“FLU SHOTS – 2010″

August 27th, 2010

CDC Officials Urging Public To Get Flu Shot Sooner This Year.

The Wall Street Journal (8/25, Mckay) reports that this year, CDC and other health officials are urging Americans to get the flu shot, which contains protection against three strains, most notably, H1N1, early. CDC Director Thomas Frieden stated, “I think last year will be a plus rather than a minus in terms of vaccine coverage,” and added that the agency is working on new technology that will allow vaccines to be produced faster. Nevertheless, CDC officials are aware that some people are still hesitant to get the vaccine because of concerns that it was not adequately tested, or because they believe H1N1 is not a major health threat.

(adapted from E.M.Today)

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Promoting Prevention through the Affordable Care Act


NEJM | August 25, 2010 | Topics: Implementation, Public Health
Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H., and Kathleen G. Sebelius, M.P.A.

Too many people in our country are not reaching their full potential for health because of preventable conditions. Moreover, Americans receive only about half of the preventive services that are recommended1 — a finding that highlights the national need for improved health promotion. The 2010 Affordable Care Act2 responds to this need with a vibrant emphasis on disease prevention. Many of the 10 major titles in the law, especially Title IV, Prevention of Chronic Diseases and Improving Public Health, advance a prevention theme through a wide array of new initiatives and funding. As a result, we believe that the Act will reinvigorate public health on behalf of individuals, worksites, communities, and the nation at large (see table) — and will usher in a revitalized era for prevention at every level of society.

Major Sections Related to Prevention in the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
First, the Act provides individuals with improved access to clinical preventive services. A major strategy is to remove cost as a barrier to these services, potentially opening new avenues toward health. For example, new private health plans and insurance policies (for plans or policy years beginning on or after September 23, 2010) are required to cover a range of recommended preventive services with no cost sharing by the beneficiary. These services include those rated as “A” (strongly recommended) or “B” (recommended) by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), vaccinations recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and preventive care and screening included both in existing health guidelines for children and adolescents and in future guidelines to be developed for women through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Examples of covered services include screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer; screening for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) for persons at high risk; alcohol-misuse counseling; depression screening (when systems are in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and follow-up); and immunizations.
The prevention theme also affects individuals covered by public insurance programs. A number of policy changes will be phased in over time. For example, starting January 1, 2011, Medicare will cover, without cost sharing, an annual wellness visit that includes a health risk assessment and a customized prevention plan. Full coverage of many USPSTF-recommended services will also be available under Medicare with no cost sharing. Similarly, in 2013 and beyond, state Medicaid programs that eliminate cost sharing for preventive services recommended by the USPSTF or ACIP may be eligible for enhanced federal matching funds for providing those services.
Second, the law promotes wellness in the workplace, providing new health promotion opportunities for employers and employees. For example, the Act authorizes funds for grants for small businesses to provide comprehensive workplace wellness programs. The law also requires the secretary of health and human services to assess existing federal health and wellness initiatives and directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to survey worksite health policies and programs nationally.
Third, the Act strengthens the vital role of communities in promoting prevention. New initiative opportunities are designed to strengthen partnerships between local or state governments and community groups. For example, new Community Transformation Grants promise to improve nutrition, increase physical activity, promote smoking cessation and social and emotional wellness, and prioritize strategies to reduce health care disparities. Also, in further recognition that immunization is a foundation for public health, the Act authorizes states to use their funds to purchase vaccines for adults at federally negotiated prices. Grants for states will also support demonstration projects to improve vaccination rates.
Fourth, the Act elevates prevention as a national priority, providing unprecedented opportunities for promoting health through all policies. For example, a newly established National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council, involving more than a dozen federal agencies, will develop a prevention and health promotion strategy for the country. The council will build on the foundation of preceding prevention initiatives, such as Healthy People (which has set the country’s health promotion and disease prevention agenda for the past 30 years),3 as well as efforts of expert groups such as the USPSTF, the Community Preventive Services Task Force, and the ACIP. A new Prevention and Public Health Fund, with an annual appropriation that begins at $500 million in fiscal year 2010 and increases to $2 billion in fiscal year 2015 and beyond, will invest in a range of prevention and wellness programs administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. Initial funds have already been invested in strengthening public health infrastructure, prevention research, surveillance, integration of primary care into community-based behavioral health programs, HIV prevention, obesity prevention, and tobacco control. Reinvigorated planning will also involve a national strategy to improve the quality of health care, improved data collection on health disparities,4 and authorization of a host of other new programs. Most newly authorized programs await appropriations and future funding as available through the annual budget process (exceptions are noted in the table).
The Act authorizes heavy investment in bolstering a primary care workforce that can promote prevention. For example, the law appropriates up to $1.5 billion for the National Health Service Corps between fiscal years 2011 and 2015 to place health care professionals in underserved areas, complementing other new investments for community health centers administered through HRSA. To guide future placements of health care professionals, a new National Health Care Workforce Commission will analyze needs.
Since tobacco dependence and obesity represent substantial health threats, the Act addresses these specific challenges in a number of ways. For example, the directives for the new health plans established after September 23, 2010, also include coverage, with no cost sharing, of tobacco-use counseling and evidence-based tobacco-cessation interventions, as well as obesity screening and counseling for adults and children. Starting this year, pregnant women on Medicaid will receive coverage, without cost sharing, for evidence-based tobacco-dependence treatments; in 2014, states will be forbidden from excluding from Medicaid drug coverage any pharmaceutical agents for smoking cessation, including over-the-counter medications, that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. To promote healthy weight for populations, the Act appropriates funds for fiscal years 2010 through 2014 for demonstration projects to develop model programs for reducing childhood obesity. And on the policy front, menu-labeling provisions require the disclosure of specified nutrient information for food sold in certain chain restaurants and vending machines. Collectively, these complementary actions in the clinic and the community will benefit individuals as well as populations.
In short, to prevent disease and promote health and wellness, the Act breaks new ground. We believe the law reaffirms the principle that “the health of the individual is almost inseparable from the health of the larger community. And the health of each community and territory determines the overall health status of the Nation.”3 Moving prevention toward the mainstream of health may well be one of the most lasting legacies of this landmark legislation.
This article (10.1056/NEJMp1008560) was published on August 25, 2010, at NEJM.org.
Disclosure forms provided by the authors are available with the full text of this article at NEJM.org.
Source Information
Dr. Koh is Assistant Secretary for Health, and Ms. Sebelius is the Secretary for Health and Human Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC.
References
1. McGlynn EA, Asch SM, Adams J, et al. The quality of health care delivered to adults in the United States. N Engl J Med 2003;348:2635-2645
2. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, 23 March 2010.
3. Koh HK. A 2020 vision for healthy people. N Engl J Med 2010;362:1653-1656
4. Siegel B, Nolan L. Leveling the field — ensuring equity through national health care reform. N Engl J Med 2009;361:2401-2403


