Materials & News

Cultural and Linguistic Competency Toolbox

This Learning Toolbox focuses on cultural and linguistic competency and their importance for helping to eliminate disparities in the delivery of quality healthcare.  The Toolbox includes a quick primer, and provides useful links to articles, tools, and resources. Quick Primer What is cultural and linguistic competency? Cultural and linguistic competency in healthcare refers to the …

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Health Literacy Toolbox

This Learning Toolbox focuses on health literacy as an important determinant of health equity and outcomes.  It includes a quick primer on health literacy, and provides links to articles, tools, and resources to improve the health literacy of organizations and patients. Quick Primer What is health literacy? Health literacy is commonly defined as “the degree …

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Health Equity Updates: January Newsletter

Check out the latest health equity news, health observances, events, and resources supporting the IPRO QIN-QIO efforts to eliminate health disparities for Medicare beneficiaries. What’s inside? AHRQ 2019 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report HHS OMH Announces New Initiative to Address Hypertension New E&M Coding Guidelines Account for Patients’ Social Risks New CMS Organ Donation …

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Glaucoma Awareness Month: January 2021

This monthly health observance highlights the importance of educating others on glaucoma. According to the National Eye Institute, over three million people in the United States have glaucoma. This number is projected to reach 4.2 million by 2030 – a 58% increase. As we age, we are at greater risk for developing eye diseases. The …

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CDC Immunization Courses: Webcasts and Self Study

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a new web-on-demand, self-paced training module for healthcare providers who will be administering Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. This module will provide information on storage, handling, preparation, administration, and documentation of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Continuing education will be available for this module. For more information, go to …

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Fall and Slip Prevention: Winter 2020-2021

With winter weather comes messy walkways and debris. Add in health conditions and you’ve got yourself one hazardous situation. These conditions lead to loss of balance, mobility, and strength for seniors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every second of every day, an older adult (age 65+) suffers a fall in …

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It’s Not Too Late to Get the Flu Shot

It’s more important than ever for everyone to do their part to help prevent the spread of illnesses like the flu. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer people are getting vaccines which puts their communities at greater risk for other preventable diseases, like the flu. When people get the flu shot, it helps protect them and …

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Health Equity Updates: December Newsletter

Check out the latest health equity news, health observances, events, and resources supporting the IPRO QIN-QIO efforts to eliminate health disparities for Medicare beneficiaries. What’s inside? Mapping Racial and Ethnic Inequities in Health and Opportunity Mobile Apps for mHealth and People with Disabilities Health Literacy as a Social Driver of Poor Health Outcomes Whole-of-Government Response …

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2019 National and State HAI Progress Report: HAI Prevention Possible

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the 2019 National and State Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Progress Report. The report shows that the U.S. has continued to make significant reductions in several types of HAIs – notably, about an 18% decrease in hospital onset Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) infections in acute care hospitals — …

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Report: The State of Obesity 2020

According to a report from Trust for America’s Health, the U.S. obesity rate for adults reached 42.4% in 2020, the highest ever recorded, and is based on data from the 2017-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The report notes that the national obesity rate has increased by 26% since 2008. Food insecurity due …

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Report: 20% of COVID Patients Develop Mental Health Issues

A new report published November in the Lancet found that those who have had COVID-19 are likely to develop anxiety, depression, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within 90 days of recovery. The lack of contact with family members and loved ones during quarantine and hospital stays can produce psychological instability. Reports of PTSD symptoms …

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Policy Statement: AHA Recognizes Structural Racism as a Driver of Health Disparities

The American Heart Association (AHA) recently issued a policy statement in Circulation calling out structural racism as a major driver of health disparities in the U.S. The AHA acknowledged that while it had previously published statements addressing cardiovascular and cerebrovascular risk and disparities among racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., those statements had not …

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Article: Whole-of-Government Response to Homelessness in the U.S.

