National Partners

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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CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Engagement Calls: December 2020

CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts.  Call details …

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CMS Policies Give Medicare Beneficiaries More Choices around Surgery

CMS Memo | December 3, 2020 – Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is finalizing policy changes that will give Medicare patients and their doctors greater choices to get care at a lower cost in an outpatient setting. The Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) final rules will …

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Dec. 2 Update: CDC National Quarantine Guidance

Options to Reduce Quarantine for Contacts of Persons with SARS-CoV-2 Infection Using Symptom Monitoring and Diagnostic Testing CDC Science & Research | December 2, 2020 – Quarantine can be a burden on public health systems and communities, potentially dissuading people from naming contacts. Reducing the length of quarantine will reduce the burden and may increase …

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CMS Call on December 2: Physician Fee Schedule

Wednesday, December 2, 11AM EDT Please join CMS for a National Stakeholder call on the recently announced Physician Fee Schedule.  The call will take place today on Wednesday, December 2 at 11:00 AM Eastern. Toll-Free Attendee Dial In: 888-455-1397 | Conference ID: 5796036 Resources Physician Fee Schedule Press Release Fact Sheet: CY 2021 Physician Fee …

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Finalized Permanent Expansion of Medicare Telehealth Services and Improved Payment for Time Doctors Spend with Patients

CMS Memo | December 1, 2020 – Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the annual Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) final rule, prioritizing CMS’ investment in primary care and chronic disease management by increasing payments to physicians and other practitioners for the additional time they spend with patients, especially those with chronic …

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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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HHS/ASPR Training to Help Older Adults During a Disaster

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) developed the Addressing the Needs of Older Adults in Disasters web-based training. HHS/ASPR designed this free, publicly accessible course to improve public health and emergency medical responders’ capability to address the access and functional needs of community-dwelling older …

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Celebrating Family Caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to honor those who provide care for their family members and to raise awareness about caregiving needs and challenges. According to the AARP, about one in every five people in the United States cares for an elder or family member with disabilities, and that rate is higher …

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CMS Comprehensive Strategy: Enhance Hospital Capacity Amid COVID-19 Surge

Agency outlines flexibilities to maximize Acute Hospital Care at Home, Ambulatory Surgical Centers to decompress hospitals treating COVID-19 patients CMS Memo | November 25, 2020 – Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) outlined unprecedented comprehensive steps to increase the capacity of the American health care system to provide care to patients outside …

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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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CMS Announces Historic Changes to Physician Self-Referral Regulations

CMS Memo | November 22, 2020 – Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized changes to outdated federal regulations that burdened health care providers with added administrative costs and impeded the health care system’s move toward value-based reimbursement. The Physician Self-Referral Law, also known as the “Stark Law,” generally prohibits a physician …

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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 Request for Application: Value in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Initiative

CMS is announcing the Request for Application (RFA) open period (November 19, 2020 to January 3, 2021) for the Value in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment (ViT) Initiative The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) is announcing the Request for Application (RFA) for a new initiative that …

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CMS Nursing Home Podcast Series for Front Line Clinicians and Staff

CMS Beyond the Policy: Nursing Home Series for Frontline Clinicians and Staff The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is airing the first episode in a series of short podcasts for frontline nursing home staff. The series is designed to reinforce training and infection control practices in nursing homes to help combat the spread …

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CMS Urging Nursing Homes to Follow Established COVID-19 Guidelines This Holiday Season

CMS Memo | November 19, 2020 – Today, in advance of the approaching holiday season, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is urging nursing home staff, residents, and visitors to follow established guidelines for visitation and adherence to the core principles of infection prevention. These guidelines include: Remaining six feet apart from individuals …

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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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CMS Releases Nursing Home COVID-19 Training Data with Urgent Call to Action

Agency thanks nursing homes whose staff have completed free CMS training, but urges remaining homes to take advantage of this resource CMS Memo | November 18, 2020 – Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is publicly recognizing the 1,092 nursing homes at which 50% or more of their staff have completed CMS …

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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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CMS Will Retire the Original Compare Tools on December 1

CMS will retire the original Compare Tools on December 1. Use Medicare.gov’s Care Compare to find and compare health care providers. In early September, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released Care Compare on Medicare.gov, which streamlines our eight original health care compare tools.  Since then, you’ve had the opportunity to use and …

