Wert County Hospital DPP, participants will meet in-person only. Van Wert County Hospital is also in pending recognition status, and is working towards receiving full CDC recognition for its DPP. Weekly classes began May 15th, 2017 with about 8 patients kicking it off. The health center has identified a total of 45 patients eligible for the program at this time and has started with a small cohort for the first group session.

With increasing prevalence of risk factors for type 2 diabetes among Ohioans, it is imperative that we attempt to prevent as many patients as possible from developing type 2 diabetes by modifying their lifestyle. This pilot project helps identify those patients at risk, refer them to evidence-based interventions, thus, preventing the progression to diabetes mellitus. Ultimately, further upstream efforts to prevent obesity will offer the best method to curb the rising rate of diabetes in our communities. By participating in this program, our demonstration FQHCs hope to show the best way to identify and intervene in the care of patients with pre-diabetes to reduce their rate of progression to full diabetes.  We can then spread what we learn about best practices to all of our other FQHCs across the state.

To read more about this pilot program see:

Health centers working to prevent diabetes and control hypertension

Slips, Trips and Falls...Oh My!

It's National Safety Month!

Injuries are a leading cause of disability for people of all ages – and they are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44. The good news is everyone can get involved to help prevent injuries.

During National Safety Month, we encourage you to learn more about important safety issues like prescription painkiller abuse, transportation safety, and slips, trips, and falls.

Prescription painkiller abuse: Prescription painkiller overdoses are a growing problem in the United States, especially among women. About 18 women die every day from a prescription painkiller overdose – more than 4 times as many as back in 1999.

Transportation safety: Doing other activities while driving – like texting or eating – distracts you and increases your chance of crashing. Almost 1 in 5 crashes (17%) that injured someone involved distracted driving.
Slips, trips, and falls: One in 4 older adults falls each year. Many falls lead to broken bones and other health problems.

More Info

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Lupus Education and Awareness

Did you know? Lupus is estimated to affect 1.5 million Americans.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that triggers inflammation in different tissues of the body and can affect people of all ages (Lupus Basic Fact Sheet - CDC).
The Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter (LFA, GOC), in partnership with RAMA Consulting, Inc. has been awarded funding from the Ohio Department of Health to develop and promote a statewide Lupus Education Initiative to increase the knowledge base and skills of health care and support providers that enables them to effectively identify, diagnose, treat, and manage patients with newly diagnosed lupus, suspected lupus, or established lupus. MetroHealth is coordinating the CME/CEU accreditation for this important initiative.

Join One of These Webinars Today!

  • June 6 - Lupus: Deciphering the Clues CEU Course
  • June 13 - Lupus: Deciphering the Clues CEU Course
  • June 20 - Lupus: Deciphering the Clues CEU Course
  • June 21 - Lupus: Deciphering the Clues CEU Course
 Keep an eye out for more trainings on Lupus here