Highlights of a Forum: Health Care 20 Years From Now–Taking Steps Today to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenges

Source: GAO, GAO-07-1155SP, September 7, 2007

The discussion sessions focused on three interrelated topics: cost and personal responsibility; coverage of the uninsured; and quality, standards, and outcomes. The keynote speech focused on related policy challenges. The following are highlights from these discussions and the participant poll. The proceedings are not intended to reflect the views of GAO.

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Fire Fighters and EMS Responders

Source: Diane L. Elliot, Kerry S. Kuehl, International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the United States, Fire Administration (USFA), Oregon Health & Science University, June 2007

From the summary:
This new report, The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Fire Fighters and EMS Responders, along with its accompanying computer-based educational program, presents background information on normal sleep physiology and the health and performance effects of sleep deprivation. Countermeasures for sleep deprivation are reviewed, which relate to identifying those particularly susceptible to risks of sleep deprivation, individual mitigating strategies and work-related issues. The project was supported by a cooperative agreement between the IAFC and the United States Fire Administration (USFA), with assistance from the faculty of Oregon Health & Science University.

Improving Quality of Health Care Relies on Effective Language Services

Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Issue Brief, October 2007

From the summary:
Speaking Together: National Language Services Network, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national program, is helping 10 hospitals nationwide identify, test and assess strategies to effectively provide language services to patients with limited English proficiency (LEP). This issue brief highlights how data are helping hospitals improve the way they provide language services to America’s increasingly diverse patient populations

Working in the 21st Century

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007

Working in the 21st Century is a portrait of the U.S. workforce at the beginning of the New Millennium: a set of charts and related information about subjects ranging from education levels to retirement plans.

You can view a “slideshow” of the chartbook on this website: START HERE.

You can go directly to any topic or chart that appears in Working in the 21st Century by clicking on it in the Table of Contents below; links are also provided to PDFs of the charts and to text files that contain the numbers underlying the charts. You can return to this Working in the 21st Century home page by clicking on “Chartbook Home” on any HTML page of the chartbook.

After A Three-Year Lull, Health Benefit Cost Growth Picks Up A Little Speed In 2008

Source: Mercer Health & Benefits, 5 September 2007

From the press release:
The good news, according to preliminary survey findings released today by Mercer Health & Benefits, is that health benefit cost growth will increase only slightly in 2008. But three years of flat growth around 6% each year had raised hopes that the health benefit cost trend would begin to drop down toward average wage and CPI trends. The bad news is that it remains about twice as high.

Reasons Social Security Privatization Particularly Harms Women

Source: National Partnership for Women and Families

Social Security was established nearly 70 years ago to provide a critical safety net to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Now, citing a fictitious “crisis,” President Bush wants to overhaul Social Security and change the way benefits are calculated and distributed, including having workers invest part of their contributions into private accounts. These proposals will severely undermine the Social Security safety net and disproportionately harm women and minorities. Social Security – the guaranteed foundation for most seniors’ retirement – must be strengthened, not whittled away.

The Social Security reform plan that President Bush is promoting would exacerbate those problems by diverting one-third of a worker’s Social Security contributions to private accounts. The result would be lower guaranteed benefits for ALL future retirees, regardless of whether they open individual private accounts. Lower benefits would cause great harm to women, who are much more likely than men to depend on Social Security’s guaranteed benefits to avoid poverty.

See also:
National Partnership for Women and Families: Social Security Page

Maternity Leave in the United States: Paid Parental Leave is still Not Standard, even among the Best U.S. Employers

Source: Vicky Lovell, Elizabeth O’Neill, and Skylar Olsen, Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), Fact Sheet, IWPR #A131 August 2007

From the press release:
WASHINGTON – A new fact sheet released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reports that nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of the best employers for working mothers provide four or fewer weeks of paid maternity leave, and half (52 percent) provide six weeks or less. Nearly half of the best companies fail to provide any paid leave for paternity or adoption. While more than one-quarter of the best companies (28 percent) provide nine or more weeks of paid maternity leave, many of the winners’ paid parental leave policies fall far short of families’ needs. IWPR’s analysis is based on data provided by Working Mother Media, publisher of Working Mother, regarding the 2006 list of Working Mother 100 Best Companies.

Newly Licensed RNs’ Characteristics, Work Attitudes, and Intentions to Work

Source: Christine T. Kovner,Carol S. Brewer, Susan Fairchild, Shakthi Poornima, Hongsoo Kim, Maja Djukic, American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 107 no. 9, September 1, 2007
(subscription required)

From a summary:
In this article, researchers presented findings from the first wave of a three-year panel study on the work experience of newly licensed nurses. A randomly selected sample of 3,266 newly licensed RNs from 60 sites across the country participated in the study. RNs completed a multipage survey that addressed several aspects of their current employment.

Minnesota Integrated Services Project Participant Characteristics and Program Implementation

Source: Karin Martinson, Caroline Ratcliffe, Elizabeth Harbison, and Joanna Parnes, Urban Institute, September 25, 2007

From the abstract:
The Minnesota Integrated Services Projects focus on improving the delivery of employment, health, and social services to families who receive cash assistance and have serious or multiple barriers to employment. Operating in eight sites, the project seeks to provide comprehensive assessments of participants’ barriers, improve access to more complete services that address multiple needs, and coordinate services provided by multiple service systems. This report examines the implementation of the projects, provides information on participants’ demographic, economic and barrier-related characteristics, and describes changes in economic outcomes among participants within a short (six-month) follow-up period.

The Next Generation of Antipoverty Policies

Source: Brookings Institution, Vol. 7 no. 2, Fall 2007

The Brookings Institution and Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School have released the latest Future of Children volume “The Next Generation of Antipoverty Policies.” The articles in this volume focus on several specific policies, covering a spectrum of short- and long-term strategies, that have the best chance of reducing poverty in a cost-effective way.