Celebrate Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month by Joining the 80 by 2018 Initiative

NACHC Board Chair, Dr. Gary Wiltz, joined other members of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT)—an organization founded by  the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—to launch  the 80 percent by 2018 Colorectal Cancer Screening Initiative.  The NCCRT initiative focuses on eliminating colorectal cancer as a major public health problem and increasing the number of adults 50 and older who get screened for colon cancer regularly to 80 percent by the year 2018.

According to an ACS fact sheet, colon cancer incidence rates have dropped 30 percent in the U.S. in the last 10 years among adults 50 and older. During this same period colorectal cancer screenings have increased from 56 percent to 65 percent in 2010, indicating that the screening is making a difference. Now that more people have access to preventative services like colorectal screenings due to the Affordable Care Act, the NCCRT hopes to raise awareness and continue to increase the rate of preventative screenings.

Dr. Wiltz emphasized Community Health Centers’ commitment to providing quality primary and preventative care, saying “We stand ready to do our part in the prevention of colorectal cancer by providing outreach and affordable screenings in America’s most vulnerable and medically underserved communities.”

NACHC is joins more than 50  other organizations  that have already pledged embrace the shared goal of increasing national colorectal cancer screening rates to 80 percent by 2018.

Go here to watch the event. For tools and resources or to join the 80% by 2018 pledge visit: http://nccrt.org/about/80-percent-by-2018/

Download the New and Improved NACHC P&I App Today!

2014 P&I App

2014 P&I App

The new and improved mobile application for the 2014 Policy and Issues Forum is officially available for download via the Apple and Google App stores. Following #NACHCpi on Twitter, registering for education sessions, and staying up to date on the latest conference news is as easy as pushing a button.

How to locate and download the App for Google Play Store: Locate:

  1. Launch he Google Play Store
  2. Search the event name (NACHC 2014 P&I). A partial search provides better results.
  3. Tap the event App icon

Download

  1. Tap the install button.
  2. Enter Google ID password and select “OK.”
  3. Select “Accept & Download.”
  4. App begins downloading and displays on your phone.

photoHow to locate and download the App for Apple
Locate:

  1. Launch the App Store
  2. Search the event name (NACHC 2014 P&I). A partial search provides better results.
  3. Select the event icon.

Download

  1. Select the “free” option.
  2. Select “install app.”
  3. Enter Apple ID password and select “OK.”
  4. App begins downloading and displays on your phone.

 

 

Obama Encourages Latino Community to Get Covered

President Barack Obama with Noticiero Univisión Edición Nocturna host Enrique Acevedo and Enfoque (Telemundo) host Jose Diaz-Balart.

President Barack Obama with Noticiero Univisión Edición Nocturna host Enrique Acevedo and Enfoque (Telemundo) host Jose Diaz-Balart.

Latino media giants Telemundo, Univision, and ImpreMedia made history today as they came together with the Asegúrate campaign to host President Obama’s first-ever Spanish language town hall on the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Streaming live from the Newseum in Washington, D.C., and broadcast on both Univision and Telemundo, the town hall was an opportunity for the Latino community to learn more about the ACA.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says that over 10 million uninsured Latinos are eligible for coverage under the ACA and are vital to the success of the law. President Obama stressed that open enrollment would close on March 31st and that they should get signed up by either visiting the Health Insurance Marketplace website, calling the Health Insurance Marketplace hotline, or by visiting one of the many local groups offering enrollment support such as a Community Health Center.

“You are not punishing me by not signing up. You are punishing yourself,” said President Obama.

A big concern among the Latino community addressed at the town hall was the issue of mixed-immigration status families. The President underscored that any information shared when  signing up for coverage is confidential.

President Obama also talked about the challenge of Medicaid expansion. In some of the states with the highest Latino populations—like Texas and Florida—the state government has opted not to expand, leaving a coverage gap. People who fall into the gap are too poor to qualify to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace but also their income is too high to qualify for Medicaid leaving them uninsured.

