The Patient Safety Academy, now in it's 5th year, brings together individuals engaged in healthcare quality and patient safety activities. An interdisciplinary day-long event, the Academy provides thought-provoking sessions, skill building workshops,and the sharing of best practices in patient safety. Nationally recognized leaders will present the opening and closing plenary sessions, with workshops led by local experts on topics including pharmacy and medication management, patient engagement, health information technology, prevention of health associated infections, and much more! Colleagues will be able to network and share best practices through interactive sessions and best practice displays. The Academy will also honor Maine's leaders in patient safety through the Rising Tide awards. More information, including links to registration, display submissions and award nomination forms, will be available soon.
Population Health and Health Policy
The impact of the ACA Medicaid expansion on health care coverage and access in rural areas is largely unknown and will depend on the different state policy contexts in which the expansions are implemented and on existing system capacity. Understanding how many rural residents are likely to become newly eligible for Medicaid under the ACA, as well as their characteristics and health status, will provide important information to aid policymakers in structuring outreach and enrollment strategies and ensuring that the healthcare infrastructure and delivery systems in rural areas can address the needs of these individuals.
On March 18th, Dr. Erika Ziller, Deputy Director of the Maine Rural Health Research Center at the University of Southern Maine, will present via a webinar, nationally representative information identifying rural-urban differences among low-income non-elderly adults (18 to 65) in the following areas:
- Medicaid eligibility, pre-ACA
- Medicaid participation, pre-ACA
- New Medicaid eligibility in 2014
Dr. Ziller will also analyze the characteristics associated with any rural-urban differences in the above areas. Characteristics to be considered include age, gender, employment, education, income, Census region, health status, current relationship to primary care provider, primary care supply, and FQHC availability.
Register for the free webinar at: https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/registrations/new?cid=hoyjw9mp1en8
This webinar is based on Dr. Ziller's research under a State Health Access Reform Evaluation (SHARE) grant to inform federal and state implementation of the ACA Medicaid expansion by estimating the size and characteristics of the rural population likely to be newly eligible.
This editorial highlights the progress of public health accreditation efforts as discussed by the articles in this special issue. This issue represents an important step toward establishing a stronger evidence base for the national accreditation program, and the articles within this issue address many of the research agenda topics, including technical assistance, connections with public health categorical programs, readiness, and the impact of accreditation on public health departments of many sizes, types, and structures.
This article describes case reports that highlight the journey of accreditation through the lens of 11 health departments at various stages in the process. These case reports call attention to the link between accreditation and quality improvement.
Suggested Citation: Joly, B., & Davis, M. V. (2014). Introduction to case reports: One goal-many journeys. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 20(1), 64-65. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182a958da
Telemental health has long been promoted in rural areas to address chronic access barriers to mental health care. While support and enthusiasm for telemental health in rural areas remains quite high, we lack a clear picture of the reality of telemental health in rural areas, compared to its promise. This Research & Policy Brief reports on the first part of our study—the online survey of 53 telemental health programs—and describes the organizational setting, services provided, and the staff mix of these programs. We draw from our telephone interviews with 23 of these programs to help describe the organizational context of telemental health programs.
- The scope and volume of services provided are often modest suggesting that the business case for these programs may be weaker than the clinical case.
- The programs in our study were able to secure funding and other supports to implement services, but their ability to maintain and expand services to address unmet need is less certain.
- Telemental health primarily addresses issues related to the distribution of providers and travel distances to care. However, there are underlying practice management issues, common to all mental health practices in rural areas, which pose challenges to the scope and sustainability of telemental health, including reimbursement, provider recruitment and retention, practice economies of scale, high rates of uninsurance, and high patient “no show” rates.
- It is becoming increasingly apparent that telehealth technology, by itself, cannot overcome service delivery challenges without underlying reform to the mental health service system.
Lambert, D., Gale, J., Hansen, A. Y., Croll, Z., & Hartley, D. (2013). Telemental health in today's rural health system. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Rural Health Research Center.
First STEPS (Strengthening Together Early Preventive Services) is a learning initiative supported by Maine's CHIPRA quality demonstration grant to support measure-driven practice improvement in pediatric and family practices across the state on improving developmental, autism, and lead screening for children. This report, authored by research staff at the USM Muskie School, evaluates the impact of Phase II of Maine's First STEPS initiative, which was implemented from May to December 2012 and included 12 practices serving more than 20,000 children on MaineCare (Maine's Medicaid system). The authors assess changes in developmental, autism, and lead screening rates and evidence-based office processes in participating practices before and after the initiative, as well as related systems changes. They also summarize lessons learned in implementing changes in practices and challenges in using CHIPRA and IHOC developmental, autism, and lead screening measures at the practice-level to inform quality improvement.
Suggested Citation: Fox K, Gray C, Elbaum-Williamson M. First STEPS Phase II Initiative: Improving Developmental, Autism, and Lead Screening for Children. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service; August, 2013. Improving Health Outcomes for Children (IHOC) Final Evaluation Report.