RN Issue Briefs

RN Issue Briefs

NATIONAL WOMEN’S CHECK-UP DAY, MAY 10

On Monday, May 10, 2004, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is planning the second annual National Women’s Check-Up Day. This day will support efforts to help underserved women gain access to important preventive health care services and further the President’s long-range initiative to expand health care services through local health centers for people without health insurance. On National Women’s Check-Up Day 2004, HHS is offering health providers across the country the opportunity to participate by providing preventive health services to women. For more information, visit: http://4woman.gov/whw/2004.

PUBLIC HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS ECHO CDC’s CALL FOR INCREASED CERVICAL CANCER SCREENING

Three leading national public health organizations – the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD), the American Social Health Association (ASHA), and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) – echoed CDC’s recommendations contained in a January report to Congress calling for the reduction of cervical cancer incidence and deaths by increasing Pap test screening among women.

NATIONAL WOMEN’S HEALTH WEEK

National Women’s Health Week is a national effort by an alliance of government organizations to raise awareness about manageable steps women can take to improve their health. The focus is on the importance of incorporating simple preventive and positive health behaviors into everyday life. It encourages awareness about key health issues among all women, and especially African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latinas, and American Indian/Alaska Native women, since research has shown there are significant health disparities among these groups compared to white women. Plan now to join the 2004 National Women’s Health Week celebration, May 9-15. Whether you are an individual, a health care provider, a business leader, a community organization, or a governor, mayor, or tribal leader, there is something you can do to participate in National Women’s Health Week. For more information see the following website: http://www.4woman.gov/whw/2004

HAVING A HARD TIME HELPING PREGNANT MOMS QUIT SMOKING?

Numerous studies have shown the positive effects of smoking cessation upon the health of individuals across both socioeconomic and racial lines. The State of Kansas has a wonderful resource in the Kansas Quitline which is a toll-free telephone number for people with a sincere desire to quit smoking tobacco (1-866-KANSTOP 1-866-526-7867). This line not only provides a link to more information, but also is a means to obtain counseling assistance using the telephone as a direct link for this service. To learn more about the benefits of smoking cessation and for other resources go to: www.kanstop.org Also, coming to a town near you this Spring will be a series of educational sessions covering the topic of smoking cessation as presented by KDHE staff at the Regional Healthy Start Home Visitor Trainings.

For a list go to: www.kdhe.state.ks.us/bcyf/c-f/healthy.html. Now, you will be on the Healthy Start Program Web page. Next click on the menu item, “New: Regional Meetings 2004”, then click on the “Meeting time and location details” selection which will bring you to the Healthy Start Home Visitor regional meeting brochure. The first session begins on March 24, 2004 in Ulysses and the schedule proceeds to its conclusion on May 3, 2004 in Pratt. See you there!

NEW NEEDLESTICK PREVENTION GUIDE

ANA has created a Needlestick Prevention Guide as part of its ongoing Safe Needles Save Lives campaign. The guide is designed to educate nurses about the risks of needlestick injuries and how to prevent them particularly through the evaluation, selection, and implementation of safe needle and sharps devices.

http://www.nursingworld.org/needlestick/nshome.htm

HEALTH INSURANCE REMAINS A CRITICAL ISSUE FOR WOMEN

Nationally 16 million women lack coverage. To provide up-to-date statistics on women’s coverage at the state level, the Kaiser Family Foundation is releasing a new fact sheet on women’s health coverage for the years 2001 and 2002. Nationally, 17.7% of women ages 18 to 64 are uninsured. Among low income women with incomes below 200% of poverty, more than one-third are uninsured. Rates of uninsured low-income women in the states range from a low of 18.9% in Massachusetts to a high of 50% in Texas. Medicaid provides coverage for more than one in five low-income women nationally. Medicaid’s role for women varies significantly among states. Private insurance is the dominant form of coverage for women, providing coverage for nearly three-quarters nationwide. New Hampshire has the highest percentage of privately insured women (84.5%) and New Mexico has the lowest (62%). Private coverage is less common among low income women. 42.6% of low-income women in the U.S. have private health insurance, with a low of 35% in Alaska, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia. A fact sheet is available at: http://www.kff.org/womenshealth/1613-03.cfm

“ASSESSMENT-OF STATE LAWS…” REPORT RELEASED

Available from the HHS Office of Minority Health in draft form is “Assessment of State Laws, Regulations and Practices Affecting the Collection and Reporting of Racial and Ethnic Data by Health Insurers and Managed Care Plans,” a report by the National Health Law Program. The report, which reviews every states’ laws and policies regarding the collection and reporting of racial, ethnic and primary language data by health insurers and managed care plans, is available at http://www.omhrc.gov/omh/sidebar/datastats 13.htm. A report from the project’s second phase – detailing results from site visits to 20 states – should be available some time this year.

