Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dept. of Health & Human Services
#CoverageMatters: Getting Good Care for My Physical and Mental Health #CoverageMatters: Getting Good Care for My Physical and Mental Health
In 2013, I got my first assignment for my school newspaper as a photo-journalist at the Boston Marathon. For a few moments, I left my assigned spot to get a coffee with a friend. Then the bombs went off. My assigned spot was rubble. I saw the horror of blood and body parts. Flashbacks and physical distress forced me to eventually leave school.
I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression for many years. It’s even taken a toll on my physical health. After many misdiagnoses, I finally learned that I am living with leukopenia, a decrease in the disease-fighting cells in my blood.
With my post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and physical problems, no coverage was not an option. My mother told me about the Health Insurance Marketplace at, and we found a plan that was perfect for me.
I hadn’t realized that the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires insurers to provide the same level of coverage for mental health and substance use disorder treatment that they do for medical care. This means they can’t charge higher copays or enforce stricter treatment limits for my mental health care.
The Affordable Care Act strengthened these protections by including mental health care and substance abuse treatment among the essential health benefits that all plans sold on the Marketplace must cover.

AHRQ News Now: Director Bindman’s departure, patient safety huddles, opportunities for summer fellows

AHRQ News Now: Director Bindman’s departure, patient safety huddles, opportunities for summer fellows
AHRQ News Now
January 18, 2017, Issue #550
AHRQ Stats: Readmissions for Malnutrition
In 2013, the 30-day hospital readmission rate for patients with malnutrition was 23 per 100 initial hospital stays, compared with 15 per 100 for patients without malnutrition. (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Statistical Brief #218: All-Cause Readmissions Following Hospital Stays for Patients With Malnutrition, 2013.)

Today's Headlines:

Director Andy Bindman Leaving AHRQ
Andy Bindman, M.D., the agency’s director since May 2016, is leaving AHRQ as part of the presidential transition and returning to the University of California San Francisco as a primary care physician and health services researcher. Bindman’s tenure at AHRQ featured an emphasis on the learning health care system, a concept that calls for the increased use of evidence to improve the quality, safety and value of heath care. A centerpiece of that theme is AHRQ’s Comparative Health System Performance Initiative, a project designed to define and share the characteristics of the highest-performing health systems. Bindman’s time at AHRQ was also highlighted by the Sept. 28 AHRQ Research Summit on Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, a milestone event attended by safety experts from across the country. “I'm sad to leave such a wonderful group of colleagues but look forward to observing and finding ways to contribute to AHRQ's ongoing success from afar," Bindman said. Deputy Director Sharon Arnold, Ph.D., will serve as the Agency’s acting director. Access Bindman’s final blog post, “Bringing Moneyball to Medicine.”

“Safety Huddles” Recommended To Promote Electronic Health Record Safety
“Safety huddles” attended by hospital medical teams were shown to be an effective strategy for identifying safety concerns related to electronic health records (EHRs), according to an AHRQ study. About 250 huddles attended over a one-year period by administrative, clinical and information technology staff at a midsized tertiary-care hospital identified 245 EHR-related safety concerns. Most concerns involved "EHR technology working incorrectly" (42 percent), followed by "EHR technology not working at all" (26 percent), "EHR technology missing or absent" (17 percent) and "user errors" (16 percent). The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association recommended safety huddles for improving EHR safety improvement. Access the abstract.

Apply Now for a Summer Fellowship at AHRQ
Several positions are open for Junior Service Fellows in AHRQ’s Summer Intramural Fellowship program. Applicants should hold at least a master’s degree and have a strong interest in working with health services researchers on health care improvement initiatives. Selected fellows will work on administrative protocols, gain access to AHRQ-sponsored datasets and apply statistical analysis methods to broaden understanding of health services research. Topics for this summer’s research projects include work in quality improvement, patient safety and health care disparities. The application deadline is Feb. 10. Access additional information or send questions to

Register For Feb. 8 TeamSTEPPS® Webinar on Models for Team Collaboration
Registration is open for an AHRQ webinar on Feb. 8 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET to highlight how various models of teamwork can be used to implement the agency’s TeamSTEPPS patient safety program. The no-cost webinar will emphasize the importance of knowing how clinical teams are organized as well as the structures’ consequences on team communication and relationships, personal and professional accountability and patient outcomes.

New Research and Evidence From AHRQ

Registration Is Open for Webinar on New Patient Survey Questions
Registration is open for a webinar on Jan. 26 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET to summarize how five new open-ended questions are now available to add to AHRQ’s Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey. The questions provide a way for patients to tell a clear and comprehensive story about their experiences with their health care provider and staff. The questions, called the Patient Narrative Elicitation Protocol, are available for use with the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey. Webinar presenters will review the purpose of the questions, describe the development and testing process and offer recommendations for implementation. Attendees also will hear from an organization that has implemented the questions.

Recent AHRQ Views Blog Post

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Join the RCCSE as we host Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan as our Special Guest Speaker 1/12/2017

Come join
The Rotary Club of Chicago Southeast
as we welcome our Special Guest Speaker
Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan
Thursday, January 12th, 2017
Urban Partnership Bank
7801 S. State Street
Chicago, IL 60619

(But space and food is limited)
To attend, REGISTER NOW,
by clicking the image below:

Monday, January 9, 2017

Reducing Food Waste for Global Sustainability

How do a community of students, administrators, and cafeteria staff work together to reduce the amount of waste to the landfill from their school? In this Spark 101 case challenge, students will review and analyze data from a waste audit to help Sodexo provide recommendations to their client site. To solve the challenge, students will examine various solid waste-types and explore the economic impacts of waste disposal and reduction through a cost/benefit analysis.

A National Call to Action to Make Our Schools' Values Known

At a time when specific groups of students are being targeted, we must ensure that those students specifically know that their schools welcome them and that they will be safe. Nine leading national education organizations to announce a national call to action affirming the right of all students to attend school in an environment free from fear, violence, and intimidation, including those who are black, brown, undocumented, LGBTQ, Muslim, and/or living with disabilities.

NYLC Webinar: Self-Care & Organization

Monday, January 23 at 5:00pm Central
Young leaders have a lot of demands placed on them, which is why self-care is so important. How can you be your best you? Find out in this webinar presented by NYLC Youth Advisory Council member Ananya Singh. No registration required.

President's Environmental Youth Award

Deadline: March 1
Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Up to two winners will be selected from each of 10 regions - one for Grades K-5 and one for Grades 6-12. Each award-winning project will receive a Presidential plaque.