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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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CMS Takes Steps to Ensure Medicare Beneficiaries Have Wide Access to COVID-19 Antibody Treatment

Coverage Available at No Cost to Beneficiaries Across Variety of Settings in Health Care System The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that starting November 13, Medicare beneficiaries can receive coverage of monoclonal antibodies to treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with no cost-sharing during the public health emergency (PHE). CMS’ coverage of monoclonal antibody …

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CMS Webinar on Nov. 12: NTP Medicare Update & Education Webinar

November 12, 1-2:30PM EDT Join us as we share updates related to this year’s Marketplace Open Enrollment. Learn what you need to know if you have a Marketplace Plan and become eligible for Medicare. After registration, you’ll get an email with a calendar appointment. This webinar will be recorded. You don’t need to register to …

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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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CMS Releases Toolkit to Accelerate State Efforts to Rebalance Long-term Care Systems and Enhance Home and Community-Based Services for Eligible Medicaid Beneficiaries

The Trump Administration and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are delivering on their commitment to foster innovation in Medicaid by providing states with new tools to help beneficiaries return home from institutional settings without sacrificing safety or quality of care.   Today, CMS launched a new toolkit designed for state Medicaid agencies to strengthen …

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CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Engagement Calls for November

CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts. Call details …

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Sleeve Up to Fight The Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging everyone to roll their sleeve up for the annual influenza vaccine. By continuing to wear a mask, washing hands often, and getting a flu vaccine, we can help stop the spread of flu viruses.  Everyone aged 6 months and older needs a flu vaccine. Join …

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CMS’ New One-Stop Nursing Home Resource Center Assists Providers, Caregivers, Residents

October 30, 2020 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new online platform – the Nursing Home Resource Center – to serve as a centralized hub bringing together the latest information, guidance and data on nursing homes that is important to facilities, frontline providers, residents and their families, especially as the …

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Twice Monthly Live Q&A Sessions: CMS-CDC Fundamentals of COVID-19 Prevention for Nursing Home Management

November 5, 2020 – January 7, 2021, 4-5PM EDT This live Q&A series is open to clinical and administrative nursing home staff members and others who have completed the self-paced, on-demand CMS-CDC Fundamentals of COVID-19 Prevention for Nursing Home Management training hosted on www.QIOProgram.org for 24/7 access. These live Q&A Sessions are brought to you …

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CMS Webinar on October 8: Getting Ready for the Medicare Open Enrollment Period

October 8, 2020 This webinar was designed for those who help people with Medicare make informed decisions about their 2021 health care coverage. The webinar covered information regarding 2021 Medicare Program updates and resources. View the recording and accompanying materials on the CMS website. Questions? For assistance, please email NTPHelp@cms.hhs.gov.

October 30: Deadline for Vaccine Program Sign-Up

October 26, 2020 – More than 9,000 long-term care providers had signed up for the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program as of this past Friday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The deadline is midnight ET on this coming Friday. The program, announced Oct. 16 by HHS and the Department of Defense, involves …

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CMS COVID-19 Stakeholder Engagement Calls – October

CMS hosts varied recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information related to the agency’s response to COVID-19. These sessions are open to members of the healthcare community and are intended to provide updates, share best practices among peers, and offer attendees an opportunity to ask questions of CMS and other subject matter experts. Call details …

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Telehealth Webinar on November 3: Preparing for the New Normal

Tuesday, November 3, 11:30AM – 12:30PM EDT Part of the Telehealth Practice Innovations During the COVID-19 Pandemic Webinar Series Join Kathy Wibberly, Director of the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center, for a journey into the past, present, and future of telehealth. Together, we will: Review best practices and lessons learned Examine what transpired over the past …

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IPRO to Provide Hospital Quality Improvement Services for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Lake Success, NY, October 19, 2020 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded a four-year contract to IPRO to serve as a Hospital Quality Improvement Contractor (HQIC) within its Network of Quality Improvement and Innovation Contractors (NQIIC). HQICs will provide targeted quality improvement assistance to small, rural and critical access hospitals …

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Pre-Launch Webinars: National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network

