How the Affordable Care Act Has Helped Women Gain Insurance and Improved Their Ability to Get Health Care: Findings from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 2016

Source: Munira Z. Gunja, Sara R. Collins, Michelle M. Doty, Sophie Beutel, Commonwealth Fund, Issue Brief, August 2017

– The number of U.S. working-age women lacking health insurance has fallen by nearly half since the ACA was enacted
– Because of the ACA, women are finding it easier to buy an affordable plan that fits their health needs

From the abstract:
Issue:
Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one-third of women who tried to buy a health plan on their own were either turned down, charged a higher premium because of their health, or had specific health problems excluded from their plans. Beginning in 2010, ACA consumer protections, particularly coverage for preventive care screenings with no cost-sharing and a ban on plan benefit limits, improved the quality of health insurance for women. In 2014, the law’s major insurance reforms helped millions of women who did not have employer insurance to gain coverage through the ACA’s marketplaces or through Medicaid.

Goals:
To examine the effects of ACA health reforms on women’s coverage and access to care.

Method:
Analysis of the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Surveys, 2001–2016.

Findings and Conclusions:
Women ages 19 to 64 who shopped for new coverage on their own found it significantly easier to find affordable plans in 2016 compared to 2010. The percentage of women who reported delaying or skipping needed care because of costs fell to an all-time low. Insured women were more likely than uninsured women to receive preventive screenings, including Pap tests and mammograms.
Related:
Appendices
Chartpack (pdf)
Chartpack (ppt)
Press Release

State Health Agency and Local Health Department Workforce: Identifying Top Development Needs

Source: Angela J. Beck, Jonathon P. Leider, Fatima Coronado, and Elizabeth Harper, American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), Vol. 107 no. 9, September 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objectives.
To identify occupations with high-priority workforce development needs at public health departments in the United States.

Methods.
We surveyed 46 state health agencies (SHAs) and 112 local health departments (LHDs). We asked respondents to prioritize workforce needs for 29 occupations and identify whether more positions, more qualified candidates, more competitive salaries for recruitment or retention, or new or different staff skills were needed.

Results.
Forty-one SHAs (89%) and 36 LHDs (32%) participated. The SHAs reported having high-priority workforce needs for epidemiologists and laboratory workers; LHDs for disease intervention specialists, nurses, and administrative support, management, and leadership positions. Overall, the most frequently reported SHA workforce needs were more qualified candidates and more competitive salaries. The LHDs most frequently reported a need for more positions across occupations and more competitive salaries. Workforce priorities for respondents included strengthening epidemiology workforce capacity, adding administrative positions, and improving compensation to recruit and retain qualified employees.

Conclusions.
Strategies for addressing workforce development concerns of health agencies include providing additional training and workforce development resources, and identifying best practices for recruitment and retention of qualified candidates.

Beach Town Tries To Reverse Runaway Growth Of ‘Sober Homes’

Source: Greg Allen, NPR, Morning Edition, August 10, 2017

Some local and state officials in South Florida are calling for more regulation of addiction recovery residences to help combat insurance scams.
Related:
Sober Homes Task Force Report 2017
Source: Palm Beach County, Sober Homes Task Force Report, January 1, 2017

Grand Jury Report
Source: State Attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County, December 8, 2016

Delray Beach Principles to Guide Zoning for Community Residences for People with Disabilities
Source: Daniel Lauber, prepared for the City of Delray Beach Florida, May 2017

Industry Payments to Physicians for Opioid Products, 2013–2015

Source: Scott E Hadland, Maxwell S. Krieger, and Brandon D. L. Marshall, American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), Vol. 107 no. 9, September 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objectives.
To identify payments that involved opioid products from the pharmaceutical industry to physicians.

Methods.
We used the Open Payments program database from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to identify payments involving an opioid to physicians between August 2013 and December 2015. We used medians, interquartile ranges, and ranges as a result of heavily skewed distributions to examine payments according to opioid product, abuse-deterrent formulation, nature of payment, state, and physician specialty.

Results.
During the study, 375 266 nonresearch opioid-related payments were made to 68 177 physicians, totaling $46 158 388. The top 1% of physicians received 82.5% of total payments in dollars. Abuse-deterrent formulations constituted 20.3% of total payments, and buprenorphine marketed for addiction treatment constituted 9.9%. Most payments were for speaking fees or honoraria (63.2% of all dollars), whereas food and beverage payments were the most frequent (93.9% of all payments). Physicians specializing in anesthesiology received the most in total annual payments (median = $50; interquartile range = $16–$151).

