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  • 10 Aug 2022 5:35 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    A close up photo of the US Capitol building.If Congress could put its effort behind only one important goal on the domestic policy front in the remainder of the year, it should focus on continuation of healthcare coverage for tens of millions of Americans. [MedPageToday]

    Medicaid eligibility rules have been effectively suspended for existing enrollees since the passage of a 2020 COVID-19 relief bill that provided a 6.2 percentage point federal matching grant (FMAP) bump if states allowed Americans to stay on the Medicaid rolls once qualified. The bump is effective until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), now through October 13, 2022.

    With the potential end of the PHE in the U.S. sometime later this year or early next, Medicaid eligibility rules will begin to kick in again and studies suggest that between 5.3 and 14.2 million current enrollees could lose coverage. More>


  • 9 Aug 2022 1:21 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Monica Mitchell has lived in South Shore for two decades, and in that time, she’s had to change pharmacies three times.

    The 48-year-old registered nurse said when a Walgreens five minutes from her house was closed, she switched to one a few blocks over, but it didn’t carry all the items she needed. So she started going to one in Hyde Park.

    Then came the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in the summer of 2020, which sparked days of protests, civil unrest and looting across the city and the nation.

    In the aftermath, hundreds of businesses in Chicago shut their doors either temporarily or permanently, including many pharmacies, and Mitchell was forced to change drugstores once again. By then, the closest Walgreens was in southwest suburban Evergreen Park, 30 minutes away.

    While Mitchell now gets most of what she needs via mail order, that convenience is not widely used by those who are more comfortable with brick-and-mortar stores or lack internet access, she said.

    A few miles southwest of Mitchell, 68-year-old Renita Johnson said over the decades she has lived in Roseland, she has seen a number of nearby pharmacies close.

    She can’t imagine how her older neighbors without cars and limited mobility even get to a drugstore these days.

    “I would see it as a total nightmare,” she said.

    The experiences of the two women are not unusual in many parts of Chicago.

    Even as drugstores are providing more vital services — including COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, contraceptive counseling and wellness visits — a recent study shows communities on the city’s South and West sides have fewer pharmacy locations than other parts of the city. More>

    More on this topic here>

    And here> 


  • 8 Aug 2022 6:16 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    A person who works at a day care in Illinois has tested positive for monkeypox and potentially exposed children, who are at higher risk for severe outcomes from the virus, state officials announced Friday. [Washington Post 8.5.2022]

    Officials are screening children and others who were potentially exposed for symptoms, and the Food and Drug Administration is allowing the children to receive the Jynneos vaccine, which is authorized only for adults. The vaccine can prevent infection or reduce the severity of symptoms after exposure.

    What to know about monkeypox symptoms, treatments and protection

    Authorities said no one else has tested positive. Illinois health officials had determined that between 40 and 50 people, many of whom are children, had been potentially exposed to the day-care worker directly or to items that had been handled by the person, officials said.

    “We are casting a wide net,” Julie Pryde, administrator of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, wrote in a text message Friday night. Pryde said that several dozen children had been offered vaccines, pending their guardians’ approval.

    Full article here>


  • 5 Aug 2022 9:13 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    The Department of Public Health will receive $5.3 million in federal funds to support efforts to improve maternal health, the state’s two senators announced last week. [Health News Illinois] 

    The dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services will help the state agency identify, review and characterize maternal deaths. They will also go toward prevention opportunities and the development of new treatments for pregnancy and postpartum complications.

    “Despite being one of the richest and most advanced nations, the United States is facing a dire crisis when it comes to maternal health, particularly for women and babies of color,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

     An IDPH report released last year found that Black women in Illinois were three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related conditions as white women between 2016 and 2017. The number of white women likely to die from pregnancy-related mental health conditions grew during that same time. 


  • 5 Aug 2022 8:57 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Gov. JB Pritzker on Monday declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

    The declaration will allow the Department of Public Health to better coordinate logistics across state agencies when it comes to vaccine distribution and working with the federal government on a response to the virus, he said. [Health News Illinois]

    IDPH and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will also be able to access state and federal recovery and assistance funds to expand vaccine and testing capacities.

    “(Monkeypox) is a rare, but potentially serious disease that requires the full mobilization of all available public health resources to prevent the spread," Pritzker said in a statement.

    Monday’s declaration, effective for 30 days, also allows for emergency procurements to aid the state's response.

    IDPH on Tuesday reported 533 probable and confirmed cases in Illinois, making it the state with the third highest case count.

    Illinois has received more than 7,000 doses of vaccine from the federal government, with IDPH saying an additional 13,000 doses are expected in the “near future.”

    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady praised Pritzker's action in a joint statement, adding the city will not issue its own declaration.

    They said more needs to be done at the federal level to address the outbreak.

     "It is our hope that this declaration joins a chorus of others across the nation and encourages the rapid increase and distribution of vaccines," they said.


  • 4 Aug 2022 8:42 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Were the health equity concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout driven more by unequal vaccine access or lack of patient trust? According to two new studies, published by separate research teams, it may have been both. [Patient EngagementHIT]

    While one study out of the University of Missouri found that vaccine hesitancy among Black people was linked to mistrust from historical and personal experiences of racism in medicine, a separate one from the University of California San Diego indicated unequal vaccine distribution also played a role.

    These findings don’t have to negate one another. The Mizzou researchers noted that unequal vaccine uptake among Black people is only partially explained by vaccine hesitancy; factors like actual vaccine access, as explored by the UCSD researchers, likely compound the disparities.

    Even still, it’s important to understand how each separate issue—patient trust and vaccine access—previously impacted the initial COVID-19 vaccine rollout. This comes amid rumblings that the federal health agencies will begin issuing new vaccines specific to the Omicron subvariant BA.5 in September. Assuring an equitable rollout will mean understanding missteps during the first go around.