As training centers and nursing homes around the country continue to join the Network and prepare to embark on their respective cohorts, we’re offering a series of pre-launch webinars to explore some of the key themes that will later be featured more deeply over the 16-week sessions. These interactive, pre-launch webinars will feature national experts …

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COVID-19 Workshop on October 29: Primary Care During a Crisis

Thursday, October 29, 10:30-11AM EDT Our COVID-19 Workshop Series continues on alternating Thursdays, 10:30–11AM. The COVID-19 public health crisis had an unprecedented impact on the healthcare system across the country. The Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) considers a three-phase approach for practices to best respond to the crisis, meet the needs of their patients, and …

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CMS Webinar: Staffing Challenges & Solutions: Insights from the Frontline

Tuesday, October 20, 2–3PM EDT Please join us for a National Learning and Action Network (LAN) event on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 from 2:00-3:00 PM ET. A LAN is a group of health care professionals and stakeholder organizations, convened by the QIO Program. The goal of the LAN is to improve patient care and population …

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Join the National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network

Join an interactive community of practice to advance improvements in COVID-19 preparedness, safety, and infection control in nursing homes. Supported by the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Project ECHO is virtually bringing together small groups of peers and experts to learn about …

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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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CMS Call on October 7: Substance Use Disorder Treatment during COVID-19

Treatment for Substance Use Disorder During the Public Health Emergency Wednesday, October 7, 3PM-4PM EDT CMS will host a Special Open Door Forum (ODF) to allow primary care providers, psychosocial support specialists, addiction medicine specialists, and other interested parties to ask questions on CMS’s actions to address the opioids crisis during the public health emergency …

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Policy: HHS Releases Rural Action Plan

On September 3, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Rural Action Plan, the first HHS-wide assessment of rural healthcare efforts in over 18 years. The action plan provides a roadmap to strengthen departmental coordination to better serve the approximately 57 million people who live in rural areas and make up …

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NHSN Webinars on Oct. 1 & 6: New Healthcare Personnel Vaccination Module Updates

The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) offers two new features for long-term care facilities to track weekly influenza vaccination data beginning with the 2020-2021 influenza season for health care personnel and residents. Please join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a webinar on Thursday, October 1 or Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at …

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Free Webinar Hosted by the National Kidney Foundation: Preventing Influenza Amid COVID-19

Wednesday, September 30, 11:30AM-12PM EST National partners, the National Kidney Foundation hosts a free webinar “Protecting Yourself and Your Patients: Preventing Influenza in the COVID-19 Era,” to discuss the implications of healthcare team immunization on people with kidney disease. Strategies for encouraging influenza vaccination will also be discussed. Influenza can be associated with serious illnesses, …

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CMS Announces New Guidance for Safe Visitation in Nursing Homes

September 17, 2020 – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued revised guidance providing detailed recommendations on ways nursing homes can safely facilitate visitation during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. After several months of visitor restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, CMS recognizes that physical separation from family and other …

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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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COVID-19 Workshop on October 1: Surgery During the Pandemic

Thursday, October 1, 10:30-11AM EDT Our COVID-19 Workshop Series continues on alternating Thursdays, 10:30–11AM. Join us on October 1 for a conversation with a person who recently had major brain surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear her perspective on the supportive hospital staff and the transition to follow-up telehealth visits with both her surgeon and …

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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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Initiative: CMS Announces CHART Model for Improving Rural Health

The CMS Innovation Center recently announced the Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) Model to address disparities by providing a path for rural communities to transform health care delivery by leveraging innovative financial arrangements combined with operational and regulatory flexibilities. The Model aims to: Increase financial stability for rural providers by providing up-front investments …

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Article: Housing Insecurity a Growing Problem

COVID-19 will have an unprecedented impact on homelessness, according to analysis by Dr. Brendan O’Flaherty, a professor of economics at Columbia University. Dr. O’Flaherty projects a 40-45% increase in homelessness this year compared to January 2019. This equates to nearly 250,000 additional people losing their housing, mostly due to lay-offs resulting from the economic impacts …

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Article: Assessing Telemedicine Unreadiness Among Older Adults in the U.S.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a rapid and massive shift to telemedicine to help protect patients and providers from infection. A JAMA Internal Medicine research letter asserts that an estimated 38% of older adults in the U.S. are not ready for telemedicine, mainly due to inexperience with technology. These findings are based on a cross-sectional …

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