New Population Estimates Released

Pennsylvania’s population grew to an estimated 12,807,060 persons according to the 2018 Nation & State Population Estimates. Clickhere to read how Pennsylvania’s total population has changed since 2010 and how it compares to other states’ populations.

Surgeon General releases advisory on E-cigarette epidemic among youth

Surgeon General releases advisory on E-cigarette epidemic among youth

Urges parents, teachers and health professionals to protect children from nicotine addiction

U.S. Surgeon General Vice Adm. Jerome M. Adams issued an advisory today stressing the importance of protecting children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks by immediately addressing the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use.

E-cigarette use among youth has skyrocketed in the past year at a rate of epidemic proportions. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration’s National Youth Tobacco Survey, the percentage of high school-age children reporting past 30-day use of e-cigarettes rose by more than 75 percent between 2017 and 2018. Use among middle school-age children also increased nearly 50 percent.

Data from National Institutes of Health’s Monitoring the Future survey also shows that America’s teens reported a dramatic increase in their use of e-cigarettes in just a single year, with 37.3 percent of 12th graders reporting use in the past 12 months, compared to 27.8 percent in 2017.

“We need to protect our kids from all tobacco products, including all shapes and sizes of e-cigarettes,” said Adams. “Everyone can play an important role in protecting our nation’s young people from the risks of e-cigarettes.”

The surge in e-cigarette use among our nation’s youth has been fueled by newer cartridge-based devices that have become increasingly popular. Many of these e-cigarettes look like a USB flash drive, making them easy to conceal. One of the most commonly sold versions is JUUL, which now has more than a 70 percent share of the cartridge-based e-cigarette market in the United States. A typical JUUL cartridge, or “pod,” contains about as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.

“In the data sets we use, we have never seen use of any substance by America’s young people rise as rapidly as e-cigarette use is rising,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Combustible cigarettes remain the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and providing an effective off-ramp for adults who want to quit using them is a public health priority. But we cannot allow e-cigarettes to become an on-ramp to nicotine addiction for younger Americans. HHS has been and will continue developing a comprehensive, balanced policy approach to this challenge.”

As noted in the 2016 Surgeon General’s report on E-cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults, e-cigarette use poses a significant – and avoidable – health risk to young people. Besides increasing the possibility of addiction and long-term harm to brain development and respiratory health, e-cigarette use may also lead to the use of regular cigarettes that can do even more damage to the body.

“We have evidence-based strategies to prevent tobacco use that can be applied to e-cigarettes.” said Adams. “We must take action now to protect the health of our nation’s young people.”

For facts about the risk of e-cigarettes, and how to protect our youth, visit:

e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov.

New Rural Innovation Profile: Predictive Analytics Shape Care Processes

New from Rural Health Value:

The Rural Health Value team recently released a new Rural Innovation Profile focused on how a rural Medicaid coordinated care organization reinvests the money it earns through achieving improvement targets to strengthen local capacity for organizations to work together and improve population health.

Please share this resource as makes sense for your networks and stakeholders:

Predictive Analytics Shape Care Processes – Community Care Partnership of Maine, a collaboration of nine federally qualified health centers and three community hospital systems, uses predictive analytics software to identify patients with the highest risk and plan interventions to support care management. (November 2018)

Link:  Predictive Analytics Shape Care Processes

Top resources on the Rural Health Value website:

  • Value-Based Care Assessment – Assess capacity and capabilities to deliver value-based care. Receive an eight category readiness report.
  • Physician Engagement – Score current engagement and build effective relationships to create a shared vision for a successful future.
  • Board and Community Engagement – Hold value-based care discussions as part of strategic planning and performance measurement.
  • Social Determinants of Health – Learn and encourage rural leaders/care teams to address issues to improve their community’s health.

Internet Subscription in Rural Counties Low

Internet Subscription in Rural Counties Low.  In its recent release of American Community Survey (ACS) data, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that “nationally, 78 percent of households subscribe to the internet, but households in both rural and lower-income counties trail the national average by 13 points.” The ACS is a survey of American life, taken every five years to track trends on more than 40 social, economic, housing and demographic topics in every U.S. county.  Low internet subscription rates in rural areas hinder adoption of telehealth, which could improve quality of care while reducing cost.

New Projections for the Behavioral Health Workforce

New Projections for the Behavioral Health Workforce.  HRSA’s National Center for Health Workforce Analysis recently released its updates and projections for the nation’s behavioral health workforce from the year 2016 through 2030.   The report includes updated fact sheets and state-level projections on the supply and demand for eight occupations: addiction counselors, marriage and family therapists, mental health and school counselors, psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides, psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychiatric physician assistants, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers.  There is a significant need for mental health services in rural America. According to the Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 19 percent of residents aged 18 or older in nonmetropolitan counties had Any Mental Illness (AMI) in 2017, approximately 6.8 million people. In addition, 4.9 percent, or nearly 1.7 million, of residents of nonmetropolitan counties experienced serious thoughts of suicide during the year. Visit the Rural Health Information Hub for programs, toolkits,  and other resources for behavioral health workforce in rural areas.

State health rankings

Hawaii is the healthiest U.S. state and Louisiana is the unhealthiest state, according to the United Health Foundation’s 2018 America’s Health Rankings report. The report also noted some concerning health trends, such as a “record-breaking prevalence of obesity and rising mortality rates,” and an increase in the United States’ premature death rate. (Source: Politico‘s “Pulse,” 12/12)

Recent Journal Articles Publishing Rural Health Research

Recent Journal Articles Publishing Rural Health Research.  Several articles written by the HRSA/FORHP-supported Rural Health Research Centers were recently published in peer-reviewed journals.  Among these are Patterns of Telehealth Use Among Rural Medicaid Beneficiaries and Overcoming Barriers to Prescribing Buprenorphine for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder.  While some journal articles offer free access, others may require a subscription or affiliation with a subscribing library.

The Rural Hospital and Health System Affiliation Landscape – A Brief Review

The Rural Hospital and Health System Affiliation Landscape – A Brief Review.  Rural hospitals that join health systems may find it challenging to balance local decision-making control and the requirements of larger, better-funded regional health systems.  This policy paper from the RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis examines rural hospital motivations for joining health systems and examines different affiliation structures.

New Federal Report: Reforming America’s Healthcare System through Choice and Competition

New Federal Report: Reforming America’s Healthcare System through Choice and Competition.  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in collaboration with the Departments of the Treasury and Labor and the Federal Trade Commission collaborated to develop this report, which identifies challenges to and recommendations for improving the health care system.  It describes the influence of state and federal laws, regulations, guidance, and polices on choice and competition in health care markets and identifies actions that states or the Federal Government could take to develop a better functioning health care market.  Rural relevant issues addressed include scope of practice, workforce mobility, and telehealth.

New Data on Suicide Mortality from the CDC

New Data on Suicide Mortality from the CDC.  Using data from the National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a report on rates of suicide in the United States from 1999 to 2017.  The data brief ranks suicide as the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-34 and the fourth leading cause for ages 35-54.  For the most recent year studied, the age-adjusted suicide rate for the most rural counties was nearly twice (1.8 times) the rate for the most urban counties.  In a separate data brief from the CDC, the NVSS showed there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths in 2017.  The surveillance system found that, among persons aged 15 and over, adults aged 25-54 had higher rates than other age groups.  West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania were the three states with the highest observed age-adjusted overdose death rates in 2017; the four states with the lowest rates were Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.