Friday's Feature

News, Announcements, Celebrations


Community Prevention


Policy Efforts

  • Bridging the Mind-Body Gap in Health Care is a story in The American Prospect by Matt Leistra that talks about the importance of this melding and the risk that repealing the ACA presents to necessary integration programs/services. Redoubling efforts by medical professionals on tearing down walls between treating mental and physical illness are captured in this article, including those of Ben Miller.
  • The Hidden Subsidy that Helps Pay for Health Insurance is a story by Kate Zernike in The New York Times about how Congress should scale back or eliminate the tax exclusion on what employers pay toward employees’ health insurance premiums to really rein in health costs.
  • Why Single-Payer Health Care Saves Money is a story in The New York Times by Robert H. Frank that makes the case for the total cost of providing health coverage under the single-payer approach (where a public agency handles health care financing while the delivery of care remains largely in private hands) is actually substantially lower than under the current U.S. system. Efficiency leads to winners all around.
  • View from the FOIAs: An inside look at the White House’s health strategy is a review on Politico by Dan Diamond of the people, operations, strategy and decision-making that has gone into the administration’s health care game plan since spring.
  • Prepare for More Scrutiny of Mental Health Benefits is a story on Society for Human Resource Management by Timothy J. Stanton and Richard C. Libert about a draft form released by federal regulators to help employees request information about mental health limits (could go to employers directly though mostly likely they would be routed to third-party administrators or insurers).
  • How to understand health care, one subparagraph at a time is a story in Market Place by Kai Ryssdal and Maria Hollenhorst is an interview that Kai (senior editor of Market Place) had with Nicholas Bagley, a law professor at the University of Michigan, about trying to understand some of the legalese in the Senate healthcare bill. Because the newest bills are the latest layers added on top of many, many other bills that have come before in the health care space, you have to have at hand all the bills that have come before so you know what the latest amendment is actually addressing/changing…no minor detail.
  • The Good and Bad of the 2018 MACRA Proposed Rule is an article in Physicians Practice by Dylan Fisher about how this week CMS issued the proposed rule for the 2018 performance year of the Quality Payment Program under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Early observers say the rule should be seen as a major win for small practices (1-15 clinicians), and the article lists the 5 key things to know about the changes.
  • States Move to Tighten Medicaid Enrollment, Even without a New Health Law is an NPR story by Charles Ornstein about how the current battles pit those who view Medicaid as a health insurance program, in which higher enrollment is not see as a problem, against those who see it as a welfare program, in which lower enrollment is prized. The Trump administration said it wants to let states experiment more with their Medicaid programs, inviting them to ask for waivers that do not need congressional approval.
  • What the Health? and Why is This Stuff so Complicated? are two ~30-minute podcasts by Julie Rovner, chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News, along with top policy reporters, who discuss the latest news and explain “what the health” is going on in Washington.
  • Medicare Payment for Behavioral Health Integration is an opinion piece from this winter in The New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Matthew J. Press and colleagues about how, though integrating behavioral health is widely considered an effective strategy for improving outcomes for many with mental or behavioral health conditions, uptake of integration has remained limited largely because BHI has not been paid for separately. But as of January 2017, CMS began paying clinicians separately for the BHI services they provide to Medicare beneficiaries.
  • The Trouble with Medicaid Work Requirements is an article in The Atlantic by Vann R. Newkirk, II about why the provision to allow states to deny health assistance for lacking employment will only make the program worse.
  • Rhetoric, Reform, and Responsibility: Our collective need to address mental health and substance use in health policy is an article in The Health Psychologist by Ben Miller is a call to action piece about using evidence and voices to advocate for health policies and integrated solutions for mental health and wellness.
  • The U.S. medical system is broken. We should be listening to doctors about how to fix it is a story in the LA Times by Patt Morrison about a book, “Mistreated, Why We Think We’re Getting Good Health Care – And Why We’re usually Wrong” written by Dr. Robert Pearl who was prompted to take a long, hard look at the American medical system…prompted by the death of his father and a simple medical miscommunication.
  • Why is health care so expensive in the first place? is a story covered by Kathryn Watson at CBS News addresses reasons for the high cost of health care in this country.


Research, Data, Evaluation

  • The Opioid Epidemic and Medicaid’s Role in Treatment: A Look at Changes Over Time is a set of slides posted on The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation site with some impressive data/graphs about the opioid-related trends.
  • As Seniors Get Sicker, They’re More Likely to Drop Medicare Advantage Plans is an NPR story by Fred Schulte about a new report by the Government Accountability Office, the auditing arm of Congress, released this spring reviewed 126 Medicare Advantage plans and found that 35 of them had disproportionately high numbers of sicker people dropping out. Patients cited difficulty with access to “preferred doctors and hospitals” or other medical care as the leading reasons for leaving.
  • Medicaid Worsens Your Health? That’s a Classic Misinterpretation of Research is a story in The New York Times by Aaron E. Carroll and Austin Frakt about how those who cite studies that question Medicaid’s effectiveness and claim that the health bill will help Medicaid produce better results for recipients are mostly likely misinterpreting the data.
  • A Very Brief Primer on Single-Payer Health Care is a story on Mother Jones by Kevin Drum that briefly describes the five basic forms of health insurance, all but one of which are universal health care systems.


SIM Updates

Let’s Talk Colorado is a campaign created by Metro Public Health Behavioral Health Collaboration with SIM funding to reduce stigma.