PRIMARY CARE SAFETY NET

About 79,000 people were served in the Kansas safety net clinics last year.

In Kansas, there are currently 34 federally and state funded safety net clinics:

* 9 Community Health Centers

* 1 Farmworker Health Voucher Program

* 1 Federally qualified look-alike

* 9 state and local funded clinics

* 14 clinics with no state or federal funding

Kansas’ primary care safety net includes:

* Community health centers, also known as federally qualified health center (FQHCs);

* FQHC “look-alikes,” which don’t receive certain grant support or free malpractice coverage under the Federal Tort Claims Act;

* Rural Health Clinics;

* Faith Based Clinics; and

* Indigent Clinics.

HUNGER, FOOD AVAILABILITY A CONCERN FOR ONE IN TEN KANSAS FAMILIES

A comprehensive study of food availability in Kansas has revealed that substantial numbers of families in this “breadbasket” state have to make do with less food than is necessary for an active, healthy life, and that one in three of those households have someone who goes hungry to make up for the shortfall.

Specifically, each year an estimated 105,000 Kansas households (or about 10 percent of the households in the state) experienced uncertain availability or access to enough food at some time during the year. The problem was so acute in 38,000 of these households that one or more individuals went hungry at some time during the year. The other 67,000 households avoided hunger by eating less varied diets, participating in federal food assistance programs or relying on such sources as community food pantries. These statistics are similar to national rates for food insecurity and hunger, and changed little over the six years that were studied.

The Kansas Health Institute, a Topeka-based independent, nonprofit health policy and research organization, used data from the annual Current Population Survey Food security Supplement for the years 1995 to 2000, to evaluate food security-that is, access to adequate amounts of food at all times-and hunger in the state. The results of the study, Hunger in the Heartland: Hunger and Food Insecurity Among Kansans, 1995-2000, funded through a grant from the State of Kansas, Office of the Attorney General, indicate that hunger is a problem that affects a broad cross-section of Kansans.

See the full report Hunger in the Heartland: Hunger and Food Insecurity Among Kansans, 1995-2000 on the Kansas Health Institute Web site, www.khi.org.

PRIMARY CARE SAFETY NET IN KANSAS WEEK

FEBRUARY 8-14, 2004

More than 280,000 Kansans lack access to health insurance, of which 72 percent are poor or nearly poor. Statewide, primary care clinics provide affordable and accessible health care to 1 in 4 of the State’s uninsured, but the number of individuals without health insurance continues to grow. Primary care clinics are operating at capacity to serve the most vulnerable Kansans. Primary Care Clinics serve more than 122,000 vulnerable Kansans: 93 percent of these patients’ income is 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level or below, 64 percent are uninsured and 24 percent rely on Medicaid or Medicare.

The Kansas Association for the Medically Underserved (KAMU), the State Primary Care Association, is a non-profit association composed of a membership of 34 primary care clinics all working toward increasing health care access for the underserved.

2003 EXPECTED TO MARK FIRST SLOWDOWN IN HEALTH CARE COST GROWTH IN SIX YEARS

Health care spending in the United States is projected to grow 7.8 percent in 2003, down from the 9.3 percent growth experienced in 2002, according to a report issued in February by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

A slowdown in health care spending growth in 2003 would follow six consecutive years of acceleration. As a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), health care spending is expected to continue to grow, reaching 15.3 percent in 2003, up from 14.9 percent in 2002, according to the report prepared by the CMS Office of the Actuary and published on-line by the journal Health Affairs.

The deceleration in the health care spending growth rate is mainly due to slower rates of growth anticipated for Medicaid and Medicare spending, private health insurance spending per enrollee, and medical price inflation. In particular, hospital and prescription drug spending are projected to experience slower growth than they have in recent years. By 2013, health care spending in the United States is projected to reach $3.4 trillion and 18.4 percent of GDP. From 2002 to 2013, health care spending is projected to grow 7.3 percent per year on average.

Copyright Kansas State Nurses Association Mar 2004

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