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News about Health Services Research

News items 4 weeks and older are available on the News Archive Web page.







  • Provider charges relative to Medicare rates, 2012-2017 - (Brookings Institution) - Dec 06, 2019 Details

    This analysis examines data on charges for providers treating Medicare patients released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from 2012-17, similar to previous analyses focused on these charges in 2014 and 2016.



  • CMS Office of the Actuary Releases 2018 National Health Expenditures - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Dec 05, 2019 Details

    Total national healthcare spending in 2018 grew 4.6 percent, which was slower than the 5.4 percent overall economic growth as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to a study conducted by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and published today ahead of print by Health Affairs.





  • Federal Health Insurance Exchange Weekly Enrollment Snapshot: Week 5 - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Dec 05, 2019 Details

    In week five of the 2020 Open Enrollment, 504,041 people selected plans using the HealthCare.gov platform. As in past years, enrollment weeks are measured Sunday through Saturday. Consequently, the cumulative totals reported in this snapshot reflect one fewer day than last year.


  • How the New Electronic Health Record Reporting Program Could Improve Patient Care - (Pew Charitable Trusts) - Dec 04, 2019 Details

    Through the 21st Century Cures Act, Congress tasked ONC with developing a reporting program to gather and release data on several different aspects of EHR performance, including usability. To implement this directive, ONC contracted with the Urban Institute to create the program and solicit feedback from stakeholders on what data to collect. In response, a broad range of groups, including those representing physicians, nurses, and children’s hospitals, called for the program to place a greater focus on how usability can affect patient safety.


  • Health Affairs Releases Issue on Rural Health - (Rural Health Information Hub) - Dec 04, 2019 Details

    The December 2019 issue of Health Affairs features articles focusing on different aspects of rural health, including topics like substance abuse, palliative care, access to care, workforce, mortality disparities, and more.



  • Wisconsin 2019 Health Workforce Report - Dec 03, 2019 Details

    Report describes the current state of Wisconsin’s health care labor force and make projections for the future. The report also analyzes factors that potentiate or inhibit the workforce’s ability to meet Wisconsin’s health care needs. (Wisconsin Hospital Association)


  • Priority Topics for the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF); Request for Information - (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HHS) - Dec 03, 2019 Details

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces the opening of a docket to obtain public comment to identify topics of public health importance that will form the basis of Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) evidence-based recommendations. Written comments must be received on or before January 23, 2020.


  • Beneficiary Engagement Toolkit - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Dec 03, 2019 Details

    This toolkit presents an array of innovative beneficiary engagement strategies that Medicare ACOs use to deliver high quality, effective care that is tailored to the unique needs of beneficiaries.




  • Request for Information (RFI) on the 2020 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Strategic Plan for Research - (National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NIH) - Dec 03, 2019 Details

    The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is updating its Strategic Plan for Research to guide the Institute’s research efforts and priorities over the next five years. The purpose of this Notice is to seek feedback from the public about the draft 2020 NIMH Strategic Plan for Research. The draft Strategic Plan will be publicly available via https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/strategic-planning-reports/2020-draft-strategic-plan.pdf for a 30-day period beginning on the publication of this Notice. The public is invited to provide comments.


  • Request for Information (RFI) on the 2020 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Strategic Plan for Research - (National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NIH) - Dec 03, 2019 Details

    The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is updating its Strategic Plan for Research to guide the Institute’s research efforts and priorities over the next five years. The purpose of this Notice is to seek feedback from the public about the draft 2020 NIMH Strategic Plan for Research. The draft Strategic Plan will be publicly available via https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/strategic-planning-reports/2020-draft-strategic-plan.pdf for a 30-day period beginning on the publication of this Notice. The public is invited to provide comments.



  • Transportation Equity, Health, and Aging: A Novel Approach to Healthy Longevity with Benefits Across the Life Span - (National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM)) - Dec 02, 2019 Details

    Access to adequate transportation may be one of the most neglected social determinants of health. Lack of access to personal vehicle transportation can have negative consequences on an individual's independence, emotional and social well-being, and life expectancy as they age. In order to ensure well-being across the life span, there is a need for a balanced perspective that can appropriately weigh safety risks against the consequences of restricting mobility. Learn more about the potential partnership between the health care and transportation fields that could facilitate this balance


  • Identifying Gaps in Federal Oversight of Hospitals’ Community Benefit Investments – Opportunities for State Policy - (National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP)) - Dec 02, 2019 Details

    In this costly, consolidated health care environment, policymakers need every available policy tool and lever to improve health and safeguard resources. This invites a conversation about whether it is time to update the Internal Revenue Services’ community benefit requirements to reflect the new contours of the health care landscape and: revisit the definition of “community” in the wake of hospital mergers; develop strategies to strengthen Form 990 Schedule H to facilitate state policymaking; and ensure that hospital community benefit spending effectively addresses the health priorities of communities and aligns with state health priorities. In the spirit of opening a dialogue between federal and state officials, some opportunities for policymaking are offered below.



