Policy Statement Released on Integrating Oral Health into Primary Care

The ASTDD Dental Public Health policy committee is pleased to announce the availability of a new ASTDD policy statement, Integrating Oral Health into Primary Care. They extend their appreciation to Katrina Holt, MPH, MS, RD, FAND; Katy Battani, RDH, MS; and Ruth Barzel, MA, of the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center for their support and collaboration in the development of this document.

Click here to view the statement.

New Research Explores Influences of Online Information for Aspirin Use

The Heterogeneous Influences of Online Health Information Seeking on Aspirin Use for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

Authors: Jingrong Zhu, PhD; Yunfeng Shi, PhD; Yi Cui, PhD; Wei Yan, Ph.D., Penn State

Making decisions related to health and healthcare is an important part of life for most consumers. As sources of health information have expanded explosively, consumers’ information seeking and processing in the context of health decision making have also become increasingly complicated.

Previous research has shown that online health information seeking is associated with medication adherence. However, less is known about the factors that moderate such a relationship. This study examines four different sources of health information jointly and their interactive roles in consumers’ decisions on using aspirin for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention: the advice from health care providers, prior CVD diagnosis, CVD risk factors due to co-morbidities, and online health information.

Our results indicated that online health information seeking had heterogeneous influences on aspirin use for CVD prevention, depending on other factors such as provider advice, prior CVD diagnoses, and CVD risk factors, and potentially leading to both overuse and underuse.

Find more details about the article here.

No-Cost Program Offered – AHRQ Telemedicine Safety Program: Improving Antibiotic Use

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Safety Program for Telemedicine: Improving Antibiotic Use is a no-cost program that seeks to promote appropriate antibiotic use while maintaining patient satisfaction and reducing potential side effects in patients seen via telemedicine. They are currently recruiting primary and urgent care facilities, including community health centers, to participate in the program. This program, beginning in June 2024, consists of brief educational presentations about best practices to optimize antibiotic prescribing in the telemedicine environment. Participants will have access to technical assistance, coaching, webinars, and practical tools to implement improvements in their practice. The program is offering credit via the American Medical Association (AMA), American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC), American Association for Physician Assistants (AAPA), and Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) to participants at no charge.

Webinars Being Offered on Population Health Management: A National Learning Series

More than a dozen HRSA-funded National Training and Technical Assistance Partners (NTTAPs) are collaborating on a webinar series throughout March. Each webinar will focus on strategies for developing, evaluating, and supporting effective healthcare delivery models. Coordinators will ensure that webinar materials are practical, enhancing skills directly related to the training recipients. Visit the Population Health Management Task Force’s website for session details and registration.

Survey Finds Pennsylvania Hospital Strategies Are Reducing Staff Vacancies

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the number of open positions for healthcare workers in Pennsylvania hospitals is declining as hospitals invest more to retain employees, according to a new survey by The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP). The Hospital Workforce Survey found that nearly all hospitals surveyed said they have been raising pay and making changes to work schedules. Some have also been offering flexible hours and even childcare to retain workers. Nearly 90% of hospitals also reported offering professional development opportunities or tuition reimbursement.

PhRMA Releases “Fact Sheets” on 340B Program

PhRMA, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, a trade association representing pharmaceutical manufacturers, has released a set of “Fact Sheets” showing how 340B operates in each state. After stating that the 340B program is “broken,” the fact sheets focus on two issues:

  • Whether 340B hospitals provide adequate charity care. For example, the PA sheet reads “hospitals in Pennsylvania make 7.1 times as much from 340B as they spend on charity care.”
  • Out-of-state pharmacies under contract with in-state covered entities, including that “PBMs and chain pharmacies also now make a profit from this safety-net program.”

View PhRMA’s one-pager on each state.

New Provisions Finalized to Enhance Integrated Care and Confidentiality

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), finalized modifications to the Confidentiality of Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Patient Records regulations at 42 CFR part 2 (“Part 2”), which protect the privacy of patients’ SUD treatment records. Specifically, the final rule increases coordination among providers treating patients for SUDs, strengthens confidentiality protections through civil enforcement, and enhances integration of behavioral health information with other medical records to improve patient health outcomes.

HHS Finalizes Rule on Telehealth at Opioid Treatment Programs

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently finalized a rule that will allow opioid treatment programs to begin some medication assisted treatment via telehealth. Under the rule, providers at opioid treatment programs will be able to initiate treatment with buprenorphine through audio-only or audio-visual telehealth. They can begin methadone treatment via an audio-visual platform – but not through an audio-only option due to its higher risk profile, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The regulation utilizes permanent telehealth flexibilities that began during the COVID-19 pandemic to preserve access to care and tackle a worsening opioid epidemic. Though FQHCs are not classified as opioid treatment programs, this information may be useful to your referral process.