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News about Health Services Research

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  • Collision of the COVID-19 and Addiction Epidemics - (American College of Physicians) - Apr 03, 2020 Details

    Risk for severe COVID-19 and death escalates with older age but is also concentrated among those who are immunocompromised or have underlying health conditions, including diabetes, cancer, and heart and respiratory diseases. Many of the latter arise from smoking and thus may increase risk for death and illness among smokers (tobacco or cannabis).

  • Do Health Impact Assessments Promote Equity? - (Pew Charitable Trusts) - Apr 03, 2020 Details

    Several evaluations have found that in the near term, HIAs can illuminate the potential health effects on communities of policy and program choices, influence decision-making, increase knowledge about health impacts among decision-makers, and demonstrate the connection between health and sectors such as education, housing, and employment.

  • Call for Timely Papers on COVID-19 in Rural Areas - (National Rural Health Association (NRHA)) - Apr 02, 2020 Details

    The JRH is committed to publishing timely papers pertaining to COVID-19 in rural areas and its consequences for rural health care personnel and organizations. To facilitate rapid publication, we encourage several types of submissions that do not require peer review, but which the Editor may accept or reject. These include commentaries and letters to the editor that describe current problems and innovative solutions pertaining to rural COVID-19 prevention, mitigation, and containment. Commentaries are limited to 1500 words and letters to the editor to 400 words, and neither require an abstract.

  • ICD-10-CM Official Coding and Reporting Guidelines April 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020 - (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HHS) - Apr 02, 2020 Details

    The final guidelines are for coding confirmed diagnoses of the novel coronavirus through a positive test result confirmed by the CDC or a presumed positive test result documented at the local or state level, though the latter no longer requires CDC confirmation. Additional guidance for “suspected,” “possible,” “probable,” or “inconclusive” COVID19 is provided in the final guidelines.

  • Evidence from a Decade of Innovation: The Impact of the Payment and Delivery System Reforms of the Affordable Care Act - (Commonwealth Fund) - Apr 02, 2020 Details

    The U.S. health care system has long been marked by high spending, comparatively poor health outcomes, and waste and inefficiency. To address these issues, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes several provisions to reform how the nation organizes, structures, and pays for its health care. The law instituted several mandatory national payment reforms through the Medicare program and created the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which was funded with $10 billion over 10 years to develop, test, and promote innovative payment and delivery models. Below is a summary of evidence from some of the major innovations tested over the past decade.

  • Share Your Community's COVID-19 Innovations - (Rural Health Information Hub) - Apr 02, 2020 Details

    How have families, businesses and key sectors of your community (agriculture, healthcare, human services, schools) had to innovate in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic? Share the creative ways you are adapting to the current situation with other rural communities. The RHI Hub is looking for best practices, lessons learned, and other examples across a wide range of activities.

  • States Modify Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Waivers to Respond to COVID-19 - (National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP)) - Apr 01, 2020 Details

    The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) made it easier for states to temporarily modify their Medicaid policies and programs through state 1115 demonstration, 1915(c) Appendix K home- and community-based services, and Section 1135 public health emergency waivers. States can also streamline changes through Medicaid state plan amendments. These CMS checklists and templates are helpful tools for states preparing waiver applications.

  • NIST Funding Manufacturing Institutes to Support Pandemic Response - (U.S. Department of Commerce) - Mar 31, 2020 Details

    The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has opened a funding opportunity for rapid, high-impact projects that support the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Projects may include: medical or nonmedical countermeasures; grants to accelerate production of critical materials, equipment and supplies; additional production facilities; technology road-mapping for pandemic response and recovery; leveraging institute capabilities to strengthen state and community resilience; returning to the U.S. the manufacture of critical conventional drugs and ensuring supply chains for critical materials related to pandemic response; or workforce development and training for manufacturing workers.

  • Telehealth in the COVID-19 Spotlight - (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)) - Mar 31, 2020 Details

    Telehealth is a valuable tool for providers to screen patients, answer questions and make recommendations, and ease the burden on day-to-day care delivery so that physicians and hospitals can focus on critical, high-risk patients, while also limiting the risk of exposing others to the virus. Providers can also leverage telehealth to treat patients regardless of geographic location, helping both rural and urban patients equally.

  • Coronavirus (Covid-19) Data in the United States - (The New York Times) - Mar 31, 2020 Details

    The New York Times is releasing a series of data files with cumulative counts of coronavirus cases in the United States, at the state and county level, over time. Data from state and local governments and health departments has been compiled in an attempt to provide a complete record of the ongoing outbreak. The data begins with the first reported coronavirus case in Washington State on Jan. 21, 2020 and is being regularly updated.