A report by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) states that despite significant increases in funding and beds, overall homelessness has been increasing in the U.S. In just five years (2014-2019), unsheltered homelessness increased by 20.5%, and has become a national crisis. In 2020, Congress appropriated over $6.6 billion for targeted homelessness assistance …

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Article: Health Literacy Should Be Valued as a Social Driver of Poor Health Outcomes

Health literacy is the ability to understand and effectively use health information to make decisions about one’s health. People with low health literacy have increased mortality, worse health outcomes, are less engaged in their care, use the emergency room more often, and have higher avoidable healthcare expenditures. In this article, Lisa Fitzpatrick, MD – a …

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Resource: CMS Home and Community-Based Services Toolkit

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new toolkit designed for state Medicaid agencies to strengthen infrastructure and develop robust home and community-based services (HCBS) for eligible beneficiaries. The toolkit highlights promising state models and practices for strengthening state infrastructure to increase transitions from institutional settings to community-based settings; prevent or delay …

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Article: Mobile Apps for mHealth and People with Disabilities

A conference paper presented at the International Conference on Computers Helping People describes data and analysis on the use and unmet needs of mHealth mobile apps by people with disabilities in the U.S. The paper focuses on several key areas related to user experience in order to map the behavior, interests and needs of people …

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New Tool: Mapping Racial and Ethnic Inequities in Health and Opportunity

A new interactive mapping tool, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, allows users to view and compare data on a range of indicators for each state and for six racial and ethnic groups. The tool uses data aggregated by the Health Opportunity and Equity (HOPE) Initiative. According to their website, HOPE “provides an …

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National Handwashing Awareness Week: December 6-12, 2020

Clean hands save lives! This awareness week highlights the importance of handwashing—one of the most effective and simple ways to prevent viral infections and improve health outcomes. December is a busy time for most people. Between the abrupt changes in weather, holiday gatherings, and the end-of-year rush, it is easy for immune systems to be …

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National Influenza Vaccination Week: December 6-12, 2020

This national awareness week focuses on highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination. The IPRO QIN-QIO raises awareness about flu risks and encourages everyone to protect themselves and their communities by getting vaccinated—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that during last year’s (2018-19) flu season: 35.5 million people …

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Supporting Healthy Minds for Wisdom Keepers

About 1 in every 3 American Indian/Alaska Native older adults, age 65 or older, is at risk for dementia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart health is closely connected to brain health. Wisdom Keeper Campaign To raise awareness about dementia and encourage elders to keep their minds and hearts healthy, the …

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Reducing Loneliness for Nursing Home Residents

As the pandemic continues, the behavioral health of nursing home residents continues to be a concern. A new survey of nursing home residents by Altarum looked into how residents’ lives changed due to the pandemic. The survey found social interactions inside and outside of nursing homes have dropped sharply. More than half of the respondents …

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Earn Free CE: CDC’s Online Antibiotic Stewardship Training

This U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, register for CDC’s FREE online antibiotic stewardship training course, which offers 10 hours of continuing education (CE) to help you improve antibiotic use and protect patients. The first module is now updated with the latest national antibiotic resistance data from CDC’s recently released report, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United …

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CMS to Celebrate the Power of Rural

Rural communities face their own unique challenges when it comes to accessing and receiving quality health care. Approximately 60 million Americans live in rural areas, with nearly every state having at least one rural county. Research has shown that rural Americans are disproportionately affected by certain health conditions compared to their urban counterparts due to factors …

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New infection control and PPE resources for home and congregate care workers

Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety released a new video and suite of resources about infection control and PPE for home care and congregate care workers on the front lines of COVID-19. Stay Safe! Your Guide to Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is available in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole and Brazilian Portuguese. We know that …

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Rapid eMOLST Implementation to Facilitate Advance Care Planning During COVID-19 Pandemic

The article Rapid Implementation of eMOLST Order Completion and Electronic Registry to Facilitate Advance Care Planning: MOLST Documentation Using Telehealth in the Covid-19 Pandemic was posted on the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst on Tuesday November 3. The article discusses seven lessons learned during the rapid implementation of eMOLST at Mount Sinai Health System …

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U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week: November 18-24, 2020

This annual observance highlights necessary steps everyone should take to improve antibiotic prescribing and use. Antibiotics save lives, but any time antibiotics are used, they can cause side effects and lead to antibiotic resistance. In U.S. doctors’ offices and emergency departments, at least 47 million antibiotic prescriptions each year are unnecessary, which makes improving antibiotic …