Conclusions.
Approximately 1 in 12 US physicians received a payment involving an opioid during the 29-month study. These findings should prompt an examination of industry influences on opioid prescribing.

‘What can I do’? Child welfare workers’ perceptions of what they can do to address poverty

Source: Juliana Carlson, Journal of Children and Poverty, Latest Articles, Published online: 02 Aug 2017
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Within the field of child welfare, critical questions have been posed about the intersecting issues of child maltreatment and poverty. The study of the quality and nature of this intersection has continued relevance in light of evidence showing the increased likelihood of maltreatment of children living in poverty. Although child welfare workers interact directly with families involved with the child welfare system, the study of workers’ perceptions of whether or not they address families’ poverty and, if so, how they go about it has not yet been conducted. The study presented begins to address this gap. Analysis from individual interviews with 30 child welfare workers revealed that they differed in their perception of whether or not poverty should be addressed by child welfare and how. Findings suggest workers do what they can despite various barriers, including families’ limitations and the fragile US social welfare safety net. Based on the findings, current practice models and policies that impact poverty and child maltreatment reduction are discussed.

How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work from Home

Source: Rebecca Knight, Harvard Business Review, May 5, 2017

More and more people are working remotely, and many say it improves their productivity and satisfaction — while also saving them time and money. If you’re commuting to an office every day but would like to work elsewhere on a weekly basis, how can you convince your boss to let you do so? What arguments or evidence should you use? And what factors will increase your chances of securing a regular work-at-home schedule?…

The Personality Traits of Good Negotiators

Source: Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Harvard business Review, August 7, 2017

Although there are hundreds of books about how to negotiate more effectively, the advice they offer is often difficult to apply, for three reasons. First, there are just too many contextual specificities underpinning each negotiation, such that one size does not fit all. Second, the effectiveness of each strategy is partly dependent on the personal background of the negotiators — who they are, what they want, and how they connect. Third, many of the factors determining the outcome of negotiations are more emotional than rational, which requires a deep psychological understanding of the people involved…..

Many People With Disabilities Are Being Paid Way Below the Minimum Wage, and It’s Perfectly Legal

Source: Ashley Dejean, Mother Jones, August 8, 2017

Chris Wilson is 33 years old and has Down syndrome. For the last three years, he’s worked at Kandu Industries, a packaging and assembly factory in Janesville, Wisconsin. He usually makes between $2 and $3 an hour, depending on whether he is packing brackets used in playground equipment or packaging food.  

…. Kandu Industries can pay Chris and roughly 150 other workers substantially below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour because of a 1938 provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act that permits employers, who apply to the Department of Labor for a waiver, to pay lower wages to people with disabilities. According to the department, about 20 percent of people with disabilities participate in the workforce, and of that group, about 3 percent, or approximately 195,000 workers, are being paid subminimum wages. These workers typically make well below the minimum wage, sometimes as low as “pennies per hour,” according to the Department of Justice…..

Taking Care of the Mentally Ill

Source: B.L. Sloan, D.E. Efeti, Corrections Today, Vol. 79 no. 3, May/June 2017
(subscription required)

A training opportunity for correctional professionals. …. Across the nation, individuals with a serious mental illness are three times more likely to be incarcerated than placed in a mental health facility. … Because of this ever-growing population, the challenges facing correctional staff regarding custody, supervision and treatment of mentally ill offenders have never been greater. Therefore, it is not only necessary for the treatment staff to address then needs of the mentally ill offender, but it is critical for security staff members to understand and recognize problems faced by this special population and be better equipped to manage it. ….

Public Works 2017 Salary Survey Results

Source: Victoria K. Sicaras, Public Works, Vol. 148 no. 5, June/July 2017

Paychecks continue rising, but not enough to make up for ground lost during the recession and increasing benefits costs.

It’s been nine years since the U.S. economy bottomed out, and the heavily hit real estate and construction markets have finally entered full recovery mode. The unemployment rate has dropped back down to prerecession levels and gas prices are even lower than in 2006. Plus, consumer confidence has so far remained strong in 2017, according to The Confidence Board, the nonprofit economic research association owned by Nielson Holdings.