  • No Itch to Switch: Few Medicare Beneficiaries Switch Plans During the Open Enrollment Period - (Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)) - Dec 02, 2019 Details

    Understanding how Medicare private plan markets are working is increasingly important for both beneficiaries and the Medicare program overall. Many presidential candidates and policymakers have proposed establishing a public program, modeled on Medicare, to expand coverage, while others want to expand the role of private plans within Medicare itself. To inform these discussions, this analysis examines the share of people enrolled in Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans (MA-PDs) and PDPs who switched plans for the following year during the open enrollment periods between 2007 and 2016, the most current year available for analysis of Medicare private plan switching rates.



  • Proposed Rule: Transparency in Coverage - (Internal Revenue Service) - Dec 02, 2019 Details

    These proposed rules set forth proposed requirements for group health plans and health insurance issuers in the individual and group markets to disclose cost-sharing information upon request, to a participant, beneficiary, or enrollee (or his or her authorized representative), including an estimate of such individual's cost-sharing liability for covered items or services furnished by a particular provider.










  • An Opportunity for State and Territorial Health Agencies to Improve Access to Needed Health Services - (Journal of Public Health Management and Practice) - Nov 27, 2019 Details

    For rural and underserved regions and communities in particular, telehealth can mitigate transportation barriers to care and address health care provider workforce shortages. Beyond clinical care, telehealth can be leveraged to deliver public health services, health education, and enhance population health. State and territorial health officials (S/THOs) and their agencies can lead state health transformation efforts by leveraging telehealth to improve population health statewide.


  • More Kids on Medicaid to Get Health Care in School - (Pew Charitable Trusts) - Nov 27, 2019 Details

    Children who have high blood pressure or are obese perform worse academically than others. Children with asthma miss far more school. Students who have healthy diets, who are physically active, who abstain from alcohol and illicit drugs, get better grades. With that in mind, more than a dozen states are finally taking advantage of a five-year-old federal policy change that would make it easier for schools to provide health care to millions of children across the country.






  • Tools for Gender-Based Violence Data - (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MEASURE Evaluation) - Nov 26, 2019 Details

    To improve data quality of data collection and data quality for people who report having experienced GBV, MEASURE Evaluation—funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has developed several materials and a job aid.



  • Telemedicine in Sexual and Reproductive Health - (Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)) - Nov 25, 2019 Details

    This brief presents an overview of telemedicine’s current use in sexual and reproductive health care, and reviews considerations in its coverage, potential to improve access, and financial implications for providers and patients.



  • The Ripple Effect: National and State Estimates of the U.S. Opioid Epidemic’s Impact on Children - (United Hospital Fund (UHF)) - Nov 25, 2019 Details

    Report maps out the impact the opioid epidemic on children in each state in 2017, revealing a wide variation. If current trends continue, the number of children affected nationwide by opioid use will rise to an estimated 4.3 million by 2030, and the cumulative lifetime cost will reach $400 billion in additional spending on health care, special education, child welfare, and criminal justice.



  • Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity - (National Institutes of Health (NIH), HHS) - Nov 25, 2019 Details

    NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and to apply that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. To achieve this mission, NIH substantially invests in research to improve public health; it also devotes substantial resources to identify, develop, support and maintain the quality of its scientific resources, including human capital. This diversity statement was informed by a literature review, the reports and deliberations of several internal NIH committees, as well as input from Institute and Center officials, program staff and external stakeholders.



  • What Are We Learning from State Reporting on Drug Pricing? - (National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP)) - Nov 21, 2019 Details

    This report summarizes what states are learning from reporting required by prescription drug price transparency laws, which include reports on data submitted by health insurers, manufacturers, and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).


  • Rural Health at CMS: What’s Been Done and What’s to Come - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Nov 21, 2019 Details

    While today, we are highlighting National Rural Health Day, CMS supports rural communities throughout the year with our Rethinking Rural Health Initiative. Our rural health strategy applies a rural lens to the work of CMS to improve access to care through provider engagement and support, expand access to innovative technologies, empower patients in rural areas to make healthcare decisions, and leverage partnerships to improve health outcomes.


  • Rural-Urban Disparities in Health Care in Medicare (November 2019) - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Nov 21, 2019 Details

    This report describes the quality of health care received in 2018 by Medicare beneficiaries nationwide. Specifically, the report highlights rural-urban differences in health care experiences and clinical care and looks at how rural-urban differences vary by race and ethnicity and how racial and ethnic differences vary between rural and urban areas.