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Know the connection between Diabetes and Kidney Disease

34 million Americans have diabetes, and 1 in 3 of them also has chronic kidney disease. Once your kidneys have been damaged by diabetes, they cannot be cured. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and today is World Diabetes Day, making now the perfect time to learn how you can prevent diabetic kidney disease or …

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Understanding the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program

The Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program provides end-to-end management of the COVID-19 vaccination process, including cold chain management, on-site vaccinations, and fulfillment of reporting requirements. The program facilitates safe vaccination of this patient population, while reducing burden on long-term care facilities (LTCFs) and jurisdictional health departments.   LTCF staff who have not received COVID-19 …

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COVID-19 Vaccine Codes and PC-ACE Software Update

In anticipation of the availability of a vaccine(s), for the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the American Medical Association (AMA), working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), created new codes for the vaccine and the administration of the vaccine.  To prepare for the vaccine administration claims, …

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Take Action Against Diabetes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) is recognizing National Diabetes Month in November. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it. Diabetes occurs because …

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National Family Caregivers Month

National Family Caregivers Month, celebrated each November, is a time to recognize and honor family caregivers across the country. In November, the IPRO QIN-QIO is celebrating the efforts of family caregivers, supporting stronger relationships with loved ones, and raising awareness of the role that family caregivers play in the care of aging relatives and those …

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Report: Achieving a Cohesive Culture for Health Equity in Latino and All Communities

Salud America! and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are sharing a research review summarizing current literature on: the social and health impact of poverty the impact of racism and bias on minorities those living in poverty It highlights emerging interventions, policies, and practices that can be implemented to alleviate poverty, improve social cohesion, reduce bias, and …

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Resource: NIH COVID-19 Communities Responding Together

Community leaders can play a vital role in connecting their communities with important, accurate information about public health and clinical research. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The Community Engagement Alliance offers resources that can help organizations talk with their communities about COVID-19, the vaccines being developed, and the importance of minorities being included …

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Initiative: RWJBarnabas Health Launches Social Determinants of Health Initiative

New Jersey-based RWJBarnabas Health (RWJBH) has launched a culturally tailored and fully integrated initiative to address social determinants of health (SDOH). RWJBH has partnered with NowPow, a digital community referral platform, and ConsejoSano, a patient engagement platform that specializes in linguistically and culturally tailored outreach, to develop a program that screens every patient for SDOH, …

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Report: How States Can Advance Health Equity & Address Health System Costs

Budget limitations, systemic racism and a mandate to contain costs while maintaining access to quality care have been long-standing challenges for states. According to a National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) report, the rising cost of health care, particularly for racial/ethnic minorities, has created a barrier to accessing quality care. In 2018, 13% of …

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Report: 2020 National Quality Forum Report

The National Quality Forum (NQF) recently released a report Improving Diagnostic Quality and Safety/ Reducing Diagnostic Error: Measurement Considerations funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The NQF convened a multi-stakeholder committee to identify recommendations for the practical application of the Diagnostic Process and Outcomes domain of the 2017 Diagnostic Quality and …

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Report: Tracking FY2019 Federal Funding to Combat the Opioid Crisis

The Bipartisan Policy Center released a report in September that tracks spending to address the opioid epidemic across the federal government for fiscal year 2019. The report provides insight into how funds are being spent at the state and county-level. Reports from states and counties across the country suggest opioid-involved overdose deaths are rising in …

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Article: Women Get Worse Care for Heart Attacks with Cardiogenic Shock

A study published in Circulation: Heart Failure concluded that women age 18-55 with Acute Myocardial Infarction – Cardiogenic Shock (AMI-CS), are treated less aggressively and experience higher in-hospital mortality compared to men. Cardiogenic shock (CS) is the leading cause of death in patients with AMI who reach the hospital alive, with mortality rates greater than …

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Hispanic Heritage Month: Resources for Patients, Families, & Caregivers

Improve Health Equity During Hispanic Heritage Month From September 15 – October 15, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH), along with the IPRO QIN-QIO, honors National Hispanic Heritage Month. This year, CMS OMH is prioritizing health for the nation’s 60 million Hispanics by encouraging annual flu shots and …

