Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation (Boston, MA)
The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation released the results of a comprehensive mixed-methods study, Access to Outpatient Mental Health Services in Massachusetts. The study sought to quantify the wait times for outpatient mental health office visits in Massachusetts, better understand the experiences of clients seeking an appointment, and identify facilitators and barriers to accessing mental health services. Study findings are based on primary data from multiple sources, including qualitative data from stakeholder interviews and client focus groups and quantitative data from surveys of clinicians and administrators at organizations providing outpatient mental health services.
Contact: David Ball
de Beaumont Foundation (Bethesda, MD)
A new report from the de Beaumont Foundation and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Using Electronic Health Data for Community Health, is a roadmap for how to overcome perceived barriers to using electronic health data for public health activities. HIPAA is often considered an impediment to sharing health data between health systems and public health departments, but this report outlines the legal underpinnings for data sharing and provides illustrative examples of constructive uses of data to advance patient and community health.
Contact: Jenalyn Sotto
RCHN Community Health Foundation (New York, NY)
An analysis produced by the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative at the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) concluded that if the Community Health Center Fund is not restored, millions of patients served by community health centers may lose access to crucial health care and up to 161,000 jobs could be lost in communities across the nation.
The analysis addresses the state-level economic and employment consequences that would occur if the Community Health Center Fund is not renewed. Here are some findings of the report:
- Community health centers’ ability to provide care to underserved patients will be seriously compromised if the $3.6 billion cut in funding is not immediately restored. Nine million patients, a third of those currently served, may lose care.
- As many as 76,000 to 161,000 jobs could be lost nationwide in 2018. About two-fifths of jobs lost would be in health care, but the majority would be in other sectors, such as retail, construction, and other fields.
- State economies would be shortchanged by $7.4 to $15.6 billion in 2018.
- Because health centers are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and United States territories, substantial losses would occur in all areas and could be especially severe in states that did not expand Medicaid.
Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
New York State Health Foundation (New York, NY)
Opioid abuse is a public health crisis for the nation and New York State. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of deaths across New York State resulting from prescription opioids alone nearly doubled. A new New York State Health Foundation-produced data snapshot examines opioid prescribing trends by county in New York from 2010 to 2015. New York is taking numerous steps to combat the opioid crisis. Understanding geographic variation within the state is essential to targeting these interventions appropriately.