  • Advancing the HRSA Strategy to Address Intimate Partner Violence Request for Information - (Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), HHS) - Nov 21, 2019 Details

    The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) seeks information about how the agency could sustain activities described in the HRSA Strategy to Address Intimate Partner Violence, 2017-2020 and/or begin new initiatives to address intimate partner violence (IPV) in the communities served by HRSA programs. Comments must be submitted by December 9, 2019 11:59 p.m. ET.


  • Severe Maternal Morbidity and Hospital Transfer Among Rural Residents - (University of Minnesota, Rural Health Research Center) - Nov 21, 2019 Details

    Brief compares hospital transfer rates for rural and urban residents who gave birth and we provide descriptive information about the relationship between transfer status and severe maternal morbidity and mortality (SMMM) for rural residents in a national sample of hospital discharge data on deaths that occurred 2008-2014.


  • Potentially Excess Deaths from the Five Leading Causes of Death in Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Counties — United States, 2010–2017 - (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)) - Nov 21, 2019 Details

    A 2017 report quantified the higher percentage of potentially excess (or preventable) deaths in nonmetropolitan areas (often referred to as rural areas) compared with metropolitan areas. In that report, CDC compared national, regional, and state estimates of potentially excess deaths among the five leading causes of death in nonmetropolitan and metropolitan counties for 2010 and 2014. This report enhances the geographic detail by using the six levels of the 2013 National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) urban-rural classification scheme for counties and extending estimates of potentially excess deaths by annual percent change (APC) and for additional years (2010–2017). Trends were tested both with linear and quadratic terms.


  • The Role of Veterinarians in the Opioid Crisis - (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HHS) - Nov 21, 2019 Details

    Veterinarians and veterinary clinics can be registered with the US Drug Enforcement Administration and in many states can administer, prescribe, stock, and dispense opioids. As efforts to educate and monitor opioid prescribing by medical and dental providers have increased, individuals may try to covertly access opioids for their own use from their pets or other animals. In addition, leftover opioids from veterinary prescriptions can also result in diversion, misuse, or inadvertent exposure for members of the household. Access to opioids in the workplace can also lead to misuse by veterinary staff leading to overdose and death.


  • The Neighborhood Atlas—Free Social Determinants of Health Data for All! - (National Institute on Aging (NIA), NIH) - Nov 21, 2019 Details

    The Neighborhood Atlas is a user-friendly, online tool that enables customized ranking and mapping of neighborhoods according to socioeconomic disadvantage across the full U.S., including Puerto Rico. Anyone can use the Neighborhood Atlas, not just researchers: If you can use a smartphone mapping app, you can use the Atlas.


  • Federal Health Insurance Exchange Weekly Enrollment Snapshot: Week 3 - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Nov 21, 2019 Details

    In week three of the 2020 Open Enrollment, 737,352 people selected plans using the HealthCare.gov platform. As in past years, enrollment weeks are measured Sunday through Saturday. Consequently, the cumulative totals reported in this snapshot reflect one fewer day than last year.



  • Request for Information (RFI) on Opportunities for Promoting Cardiovascular Health of Mothers and Children through Evidence-based Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs - (National Institutes of Health (NIH), HHS) - Nov 21, 2019 Details

    This Request for Information (RFI) is to solicit ideas on opportunities for promoting cardiovascular health of mothers and children through evidence-based maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting programs. Information is requested from the research community, state, tribal, and local government agencies, health care professionals, evidence-based home visiting model developers, early intervention providers, representatives of health and/or home visiting advocacy organizations, members of scientific or professional organizations, community-based organizations, or other interested stakeholders. All responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to the following webpage at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/rfi/rfi.cfm?ID=96 by February 7, 2020.


  • CY 2020 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Policy Changes: Hospital Price Transparency Requirements (CMS-1717-F2) - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Nov 21, 2019 Details

    On November 15, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized policies that follow directives in President Trump’s Executive Order, entitled “Improving Price and Quality Transparency in American Healthcare to Put Patients First,” that lay the foundation for a patient-driven healthcare system by making prices for items and services provided by all hospitals in the United States more transparent for patients so that they can be more informed about what they might pay for hospital items and services.






  • Key Facts on Health and Health Care by Race and Ethnicity - (Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)) - Nov 19, 2019 Details

    A newly released chart pack provides data on demographics; health coverage, access, and utilization; and health status by race and ethnicity to provide greater insight into the status of health disparities and changes in disparities since implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage expansions in 2014.









  • The New PubMed is Here - (National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), NLM) - Nov 19, 2019 Details

    An updated version of PubMed is now available at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/. The new PubMed will become the default in spring 2020 and will ultimately replace the legacy version.