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Honoring Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15-October 15

Improve Health Equity During Hispanic Heritage Month This year, as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) honors National Hispanic Heritage Month, we hope to focus on prioritizing health for the nation’s 60 million Hispanics by encouraging annual flu shots and sharing resources to help Hispanics take steps toward …

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Healthy People 2030 Initiative: Building a healthier future for all

The HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) released the fifth edition of the Healthy People initiative, which builds on knowledge gained over the past four decades to address current and emerging public health priorities and challenges. Healthy People 2030 sets data-driven national objectives to improve health and well-being over the next decade. …

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Article: Black Barbershop Hypertension Intervention Gets Telemedicine Update

The success of a barbershop hypertension intervention for Blacks continued with the addition of a telemedicine component to reduce costs and improve efficiency, according to a pilot study. Blood pressure fell from an average of 155.1/84.9 mm Hg at baseline to 126.4/75.0 mm Hg after 12 months among Black men who received the intervention. The …

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Resource: North Carolina Creates NCCare360

North Carolina has created the nation’s first statewide infrastructure connecting healthcare and human services called NCCARE360. Through a public-private partnership, the state developed this technology platform to coordinate whole-person care, uniting traditional healthcare settings and organizations that address non-medical drivers of health, often referred to as social determinants of health. The system is available in …

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Article: Racial Disparities Persist in Hospice Care and End-of-Life Treatment

A study published in JAMA suggests that Black people are less likely to receive hospice care and more likely to receive intensive treatment in the last six months of life, regardless of cause of death, compared to White people. Researchers examined 1,212 fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries who died of natural causes between 2013 and 2015. Overall, …

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Article: Pragmatic Framework for Establishing Meaningful Measurements for Equity

The authors of this commentary in the NEJM Catalyst digital journal outline a four-tier model that offers a framework for interconnected measures to advance equity for patients and healthcare staff. The lack of standards and benchmarks contribute to a fragmented equity landscape where: organizations stumble across and/or react to inequities rather than systematically and proactively …

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Behavioral Health & Opioids: September & October Updates

The field of behavioral health is always evolving, and our teams are constantly looking for opportunities to sharpen skills and learn new things. We regularly gather a variety of webinars, training opportunities, and resources on what’s happening in the field and these lists are just too good to keep to ourselves. Below is a curated …

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Report Released: Independent Nursing Home COVID-19 Commission Findings

The independent Coronavirus Commission for Safety and Quality in Nursing Homes released its final report to CMS on September 16. The Commission report was created to conduct an independent review and comprehensive assessments of confronting COVID-19. This report contains best practices that emphasize and reinforce CMS strategies and initiatives, including those implemented by Quality Innovation …

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CMS & CDC Trainings & Live Q&A Sessions on COVID-19 Prevention for Nursing Home Management

Trainings The CMS-CDC Fundamentals of COVID-19 Prevention for Nursing Home Management training series covers 13 topics that your nursing home staff must know to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. These trainings are housed on www.QIOProgram.org for 24/7 access. New, pre-recorded trainings will be released every Thursday at 4PM EDT through September 2020. Live Q&A Sessions Live …

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Article: Disparities in U.S. hospitalizations for serious infections in patients with & without opioid use disorder (OUD)

In a research article published in PLOS Medicine (August 2020), patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) who are hospitalized for serious infections requiring prolonged intravenous antibiotics may face barriers to discharge, which could prolong length of stay (LOS) and increase financial burden. Researchers used the 2016 National Inpatient Sample, a nationally representative database of all …

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Initiative: How Can Hospitals Improve the Health of their Communities?

The Bloomberg American Health Initiative and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity are working with IBM Watson Health to develop a method to measure the impact of hospitals on community health and equity, for possible inclusion in the Fortune/IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals Program. The U.S. has experienced a decline in life expectancy …

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Article: Respiratory distress the cause of most post-COVID hospital readmissions

This published article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (August 2020) describes a retrospective cohort study of COVID-19 positive patients who were hospitalized between February 27 and April 12, 2020. The main measures were readmission or return to the emergency department following discharge for COVID-19 infection. Of the 2864 discharged patients, 103 (3.6%) returned …

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