  • Trump Administration Engages America’s Hospitals in Unprecedented Data Sharing - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Mar 31, 2020 Details

    Yesterday, CMS sent a letter to the nation’s hospitals on behalf of Vice President Pence requesting they report data in connection with their efforts to fight the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Specifically, the Trump Administration is requesting that hospitals report COVID-19 testing data to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in addition to daily reporting regarding bed capacity and supplies to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) COVID-19 Patient Impact and Hospital Capacity Module.

  • Long-Term Care Nursing Homes Telehealth and Telemedicine Tool Kit - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Mar 31, 2020 Details

    This document contains electronic links to reliable sources of information regarding telehealth and telemedicine. Most of the information is directed towards providers who may want to establish a permanent telemedicine program.

  • State Action Related to COVID-19 Coverage of Critical Services by Private Insurers - (Commonwealth Fund) - Mar 31, 2020 Details

    To address the unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic, many states are stepping up to ensure that gaps in private health insurance do not create barriers to consumers receiving necessary testing and treatment. Federal law requires health insurers, including employer plans, to waive cost-sharing for the services associated with receiving a COVID-19 test. This map summarizes the actions of states that are requiring or recommending insurers to expand their coverage of key services beyond the minimum federal standard.

  • Calling all COVID-19 Health IT Projects - (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), HHS) - Mar 31, 2020 Details

    Just over four years ago, ONC announced the launch of the Interoperability Proving Ground (IPG), an open, community platform where you can share, learn, and be inspired by interoperability projects taking place across the nation. If you’re working on a COVID-19 interoperability project, you will have the ability to share it with your colleagues through the IPG and tag it “COVID-19.”

  • UPDATE: NIH Late Application Policy Due to Public Health Emergency for United States for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) - (National Institutes of Health (NIH), HHS) - Mar 31, 2020 Details

    NIH will be highly accommodating of late applications submitted through May 1, 2020. We anticipate, but cannot guarantee, that all late applications submitted by that date will be reviewed in the council round to which they were submitted (e.g. August or October 2020). As much as NIH would like to extend flexibility further, this rapidly evolving situation also creates multiple challenges for conducting review, and the timeline for getting review outcomes to councils (so that funding can occur) can only be delayed so long. Therefore, applicants should assume that late applications submitted after May 1 may not be reviewed until meetings for the January 2021 council round (e.g., October-November 2020).

  • Trump Administration Makes Sweeping Regulatory Changes to Help U.S. Healthcare System Address COVID-19 Patient Surge - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Mar 31, 2020 Details

    At President Trump’s direction, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today is issuing an unprecedented array of temporary regulatory waivers and new rules to equip the American healthcare system with maximum flexibility to respond to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. CMS sets and enforces essential quality and safety standards for the nation’s healthcare system, and is the nation’s largest health insurer serving more than 140 million Americans through Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Federal Exchanges.

  • VA Releases COVID-19 Response Plan - (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)) - Mar 30, 2020 Details

    The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) made public, March 27, the COVID-19 Response Plan it is executing within its medical facilities to protect Veterans, their families and staff.

  • Promising Practices Contest: Addressing the LTSS Workforce Shortage - (National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD)) - Mar 30, 2020 Details

    As states and communities seek to maintain and expand the workforce that provides HCBS, there are emerging pockets of innovation and promising practices around the country. This contest seeks to collect examples of strategies that are showing success in addressing the long-term services and supports (LTSS) workforce shortage in states and/or communities. The submission deadline is Friday, April 3rd, 2020.

  • Call for Papers: The Public Health Response to Human Trafficking: A Look Back and a Step Forward - (Administration for Children and Families (ACF), HHS) - Mar 27, 2020 Details

    Public Health Reports (PHR), a peer-reviewed journal of public health research and practice and the official journal of the Office of the Surgeon General and U.S. Public Health Service, is inviting submissions for a supplemental issue on human trafficking into and within the United States. Abstracts should be submitted to the supplement mailbox,, as soon as possible but no later than midnight on July 1, 2020.

  • Bipartisan Rx for America’s Health Care - (Bipartisan Policy Center) - Mar 27, 2020 Details

    This report is a multifaceted policy prescription for reforming America’s current health care system. It includes recommendations for congressional action that target excessive costs in the private insurance market, Medicare, and Medicaid, and anti-competitive behavior by some pharmaceutical manufacturers and health systems, which is occurring as a result of increasing hospital consolidations.

