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June 2017

Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky (Louisville, KY)

Heroin use has increased and opioid abuse remains high in Kentucky, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP) report. KHIP is an annual poll of Kentucky adults about health issues and is jointly funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and Interact for Health. Twenty-seven percent of Kentucky adults say they know someone who has abused prescription pain medication, and 17 percent know someone who is using heroin, up from nine percent in 2013.  

Adults who reported that they had family members or friends who had experienced problems because of substance use span the entire state. In the eight counties comprising the Northern Kentucky region, nearly four in 10 adults reported knowing a friend or family member who had problems due to heroin, and nearly three in 10 knew someone who abused prescription pain medications. Methamphetamines continue to plague Kentucky as well: 17 percent of adults statewide said they knew of friends or family who used them. While heroin was less of a problem in Western Kentucky, that region of the state appears to be experiencing problems with meth (21 percent of adults there knew someone with a problem) and prescription drugs (24 percent of adults there knew someone with a problem). 

Opioid misuse has been a growing public health concern for some years in the United States. Kentucky's experience with both prescription and illicit opioid abuse has been more severe and longer-lived than that of most other states. This year, the foundation's Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum will focus exclusively on the substance use crisis in Kentucky. The free public forum will take place September 25th in Lexington, Kentucky.   

 A copy of the KHIP poll is available here.

Contact: Bonnie J. Hackbarth
Phone: 877.326.2583

Health Foundation for Western & Central New York (Buffalo, NY)

The Health Foundation for Western & Central New York’s vision of improving health care for vulnerable older adults and young children impacted by poverty is reliant on the work of advocates in the community. When local nonprofit leaders share a sense of purpose, they can work together to solve the region’s toughest health issues.

To build a network of skilled leaders who will take on these challenges collaboratively, the foundation created the Health Leadership Fellows program. Since its inception in 2005, the Health Leadership Fellows program has trained hundreds of nonprofit professionals on leadership, communication, and collaboration.  

Using what they have learned from expert faculty, residential sessions, leadership assessments, and coaching sessions, Health Leadership Fellows have used new information, relationships, and ideas to make a difference in the health of young children and older adults across Western and Central New York.

“Building Lasting Connections: An Investment in Leadership” captures the story of the first 10 years of the foundation’s Health Leadership Fellows program, including how it came to be, how it evolved over the years and where it is today.

Phone: 716.852.3030

Mat-Su Health Foundation (Wasilla, AK)

The Mat-Su Health Foundation has published two new reports that give insight into the community’s health status. The “Mat-Su Senior Services Environmental Scan” highlights how it can support its community’s rapidly growing senior population. The 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment “Health is Where We Live, Learn, Work and Play” identifies the top factors that affect the health of local residents. These reports and many more resources are available under the health resources tab on the foundation’s website.


United Hospital Fund (New York, NY)

United Hospital Fund (UHF) and the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (the Alliance) released a report titled, “I Can Take Care of Myself!”: Patients’ Refusals of Home Health Care Services, on the under-examined issue of patients who refuse home health care services when they are discharged from inpatient care. Such refusals can lead to higher rates of readmission to the hospital and a lower quality of life.

Although information on this complex issue is limited, a study by Kathyrn Bowles, PhD, of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and the University of Pennsylvania, found that 28 percent of 495 eligible patients refused home health care services. Their reasons ranged from concerns about finances, to a fear of losing control and privacy, to the belief that family members could manage needed care on their own. Those who refused home health care were twice as likely as those who accepted to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 or 60 days.

The report summarizes the discussion and findings of a December 2016 roundtable cosponsored by UHF’s Families and Health Care Project and the Alliance. The roundtable participants included clinicians, policy experts, and representatives of home health care agencies and consumer advocacy groups, who together worked to unravel the many factors surrounding a patient’s refusal, including personal choice, quality of care, and financing.

Among the roundtable findings contained in the report:

  • Little is known about the process by which hospital staff identify patients for referral to home health care, how they explain these services, and how well they address the full range of patients’ and family caregivers’ transitional care needs.
  • Patients and their family caregivers have similar goals, but may have different needs and attitudes about home health care.
  • Policy and system barriers to accessing services include inflexible criteria for eligibility, inadequate payment for home health care agencies’ services for patients with complex conditions, and shortages of trained workforce.

The report contains a number of recommendations, among them interventions that improve communication about care challenges and home health care services, qualitative and quantitative research on all aspects of home health care refusals, policy changes to increase access and coordination, and continuity across providers and care settings.

Contact: Catherine Arnst
Phone: 212.494.0733