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  • 12 May 2022 1:14 PM | Anonymous

    There is growing interest in and renewed support for prioritizing social factors in public health both in the USA and globally. While there are multiple widely recognized social determinants of health, indicators of social connectedness (e.g., social capital, social support, social isolation, loneliness) are often noticeably absent from the discourse. This article provides an organizing framework for conceptualizing social connection and summarizes the cumulative evidence supporting its relevance for health, including epidemiological associations, pathways, and biological mechanisms. [American Review of Public Health 2022]

    This evidence points to several implications for prioritizing social connection within solutions across sectors, where public health work, initiatives, and research play a key role in addressing gaps. Therefore, this review proposes a systemic framework for cross-sector action to identify missed opportunities and guide future investigation, intervention, practice, and policy on promoting social connection and health for all.

    Download PDF of the full article here>


  • 11 May 2022 4:51 PM | Anonymous

    Coronavirus-related hospital admissions and deaths in the U.S. are projected to increase over the next four weeks, according to a national forecast used by the CDC. [Medscape]

    The national model also predicts that about 5,000 deaths will occur over the next two weeks, with Ohio, New Jersey, and New York projected to see the largest totals of daily deaths in upcoming weeks.

    The numbers follow several weeks of steady increases in infections across the country. More than 67,000 new cases are being reported daily, according to the data tracker from The New York Times, marking a 59% increase in the past two weeks.

    Full article here> 


  • 10 May 2022 6:44 PM | Anonymous

    Medicaid Administrator Kelly Cunningham said Monday the Department of Healthcare and Family Services is preparing for the implementation of nursing home rate reform. [Health News Illinois 5.10.2022] 
    The plan, passed unanimously last month by the General Assembly and awaiting Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature, phases in a patient-driven payment model and allocates dedicated funding for staffing increases and workforce transformation.
    Cunningham told members of the Medicaid Advisory Committee there are a variety of steps that need to be taken to implement the effort, including state plan amendments and other work necessary “when legislation of this magnitude passes.”
    Committee members praised the department and stakeholders for reaching an agreement to change how nursing homes are funded in Illinois.
    “This bill should lay the foundation for … additional accountabilities on behalf of the residents of the nursing homes, and particularly those who have Medicaid as their payer,” said Dr. Cheryl Rucker-Whitaker MD, MPH.
    In other business, HFS Communications Director Evan Fazio said they continue to work to update contact information for Medicaid recipients ahead of the public health emergency ending.
    State officials say they have been told they will receive a 60-day notice before the emergency ends, which is currently set for July. 
    Fazio said they have a messaging toolkit on the agency’s website and have worked with providers to communicate with Medicaid recipients that redeterminations will restart once the emergency ends. He said thousands of people have used the toolkit since it launched earlier this year.
    The agency is also working with the Departments of Human Services and Information and Technology to create texting technology to better stay in touch with Medicaid recipients too.
    “So as the public health emergency winds down, we want to keep as many people as possible enrolled,” Fazio said. “We want to reduce churn. We want to reduce inequities in coverage.”
    Additionally, HFS Deputy Director ​of Community Outreach Kimberly McCullough-Starks told members they are still “knee-deep” in reviewing applications for the next wave of transformation funding, though she did not provide a timeline for when it may be announced. 
    She added that previous grant recipients remain on track to meet their funding milestones.


  • 9 May 2022 5:26 PM | Anonymous

    Gov. JB Pritzker signed off Friday on several healthcare bills. [Health News Illinois 5.9.2022]

    The new laws will:

    ·    Extend the time to 60 days for a physician assistant to file with the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation a notice of employment or collaboration.

    ·    Remove language that would have repealed the existing Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Services Act.

    ·    Amend the Health Care Surrogate Act to make several definition changes to align with previously enacted laws.

    ·    Allow the Department of Human Services to enter confidential data-sharing agreements with local health officials for substance use disorder patient records. The confidential records may be used to develop education programs or public health interventions relating to trends or conduct analyses and publish reports on prescribing trends.

    ·    Mandate insurance coverage for medically necessary breast reduction surgery.


  • 6 May 2022 5:38 PM | Anonymous

    COVID-19 hospitalizations are up 21 percent nationwide over the last 14 days, with 38 states and Washington, D.C., reporting an increase. [Becker's Hospital Review]

    Nationwide, COVID-19 cases increased 50 percent over the past 14 days, according to HHS data collected by The New York Times. Reported case counts may be directionally helpful at this point of the pandemic, given the use of rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests that result in under-counting.

    "I think that we're dramatically undercounting cases," former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, told CBS News April 11. "We're probably only picking up one in seven or one in eight infections."

    Hospitalizations are up 21 percent nationwide over the last 14 days, with a daily average of 18,918 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of May 9. The CDC is keeping a close eye on the acuity of hospitalizations, with Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, noting that the agency is seeing less oxygen use, fewer ICU stays and no increase in associated death compared with earlier periods of the pandemic.