  • Topic Collection: COVID-19 Behavioral Health Resources - (Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), HHS) - Mar 27, 2020 Details

    Topic collection focuses on plans, tools, templates, and other immediately implementable resources to help with COVID-19 preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts, focusing on the establishment and operation of Alternate Care Sites.

  • Oxford COVID-19 Evidence Service - (University of Oxford) - Mar 27, 2020 Details

    The CEBM has committed its skills and expertise in evidence synthesis and dissemination to the effort against the current COVID-19 pandemic. This page will be updated regularly.

  • Assessing Underlying State Conditions and Ramp-Up Challenges for the COVID-19 Response - (Commonwealth Fund) - Mar 26, 2020 Details

    To understand the capacity in each state and to help inform decisions of federal and state policymakers in the coming weeks, study aggregated a set of state-level data indicators related to: clinical risk factors of the state’s adult population; state health system capacity and resources, under both current and “surge” scenarios; insurance coverage and cost-related access barriers for adults.

  • COVID-19: Guidance for Tribal Programs - (National Indigenous Women's Resource Center (NIWRC)) - Mar 26, 2020 Details

    The COVID-19 pandemic has domestic violence programs and shelters around the country in uncharted territory. Please see below for information for Tribal programs to use to provide services during this unprecedented time. As this situation evolves, this guidance document may change and be improved as new lessons are learned and new research or additional guidance become available.

  • CMS Approves Medicaid Section 1135 Waivers for 11 Additional States in Response to COVID-19 - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Mar 24, 2020 Details

    Yesterday, CMS approved an additional 11 state Medicaid waiver requests under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act (Act), bringing the total number of approved Section 1135 waivers for states to 13. The waivers were approved within days of states’ submitting them, and offer states new flexibilities to focus their resources on combatting the outbreak and providing the best possible care to Medicaid beneficiaries in their states.

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) - (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HHS) - Mar 24, 2020 Details

    The latest information from NIH and CDC on COVID-19

  • CMS Announces Findings at Kirkland Nursing Home and New Targeted Plan for Healthcare Facility Inspections in light of COVID-19 - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Mar 24, 2020 Details

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is announcing the preliminary results of a recent inspection of the Life Care Center nursing home in Kirkland, Washington – the epicenter of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in that state. The inspection, which the Agency conducted with the Washington Department of Social & Health Services, has helped inform CMS’s national strategy for keeping patients safe in nursing homes and other healthcare facilities.

  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Summary of Key Provisions - (Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)) - Mar 23, 2020 Details

    On March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law, marking the second major legislative initiative to address COVID-19 (the first was signed on March 6 and provided emergency funding relief for domestic and global efforts). This table provides a summary of key provisions of the Families First Act, which addresses the domestic outbreak, including paid sick leave, insurance coverage of coronavirus testing, nutrition assistance, and unemployment benefits.

  • State Strategies to Maintain Opioid Use Disorder Treatment during the Coronavirus Pandemic - (National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP)) - Mar 23, 2020 Details

    As coronavirus (COVID-19) cases increase exponentially and containment measures expand across the country, another public health emergency – the opioid use disorder (OUD) crisis – continues to rage. For individuals in treatment for OUD and those who provide them, COVID-19 presents a new set of barriers that make accessing these critical services challenging.

  • SAMHSA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources - (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), HHS) - Mar 23, 2020 Details

    Regularly updated guidance and resources to assist individuals, providers, communities, and states across the country during the pandemic.

  • COVID-19: 1115 Waiver Demonstrations - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Mar 23, 2020 Details

    In an effort to assist states with addressing the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) developed a section 1115 demonstration opportunity available to states under title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act (the Act). Under this demonstration opportunity, effective retroactively to March 1, 2020 states may select from a variety of options to deliver the most effective care to their beneficiaries as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

  • Preventing Chronic Disease Collection: CDC High Obesity Program - (Preventing Chronic Disease, CDC) - Mar 20, 2020 Details

    Collection features 9 articles highlighting approaches to improve the nutrition and physical activity environments in rural areas with a high prevalence of adult obesity. CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity launched a program called Programs to Reduce Obesity in High Obesity Areas, also referred to as HOP, and this collection highlights the program’s approach and describes both overarching and program-specific evaluation findings. Seven of the articles highlight the work of land-grant universities, and one describes HOP’s implementation approach, evaluation framework, and key findings. Read each article.