To watch the town hall in Spanish visit: http://noticias.univision.com/en-vivo/

Kaiser Report Spotlights ACA Implementation in California

Panelists at Kaiser Family Foundation briefing “The Uninsured at the Stating Line in California” including NACHC CMO Ron Yee

Panelists at Kaiser Family Foundation briefing “The Uninsured at the Stating Line in California” including NACHC CMO Ron Yee

According to a new report, The Uninsured at the Starting Line in California by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Community Health Centers will “remain critical providers of care to vulnerable populations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).” The report, released at a briefing sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Blue Shield of California Foundation, set a baseline for creating a before and after picture of how the ACA would impact availability and affordability of coverage using California as a testing ground.

Why California?  The state was one of six that opted to expand coverage early to low income adults in preparation for the landmark law.  How that effort (which was accomplished through a Medicaid waiver) and health reform have played out among Californians will help inform policy makers about the early stages of coverage expansions to a large population with high numbers of uninsured.  Before the implementation of the ACA, nearly 7 million Californians – 21 percent of the state’s nonelderly population – were without health insurance coverage. The biggest barrier to getting coverage was the price of it – few people could afford it.  Also, getting care was another challenge for the uninsured.  Only 49 percent of uninsured adults report they had a usual source of care. California is up to the task of reversing that trend.

The report highlighted the importance of health centers in the healthcare system as well as to the success of the ACA in key areas, such as outreach and enrollment and the delivery of care.  The report noted that although coverage may force people to change providers or choose new ones, the healthcare safety-net will continue to provide access to care to vulnerable populations. However, the report also cautioned “as uncompensated care funds diminish over time, these safety-net providers may be strained to meet demand in the face of shrinking resources.”

The findings also underscored that it is important health centers continue outreach and enrollment activities to reach people who are unconnected to health and social services and also to address gaps in coverage which low-income populations often confront.

“We are not yet experiencing the influx of patients many thought would flood our health centers on January 1, but we anticipate that will come as more people gain access to coverage and need services,” said Kaiser briefing panelist and NACHC Chief Medical Officer Ron Yee. “Health centers are reporting a lot of interest from people about connecting with coverage and learning what their options are.  There are people who are coming to our health centers who have never had an insurance card before and our job is not only to assist them with enrollment but to show them how to effectively use that coverage.”

Educating the newly enrolled on how to use their coverage effectively means also helping them establish medical homes, in places like health centers, where they can receive regular preventative care.

“If a patient’s only medical care has been through the ER, chances are they don’t have a doctor-patient relationship and will continue to stick to what’s familiar,” said Yee. “Our job is to show them the value of having a medical home like a health center where their non-emergency health needs can be addressed before they become an emergency.”

Outreach and Enrollment for First Responders

From left to right: Ghysely Mars, Certified Assistance Counselor at Refuah; Michelle Sentell, RN, MSN, Director of Healthcare Operations; Rockland County Executive Ed Day; and YolaMosio, Certified Assistance Counselor at Refuah.

From left to right: Ghysely Mars, Certified Assistance Counselor at Refuah; Michelle Sentell, RN, MSN, Director of Healthcare Operations; Rockland County Executive Ed Day; and YolaMosio, Certified Assistance Counselor at Refuah.

As part of its mission Refuah Health Center   in Rockland County, NY,  responds to those in need of health care when and where they need it.  This time, however, those in need were in fact first responders who needed insurance coverage for themselves and their families.  The health center recently hosted an event not only to celebrate the tremendous contributions of the county’s fire and EMS volunteers, but to also help enroll the volunteers and their families in affordable health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

There are 26 volunteer fire departments and 15 volunteer EMS agencies in Rockland County serving 300,000 County residents. Yet, many first responders and their families are uninsured or underinsured and struggling to pay for high-cost health plans. Refuah’s counselors helped the volunteers and their families understand their insurance options under the ACA and assisted them with filling out applications.

One uninsured volunteer firefighter and EMT who was among the scores of volunteers who saved lives during Hurricane Sandy, talked about how her family struggled with out of pocket expenses for coverage.  “At one point we all had health insurance as my mom was working full time, but then her hours were reduced to part time, which made us ineligible for health insurance,” she said.  “When we got sick and needed to be seen, we paid out of pocket, which is very expensive.”

“As we see every day and as we saw with Hurricane Sandy, first responders are there for us when we need them,” said Chanie Sternberg, President and Chief Executive Officer at Refuah Health Center. “Now it is our turn to make sure that they have health insurance and health care when they need it. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we can now do just that.”