    Here are the 14-day changes for hospitalizations in each state and Washington, D.C., reporting an increase, along with their daily average hospitalizations: 

    Montana: 98 percent (26 hospitalizations)

    Hawaii: 83 percent (87 hospitalizations)  

    Maine: 69 percent (203)

    Alaska: 60 percent (34)

    New Hampshire: 57 percent (113)

    Wisconsin: 56 percent (305) 

    Pennsylvania: 50 percent (1,067)

    Massachusetts: 46 percent (616)

    Michigan: 42 percent (743)

    Connecticut: 40 percent (300)

    Delaware: 40 percent (178)

    Rhode Island: 38 percent (81) 

    New York: 34 percent (2,469)

    Iowa: 30 percent (96)

    Illinois: 30 percent (777)

    Vermont: 29 percent (64)

    West Virginia: 26 percent (120)

    New Jersey: 26 percent (656) 

    Ohio: 25 percent (724) 

    Florida: 24 percent (1,324)

    Colorado: 24 percent (174) 

    Kentucky: 22 percent (248)

    Washington, D.C.: 21 percent (84) 

    North Carolina: 21 percent (919) 

    South Carolina: 20 percent (125)

    Virginia: 20 percent (328)

    Minnesota: 20 percent (351)

    Oregon: 19 percent (270)

    Indiana: 16 percent (279)

    Nevada: 15 percent (146) 

    Idaho: 12 percent (43)

    Louisiana: 11 percent (64)

    California: 11 percent (1,410) 

    Tennessee: 9 percent (222) 

    Maryland: 7 percent (383) 

    Utah: 6 percent (73)

    North Dakota: 5 percent (51) 

    Georgia: 4 percent (565)

    Mississippi: 1 percent (63) 

    Full article here> 

  • 5 May 2022 5:34 PM | Anonymous

    As of Wednesday, 799 Illinoisans were in the hospital with COVID-19, down 21 from Tuesday and up 85 from the prior week.

    Of the patients in the hospital, 81 were in intensive care units, down six from Tuesday and up seven from the prior week. Twenty-three percent of Illinois’ ICU beds were available, down 1 percentage point from the prior week. [Health News Illinois}

    There were 18 patients on ventilators, down four from Tuesday and down five from the prior week.

    Cook, Champaign, Douglas, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, Logan, McHenry, McLean, Sangamon, Will and Winnebago counties are rated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as having a “medium” COVID-19 community levels.

    IDPH reported 4,148 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths on Thursday. The new cases bring the state total to 3,161,606, while the death toll is 33,653.

    The seven-day average for new cases on Thursday was 4,189, up 912 from the prior week. The seven-day average for daily deaths is eight, up two from the prior week.

    The seven-day case rate per 100,000 people is 32.4, up 7.2 from the prior week.

    About 81.5 percent of eligible Illinoisans ages 5 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 73.1 percent are fully vaccinated.

    Illinois vaccinators have administered 21,998,768 COVID-19 vaccines, including 4,409,675 booster doses. The seven-day average for doses administered is 14,050.


  • 4 May 2022 8:01 AM | Anonymous

    Executive Summary -Main Points- Maternal and Neonatal Birth Outcomes

    • Maternal participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) may be associated with a lower likelihood of inadequate gestational weight gain (Strength of evidence [SOE]: Low), lower alcohol use in pregnancy (SOE: Low), no difference in smoking during or after pregnancy (SOE: Low), no difference in perinatal death overall (SOE: Low), and lower risk of stillbirth in Black women (SOE: Low).
    • Maternal WIC participation during pregnancy is likely to be associated with lower risk of preterm birth and lower risk of low birth weight infants (SOE: Moderate).
    • The evidence was insufficient to determine whether maternal WIC participation was associated with decreased neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stays.

    Full 1685 page here> 


  • 3 May 2022 2:29 PM | Anonymous

    Washington is the best state to work as a nurse and Oklahoma is the worst, according to an analysis by WalletHub, a personal finance website. [Becker's Health Review 5.3.2022]

    To determine the best and worst states for nurses, analysts used 21 metrics to compare states across two dimensions: opportunity and competition, and work environment. Metrics include average annual salary for nurses, healthcare facilities per capita, mandatory overtime restrictions and nurses job growth. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, and states were ranked from highest overall score to lowest. Read more about the methodology here.   

    Here are the 10 best states to work as a nurse based on the analysis:

    1. Washington

    2. Maine

    3. New Mexico

    4. Minnesota

    5. New Hampshire

    6. Oregon

    7. Arizona

    8. Montana

    9. Rhode Island

    10. Connecticut

    Here are the 10 worst states to work as a nurse based on the analysis:

    1. Oklahoma

    2. Alabama

    3. Hawaii

    4. Arkansas

    5. Mississippi

    6. Louisiana

    7. Tennessee

    8. South Carolina

    9. Georgia

    10. Kansas


  • 2 May 2022 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Evusheld is an investigational medicine that can help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may be eligible for Evusheld if you:

    • Are moderately or severely immunocompromised and may not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination OR have a history of severe allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines, and
    • Do not currently have COVID-19 and have not recently had close contact with someone with COVID-19, and
    • Are an adult or adolescent ages 12 years and older weighing at least 88 pounds (40 kg).

    Evusheld contains two different antibodies that can help prevent COVID-19. It must be given by your healthcare provider before exposure to COVID-19. More>


  • 29 Apr 2022 9:41 AM | Anonymous

    On his first designed Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The Order recognized that although the ideal of equal opportunity is the bedrock of American democracy, entrenched disparities in our laws, public policies, and institutions too often deny equal opportunity to individuals and communities.  The President’s Order emphasized the enormous human costs of systemic racism, persistent poverty, and other disparities, and directed the Federal Government to advance an ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda that matches the scale of the challenges we face as a country and the opportunities we have to build a more perfect union Full article> 


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