  • Opioid Use Disorder among Medicaid Enrollees: Snapshot of the Epidemic and State Responses - (Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)) - Nov 18, 2019 Details

    This brief draws on analyses provided by the Medicaid Outcomes Distributed Research Network (MODRN), a collaborative effort to analyze data across multiple states to facilitate learning among Medicaid agencies. It profiles the opioid epidemic among the Medicaid population in six states participating in MODRN that also have been hard hit by the opioid epidemic: Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The brief also draws on interviews with officials from the state Medicaid and other health agencies.



  • Differences in Preventive Care Among Rural Residents by Race and Ethnicity - (University of Minnesota, Rural Health Research Center) - Nov 18, 2019 Details

    Disparities in preventive care by both rural and urban location and by race and ethnicity are well-documented in the literature, as discussed below, but less is known about whether there are differences in health care use among rural residents by race and ethnicity. This brief addresses this gap by examining differences in preventive care among rural residents by race and ethnicity.



  • Transparency in Coverage Proposed Rule (CMS- 9915 –P) - (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS) - Nov 15, 2019 Details

    The Transparency in Coverage proposed rule released today by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Department of the Treasury (the Departments) are delivering on President Trump’s executive order on Improving Price and Quality Transparency.








  • Beyond the Numbers: Access to Reproductive Health Care for Low-Income Women in Five Communities - (Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF)) - Nov 15, 2019 Details

    In the spring and summer of 2019, KFF, working with Health Management Associates, conducted interviews with clinicians, social service providers, community-based organizations, researchers, and health care advocates, as well as a focus group with low-income women in five “medically underserved” communities. Based on the interviews and focus groups, the study addresses how national, state, and local policies, as well as cultural factors, shape access to contraceptive care, sexually transmitted infection prevention and treatment, obstetrical care, and abortion services.


  • Culture of Health Prize 2019 Winners Announced - (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)) - Nov 15, 2019 Details

    RWJF proudly honors these five communities with the Culture of Health Prize for their unwavering commitment to promoting health and well-being where they live: Broward County, FL, Greenville County, SC, Gonzales, CA, Lake County, CO, and Sitka, AK.





  • Rural Health Clinic Costs and Medicare Reimbursement - (University of Southern Maine) - Nov 14, 2019 Details

    A key feature of the RHC Program is Medicare and Medicaid volume-appropriate, cost-based reimbursement, which is designed to sustain these vulnerable rural primary care providers. Medicare currently pays RHCs for the lesser of reasonable costs (expressed as an adjusted cost per visit) for a defined package of RHC services or a per-visit reimbursement cap, from which provider-based RHCs owned by hospitals with fewer than 50 beds are exempt. Although the per-visit cap is updated periodically, RHC administrators, policymakers, and stakeholders question whether the updates have allowed RHCs to keep pace with increases in staffing and other costs. This brief explores this issue by examining the costs of RHCs relative to Medicare payment limits for different types and sizes of RHC providers.


  • Expanding Women's Health Practitioners and Researchers' Understanding of Transgender/Nonbinary Health Issues - (Elsevier) - Nov 14, 2019 Details

    This commentary does not aim to offer a perfect definition of women's health. Rather, in this commentary we explore issues of health care experiences and needs regarding the transgender and nonbinary (TNB) population, one often categorized under the umbrella of “women's health” yet woefully underrepresented in data, research, and policies related to equitable health care provision and access. We argue for a more inclusive understanding of women's health, which includes culturally responsive care for TNB patients.


  • Study finds leading risk factors and causes of death and disability underrepresented in NIH-supported prevention research - (National Institutes of Health (NIH), HHS) - Nov 14, 2019 Details

    A study by National Institutes of Health scientists in the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) examined NIH grants and cooperative agreements during fiscal years 2012 through 2017 to determine the alignment of prevention research across NIH institutes and centers with leading risk factors and causes of death and disability in the United States. The study found that while the top-10 risk factors for death are associated with more than half of the deaths in the United States, only a third of NIH-supported prevention research measured those risk factors as exposures or outcomes. Similarly, while 7 out of every 10 Americans die from the 10 leading causes of death, fewer than 3 in 10 prevention research projects supported by the NIH measure these causes of death as exposures or outcomes.


  • Factors that Influence Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment (August 2019) - (National Council for Behavioral Health) - Nov 14, 2019 Details

    Report focuses on: 1. the ways in which organizational culture and provider perceptions and attitudes affect access to MAT and other SUD treatment; 2. how Medicaid and other insurance coverage impact access to MAT and other SUD treatment; and 3. state-specific initiatives in place to address the opioid epidemic and other SUDs.