“JOINT VENTURE”©

August 10th, 2010

Remember moments, not days,

When health-care became your undying goal –

Remember moments, not days,

As service to injured or ill became your soul.



Emergency Poetry

March 28th, 2010

POETRY BY DRJPWINTER

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TO SEASONS OF COEUR

drjpwinter

As young love brilliance faded,
Storms of passion now jaded -
As friendship salvage tenets stated,
Love and the spirit must be traded.

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“TO FAMILIES OF EMERGENCIES”

drjpwwinter

Harmony or storms

Riding life’s ocean waves –

With dangerous sneaker forms

Which always, love saves.

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“TO EMERGENCIES BONDING”

jpwinter

Nature’s bucky balls fly

In cosmos carbon flight -

Not to any naked eye

Bonds of absolute might.

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“TO THE CALL – STAT, STAT, STAT”

drjpwinter

ER team looks for life’s sign

DOA, Trauma Red and Code Blue -

Emergency calls define

As malpractice and lawyers ensue.

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TO FAVORITE DAUGHTERS

drjpwinter

One never knows of  love

As depth of breaths recede -

And graceful prayer rains from above,

A newborn rainbow when dark clouds preceed.

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“TO THE SEASONALLY EMERGENT”

drjpwinter

Winter wonderland

Spring wildflower in hand -

Summer parade band

Fall colors in ocean sand.

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“TO MY MENTOR MRYUK”

drjpwinter

Wizard to honor

Comrade to hail –

Physician of poisons

Career sunset sail.


HOMELAND FOUND IN IRELAND Farmland of County Cork – OWENS

May 30th, 2009

Having travelled from Coeur d’ Alene through London, to Ireland, we found the land of green…and my ethnic and my heritage.  In County Cork, 20 or so miles from City Cork, a few miles south of the small area of Mallow, near the Mourne Parrish, whe the Bishop was coming to confirm the next generation, was a small farm…after we found an ol’ Irish gal pushing a stroller, a great-granddaughter perhaps, then to an ol’ gentleman who had heard and met some Owens in the past…”not many around now…” and then a young lad…5-7 years who said, he didn’t know, but, “was it important!”  And he added, the yound lady with him was “Polish” and she wouldn’t know…to the old possibly bachealor dairy farmer, pushing a wheelbarrow full of cow manure with a three prong pitchfork laid across, working so hard to see us through the coke-bottom thickened glasses with nails of a working farmer…skeptical to come close perhaps firstly, then, offering the Gealic version of Gealic or a mix, sure to confuse a traveler.  But, he knew the name, lahakaneen or lakahaneen, and knew the farm and the name.  And he knew just down the hill and the most two important turns of the travel.  For this was my homeland, Ireland, through County Cork, across the ocean, the Ellis Isle and New York, and later, MinnEsOtaH.  Kiss the ol’ farmhouse for all the Owens, alive and passed, for this was THE homeland, in Ireland, on this day.  God bless all Irish!

Dr. Jim Winter (Owens of County Cork)


anxiety and worry

February 25th, 2009

Today is now.  Now is current.  It is what is.  Yesterday is a trail of previous now.  Tomorrow is a feeling of now coming to be, but it is not.  Now is the moment.  Worry less by focusing on now.  Now is the mind not thinking but of the now.  Remember as in an emergency, only the focus is the emergency.  All past and future stop.  Focus is now.  Time leaves as focus intensifies to the now.  Less anxiety happens when focus is on the now moment.  Now…


music is not soul…it is the soul

February 13th, 2009

Music is the soul.  Music is the release of life.  Music is the now.  Do not wonder how the musician can create but wonder why.  Music is not the future, nor the past.  Music is the now.  Be bold musicians.  Be brave musicians.  Wonder only beyond the noise, create only beyond the universe.    drjpw


“seasons of coeur”

January 28th, 2009

 

“seasons of coeur”

drjpwinter

As young love brilliance faded,
Storms of passion now jaded -
As friendship salvage tenets stated,
Love and the spirit must be traded.


HAPPY NEW YEAR 2009 – BE HEALTHY & HAPPY !

January 28th, 2009

Please vote in latest OBAMA poll at the bottom right of this website…   Thanks.