Third Annual Commitment to Compassion Luncheon Coming Up Soon, and Nominees Are Still Needed

Compassionate LouisvilleIf you were to search the city for people who exhibit compassion in their daily lives, you would find them everywhere you go and in all walks of life. The dictionary definition is “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.”

Simple acts like holding a door open, volunteering to tutor a child, or helping someone with a disability are second-nature to many Louisvillians. After all, we branded ourselves “Compassionate City” six years ago, and prove it every year with an entire week of service in which individuals volunteer to work on projects that improve the community.

Last February, the second annual Commitment to Compassion luncheon took place at the Muhammad Ali Center. Six individuals were honored for their extraordinary commitment to living a compassionate life in the health care field. To read more about two of the honorees, please click here.

The next Commitment to Compassion luncheon – sponsored by Passport Health Plan, Compassionate Louisville, and Insider Louisville – is coming up shortly. To nominate someone for an award, please click here.

 

Finding a ‘medical home’ is an important step toward better health

Insider Louisville LogoThere are thousands of Kentuckians who have benefited from changes in health care policy, with the result being that many who never had a primary care physician now have the ability to see a doctor on a routine basis. They can also avoid a rush to the emergency room every time they’re sick.

However, the benefit of having access to health care is only valuable if people know how to put it to use. The reality for some people is that they don’t know what steps to take once they get health insurance. For many, one of the first steps is to choose a primary care physician and establish a “medical home” — which is a doctor who knows you, your family history and your lifestyle habits. Building this relationship can help keep people out of the emergency room and on a path of prevention from major illness.

“The way medicine should work is that patients should have a medical home, a place where people know them and they go to with some regularity,” says Dr. Steve Roszell, a family practice physician with Norton Healthcare, in a Passport-sponsored article in Insider Louisville. “I spend most of my day developing a good relationship and trust with patients so that when they come to me with a problem I can reassure them that I’m not worried about this, this is going to be fine, and because we know each other, why don’t we talk again next week.”

To read more, and to see a video highlighting this issue, please click here.

 

“A Commitment to Compassion” luncheon sponsored by Passport honors six Louisville health care professionals

Insider Louisville LogoThe second annual “A Commitment to Compassion” luncheon was held on Tuesday, Feb. 7, to recognize and honor dedicated health care professionals who exemplify true compassion in the workplace.

The event, at the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville, was co-sponsored by Passport Health Plan, Compassionate Louisville and Insider Louisville.

Jean West, Executive Director of Communications for the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, served as emcee for the event, which honored six people who go above and beyond their job duties to extend needed consideration, kindness and compassion to patients, their colleagues and the broader community. They are:

  • Betty J. Adkins, Community Resource Development Manager at Louisville Metro Department of Health and Public Wellness
  • Lisa Benner, Transformation Coach at ChooseWell Communities
  • Sarah Daniel, Nurse Practitioner with MD2U
  • Mary Haynes, President and CEO of Nazareth Home
  • Diane Riff, Assistant Professor and Family Nurse Practitioner, UofL School of Nursing
  • Jonathan Sayat, M.D., Pediatrician and Associate Professor with UofL Physicians

In addition to recognizing these outstanding individuals, the luncheon honored one organization — Cedar Lake — for their active celebration of compassion. Cedar Lake is a private not-for-profit organization that serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For more information, please click here.

 

Rural areas saw greatest increase in access to healthcare under Medicaid Expansion, according to Indiana University study

Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act greatly increased access to health care for Americans, especially in rural areas, says an Indiana University study published in The Journal of Rural Health.

Researchers, who used data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey from 2011-15, found that expansion “increased the probability of Medicaid coverage for targeted populations in rural and urban areas, with a significantly greater increase in rural areas, but some of these gains were offset by reductions in individual purchased insurance among rural populations,” according to a Kentucky Health News article.

Medicaid covered almost 636,000 adult Kentuckians in the second quarter of this year, with the great majority of enrollees covered under Medicaid expansion and almost half of them young adults, according to a report done for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The report found that 493,199, or 78 percent, of the 635,747 adults covered by Medicaid in Kentucky were covered by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s expansion of the program to those who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The remaining 142,548 were covered by traditional Medicaid.

IU researchers found that Medicaid expansion increased the probability that low-income people would have health coverage, and it increased Medicaid coverage more in rural areas than in cities. There was some evidence that in rural areas, the expansion was accompanied by some shifting from individually purchased insurance to Medicaid.

 

Passport aids with research for Kaiser Family Foundation study about recent rural hospital closures

kaiser family foundation logoThe number of rural hospital closures has increased significantly in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue, according to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Urban Institute, raising questions about the impact the closures will have on rural communities’ access to health care services.

To investigate the factors that contribute to rural hospital closures and the impact those closures have on access to health care in rural communities, the Commission conducted case studies of three hospital closures that took place in 2015: Parkway Regional Hospital in Fulton, Ky.; Mercy Hospital in Independence, Kan.; and Marlboro Park Hospital in Bennettsville, S.C.