  • National Academies Rapid Expert Consultation on COVID-19 Pandemic: Social Distancing (2020) - (National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM)) - Mar 20, 2020 Details

    In response to a request from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a standing committee of experts to help inform OSTP on critical science and policy issues related to emerging infectious diseases and other public health threats. The standing committee includes approximately 15 members with expertise in emerging infectious diseases, public health, public health preparedness and response, biological sciences, clinical care and crisis standards of care, risk communication, and regulatory issues. This publication provides feedback on questions about the effectiveness and costs of social distancing measures in contending with COVID-19.

  • COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Response and 42 CFR Part 2 Guidance - (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), HHS) - Mar 20, 2020 Details

    In response to the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is providing this guidance to ensure that substance use disorder treatment services are uninterrupted during this public health emergency.

  • CMS Approves Washington State’s Request for 1135 Medicaid Waivers - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Mar 20, 2020 Details

    Yesterday, CMS approved an 1135 Medicaid waiver request for the state of Washington. The state submitted its request for 1135 waiver authority on March 15, 2020 and in keeping with CMS’s commitment to ensure our state partners have the tools they need to combat COVID-19, the agency acted within days to approve a wide variety of Medicaid flexibilities.

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Partner Toolkit - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Mar 20, 2020 Details

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking action to protect the health and safety of our nation’s patients and providers in the wake of the 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. CMS has developed this toolkit to help you stay informed on CMS and HHS materials available on the COVID-19. Please share these materials, bookmark the page, and check back often for the most up-to-date info.

  • Decade of Success for Latino Children’s Health Now in Jeopardy (March 2020) - (Georgetown University, Health Policy Institute) - Mar 20, 2020 Details

    After years of progress following the implementation of major coverage provisions under the ACA, the rate of uninsured Latino children decreased to a historic low of 7.7 percent in 2016. Unfortunately, progress to reduce inequities is now eroding as the gap between health coverage rates for Latino children and all children widened in 2018 for the first time in a decade.

  • For millions of low-income seniors, coronavirus is a food-security issue - (Brookings Institution) - Mar 20, 2020 Details

    For older people with sufficient resources, the message is clear: stay home, stock up on food and supplies, and avoid group activities. However, these recommendations fail to address the struggle of millions of low-income older adults who lack access to healthy food and adequate nutrition on a daily basis.

  • How Should Medicaid Health Plans Respond to COVID-19? - (Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS)) - Mar 19, 2020 Details

    Health Share of Oregon is the Medicaid Coordinated Care Organization (CCO) for the region’s Medicaid enrollees with responsibility for physical, oral and behavioral health benefits. Post describes the first efforts that Health Share of Oregon is launching — as well as issues we know we will face — in the hope that others will share what they are doing and planning.

  • Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2017–2018 - (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)) - Mar 19, 2020 Details

    Opioids were involved in approximately 70% (46,802) of drug overdose deaths during 2018, representing decreases from 2017 in overdose death rates involving all opioids (2% decline), prescription opioids (14%), and heroin (4%); rates involving synthetic opioids increased 10%.

  • COVID-19 Resource Page - (Social Interventions Research & Evaluation Network (SIREN)) - Mar 19, 2020 Details

    A selection of recent articles highlighting the potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on resource-poor individuals and communities.

  • Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Request for information (RFI) - (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), HHS) - Mar 19, 2020 Details

    For the ‘‘Opioid Management in Older Adults’’ project, AHRQ is seeking to identify innovative approaches to managing opioid medications for chronic pain that are particularly relevant for older adults. Use of long-term opioid therapy in older adults can be especially problematic because of increased risks such as delirium, falls, and dementia. Information must be received by April 25, 2020.

  • Creating the New Normal: The Clinician Response to Covid-19 - (New England Journal of Medicine) - Mar 19, 2020 Details

    The Editor-in-Chief of NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery observes how rapidly things have changed in a single week in response to Covid-19, and why some aspects of care delivery, including unnecessary in-person visits, should not go back to the way they were.

  • Individual and Organizational Health Literacy: A Key to the Future of Health - (National Library of Medicine (NLM), NIH) - Mar 18, 2020 Details

    As a concept, health literacy has generated much attention and debate over the past 15 years. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) released Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. This report laid the groundwork for the idea that health literacy is more than the capacity of an individual to obtain, process, and understand the basic health information needed to make appropriate health decisions. Health literacy also involves system-level factors such as education, health services, and social and cultural influences.