    According to the first study from Mizzou, public health leaders will need to consider further strategies to instill trust in traditionally marginalized groups like Black populations. Researcher Wilson Majee conducted a qualitative assessment using interviews with church leaders, lifestyle coaches, and participants of Live Well by Faith.

    READ MORE: How Healthcare Is Starting to Heal Damaged Black Patient Trust

    Live Well by Faith is a community-based health program run by the Boone County Health Department that sets to address chronic disease management in Black communities.

    Respondents said key factors like social determinants of health kept them from getting the shots, as did things like a dearth of Black doctors administering vaccines, medical misinformation, and limited trust in the vaccine development process. Primarily, respondents said the shots were developed too quickly.

    Full article here>


  • 3 Aug 2022 5:38 PM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

     Nearly nine out of 10 Americans live within five miles of a community pharmacy. This widespread pharmacy care access makes pharmacies an ideal setting to fill patient care access gaps, according to a new analysis published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA). [Patient EngagmentHIT]

    “Community pharmacies are the front door to the health system,” lead study author Lucas Berenbrok, PharmD, associate professor of pharmacy and therapeutics at the Pitt School of Pharmacysaid in a press release. “They’re often where people start their healthcare journey and are a gateway to connection with other healthcare services.”

    Pharmacy care has expanded beyond its traditional medication-dispensing role, becoming the epicenter of healthcare, the study researchers stated. Now, community pharmacies provide comprehensive medication management, preventive screenings, chronic disease management, immunizations, contraception, and other essential healthcare servicesAnd, importantly, they are often more accessible than traditional healthcare settings, the data showed.

    The study, led by the University of Pittsburgh and University of California San Diego researchers, evaluated driving distances to community pharmacies across the United States.

    Full article here>


  • 2 Aug 2022 11:16 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    Residents of Rhode Island receive the best healthcare in the country, while those in Mississippi receive the worst, according to an analysis by WalletHub, a personal finance website.  [Becker's Hospital Review 8.1.2022]

    To identify the best and worst states for healthcare, analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 42 different measures of healthcare cost, access and outcomes. The metrics ranged from average hospital expenses per inpatient day to share of patients readmitted to hospitals. Read more about the methodology here

    Illinois ranks 25th on the list. 

    Here are the five states with the highest overall ranking across cost, access and outcomes, according to the analysis: 

    1. Rhode Island

    2. Massachusetts

    3. Hawaii

    4. Minnesota

    5. Maryland 

    Here are the bottom five states on healthcare cost, access and outcomes combined:

    1. Mississippi 

    2. Alabama

    3. Louisiana

    4. Oklahoma

    5. Arkansas 


  • 1 Aug 2022 8:21 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced the City has awarded $24 million to the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (The Partnership) to serve as the lead coordinating organization for the City’s Community Health Response Corps (Response Corps). This program is a part of the Chicago Recovery Plan, created to support recovery from the social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Partnership, which was selected through a competitive process, will support community-based organizations (CBOs) to hire and supervise Response Corps members—resulting in approximately 150 new, sustained jobs. 

    View full news release here>

    The Response Corps initiative will mobilize a team of community health outreach workers and build upon many of the learnings and gains from the City’s community outreach actions during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This new Response Corps team will leverage the expertise and infrastructure CDPH, and its City and community partners developed for the COVID-19 emergency response while shifting to promoting overall health and resource connections in the City’s prioritized community areas based on economic hardship, COVID-19 vulnerability, and community safety.

    “The City’s Community Health Response Corps is a necessary tool to support our most vulnerable residents who are still experiencing the social, economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This collaboration between the City, the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Chicago Cook Workforce represents our commitment to taking care of our communities, and will provide expanded access to much-needed resources to ensure each of our residents can live healthy lives.” 

    “The Response Corps is an important step toward achieving the vision of Healthy Chicago 2025,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “The Partnership stepped up during the COVID-19 response and led an innovative, wide-ranging program that has become a national model for building a public health workforce from within the hardest-hit communities through trusted, community-based partners. We are grateful that they will continue working hand-in-hand with neighborhood organizations to create a Chicago where all people and all communities have equitable access to the resources and opportunities they need to live their healthiest lives.”

    The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated long-standing health disparities and necessitated swift mobilization in communities with high vulnerability to serious COVID-19 outcomes. The City responded by investing deeply in community health outreach and resources in high-risk communities, including through the formation of a Racial Equity Rapid Response Team (RERRT) and the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Corps. 

    ... The work of the Response Corps is aligned with the vision of CDPH’s Healthy Chicago 2025 plan to close the racial life expectancy gap in Chicago, which has reached 10 years between Black and white Chicagoans, and reverse declines in life expectancy for Latinx populations.

    The Community Health Response Corps is just one initiative within the broader $1.2 billion Chicago Recovery Plan to promote safe and thriving communities and an equitable economic recovery from COVID-19. For more information, including funding opportunities, visit chicago.gov/recoveryplan. 


  • 29 Jul 2022 12:04 AM | Deborah Hodges (Administrator)

    In this brief, we [ they] present data on abortions by race/ethnicity and show how overturning Roe v. Wade disproportionately impacts women of color, as they are more likely to obtain abortions, have more limited access to health care, and face underlying inequities that would make it more difficult to travel out of state for an abortion compared to their White counterparts. Throughout this brief we refer to “women” but recognize that other individuals also have abortions, including some transgender men, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming persons. This brief is based on KFF analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), American Community Survey (ACS), Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS), and Survey of Household Economics and Decision making (SHED)....

    Full 21-page white paper here>


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