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  • 24 May 2022 9:30 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The city of Chicago announced it’s taking a new approach to opioid addiction and overdose deaths. [WGN News] 

    To Family Guidance Centers for Treatment says in 2020, more than 1300 people died of an opioid overdose in Chicago. That’s a 52% increase over 2019 and the highest number on record in the city.  

    The FGC and the city will now be involved in a new pilot program to get people the help they need now.  

    • Medication Assisted Recovery, or MAR, involves medicated treatment to help reduce opioid use. 

    There used to be a lot of red tape to access it, but the city is expediting the process.  

    Chicagoans can now call a city helpline and get routed directly to a prescriber at FGC to start treatment that same day.  

    That number is 833-234-6343. Texting “HELP” to 833234 is also an option

    The MAR-Now helpline will be answered 24/7 – but you’ll only be connected with a provider between the hours of 6 a.m.  and 10 p.m.


  • 23 May 2022 12:26 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    COVID-19 deaths are decreasing nationwide in the wake of this winter's omicron surge, but CDC modeling suggests this trend may change over the next four weeks. 

    Three COVID-19 forecasts to know:  [Beckers 5.23.2022]

    Cases: Daily COVID-19 cases are projected to increase 92.2 percent in the next two weeks, according to modeling from Mayo Clinic. Forecasts suggest daily average cases will jump from 93,401 cases on May 21 to 179,547 by June 4. During the omicron surge, this figure hit a peak of more than 800,000, according to data tracked by The New York Times. 

    The nation's case rate is also expected to increase from 33.3 cases per 100,000 population to 54.7 per 100,000 over the same period.

    Hospitalizations: Nationwide, daily COVID-19 hospital admissions are projected to increase over the next four weeks, with 1,300 to 11,000 new admissions likely reported June 10, according to the CDC's ensemble forecast from 18 modeling groups.

    Hospitalizations are increasing, but the nation's current seven-day average (3,250) is still far lower than the more than 20,000 new admissions seen at the height of the omicron surge, according to data tracked by the Times.

    Deaths: U.S. COVID-19 deaths are also expected to increase over the next month, according to the CDC's ensemble forecast from 22 modeling groups. The forecast projects 2,000 to 5,300 deaths likely reported in the week ending June 11, which would bring the nation's total COVID-19 death tally to a range of 1,008,000 to 1,018,000.

    The CDC said its ensemble forecasts are among the most reliable for COVID-19 modeling, but they cannot predict rapid changes in cases, hospitalizations or deaths. Therefore, they should not be relied on "for making decisions about the possibility or timing of rapid changes in trends," the agency said.

    Note: Mayo Clinic uses a Bayesian statistical model to forecast cases that automatically updates as new data becomes available. There is an uncertainty interval for forecast values, with lower and upper bounds that are not included in this list.

    To learn more about the data Mayo Clinic uses to forecast hot spots, click hereBecker's pulled the forecast values May 23 at 9:10 a.m. CDT.


  • 13 May 2022 2:36 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The COVID-19 pandemic has swept the nation, killing residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The AARP Public Policy Institute, in collaboration with the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio, created the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 Dashboard to provide four-week snapshots of the virus’ infiltration into nursing homes and impact on nursing home residents and staff, with the goal of identifying specific areas of concern at the national and state levels in a timely manner. AARP’s Nursing Home COVID-19 dashboard has tracked five categories of impact since summer 2020, as well as vaccination rates of nursing home residents and health care staff, and is updated every month to track trends over time. [AARP Public Policy Institute]  Dashboard and other info- four week dashboards. 

    See graphs and metrics here>


  • 12 May 2022 1:14 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    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 | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    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 | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    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 | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    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 | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    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 | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    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 | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    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> 


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