Passport Health Plan and Chief Executive Officer Mark B. Carter contributed to the research. Key findings include:

  • A number of factors contributed to the closures, including aging, poor, and shrinking populations; high uninsured rates; a payer mix dominated by Medicare and Medicaid; economic challenges in the community; aging facilities; outdated payment and delivery system models; and business decisions by corporate owners/operators.
  • The closures reduced local residents’ access to care, especially emergency care. While inpatient hospitals in these and other communities may not be sustainable, without new models of health care delivery in place, hospital closures can lead to gaps in access.
  • The closures led to an outmigration of health care professionals and worsened pre-existing challenges around access to specialty care.
  • New care models may be better able to address the health care needs of rural communities. Some rural hospitals may be able to adapt and new models may be created to address changing demographics and delivery systems.  Such reconfiguration may require federal support and assistance as well as regional planning efforts. A state’s decision about the Medicaid expansion has an important impact on hospital revenues and access to care, but the sustainability of rural hospitals depends on a broader set of factors.

To see the full report, please click here.

The Kaiser Family Foundation is a non-profit organization focusing on national health issues, as well as the U.S. role in global health policy. For more information, please go online to kff.org.

 

National Social Work Month focuses on “Forging Solutions out of Challenges”

social work logoSocial workers have worked to improve citizens’ rights, have pushed to strengthen the social safety net, and continue to make a difference in the day-to-day lives of millions of Americans by helping to build, support and empower positive family and community relationships.

At Passport, we are proud to celebrate National Social Work Month during March to recognize our associates who work every day to help our members improve their health and quality of life.

Social workers – more than any other profession – recognize that more must be done to address persistent social problems such as poverty, lack of education and health care access, and discrimination based on gender, race, sexuality, or income. And they know that all people, no matter their circumstance, at some time in their lives may need the expertise of a skilled social worker.

For more information about National Social Work Month, which has the theme “Forging Solutions out of Challenges,” please check out the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) website by clicking here.

 

Cabinet Secretary: ‘Medicaid Expansion Boosts Communities, Hospitals’

courier jounral 2Audrey Haynes, Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, wrote an editorial in The Courier-Journal recently, titled “Medicaid expansion boosts communities, hospitals.” In it, she said that “the most recent financial numbers from calendar year 2014 are very favorable for Kentucky’s health care providers, including rural hospitals.” Specifically, she noted that “since Jan. 1, 2014, more than 500,000 Kentuckians have gained health care coverage via Kynect through either Medicaid expansion or the commercial insurance market.” To read her full piece about the current state – and future – of health care in Kentucky, please click here.

 

Poll Shows More Americans Have ‘Favorable’ View of ACA

According to a new poll from The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, more people have a “favorable” view of the Affordable Care Act than an “unfavorable” view for the first time since November 2012. According to Kaiser:

This month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds public opinion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to be almost evenly split, with 43 percent reporting a favorable view and 42 percent reporting an unfavorable view. The share with a favorable view exceeds the share with an unfavorable view for the first time since November 2012. … When asked about health care priorities for the President and Congress, the change that comes out on top for Democrats, Republicans and independents alike is making sure that high-cost drugs for chronic conditions, such as HIV, hepatitis, mental illness and cancer, are affordable to those who need them, with three-quarters of the public (76 percent) saying this should be a top priority. Sixty percent say that government action to lower prescription drug prices should be a top priority and majorities say things like provider network protections and increased transparency related to the prices and quality of health care should be top priorities. Other than high-cost prescription drugs, Democrats, Republicans and independents have different ideas of their top priorities in health care. In terms of the availability of price and quality information, fewer than 1 in 5 say they have seen any information comparing the quality or prices for hospitals, doctors, or health insurers in the past 12 months, and fewer than 1 in 10 report using these types of information.

For more information, go online to http://kff.org/health-costs/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-april-2015/.

 

Courier-Journal Article Looks at Effect of Affordable Care Act in Southeastern Kentucky

In the Sunday, April 19, edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal, a pair of reporters looked back on the past year since the Affordable Care Act “arrived” in Floyd County and saw how “health reform has taken root in ways both surprising and expected, good and bad.” According to the article, “it has given many of the poor and sick a key to long-neglected health care. But it’s also brought skepticism and fear, with some business owners arguing it’s stunting growth in a region that can’t afford another economic blow. … Amid predictions that bad health habits would be hard to break, scores of newly insured residents, mostly covered by Medicaid, have sought care in hospitals, mental health centers and drug treatment facilities. Providers have proved plentiful. Unreimbursed care costs are down. The county’s under-65 uninsured rate is half what it was — dropping from 19 percent before the law to 10 percent at the end of last year. Some who dismissed Obamacare because of its political associations with a president blamed for the decline of the coal industry say their opposition has softened.”