October 11 is the 29th annual National Coming Out Day (NCOD) which celebrates people of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) identities feeling empowered to make their true selves known – to their families, friends and coworkers and in their broader communities. In 1994, October was designated as LGBTQ History Month with NCOD as its anchor date.
In the spirit of this month and Coming Out Day, the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation is pleased to share.... Read More
When Health Policy Advocacy Doesn’t See Color, It Doesn’t See Me
Our advocacy around race and health requires us to address racism as a cause of poor health, recognizing that without addressing this root cause, attempts at solving health inequities will continuously fall short. However, in order to bring full awareness to the consequences of racism on health outcomes, we must take a step even further back, and address the ways structural racism is embedded in health policy and health advocacy.
When the foundations for the health advocacy strategies that shape our policies are flawed, we build structures that benefit some people above others. We then spend.... Read More
On April 4, my 73-year-old mother had back surgery. It was a difficult and lengthy procedure and, unfortunately, she experienced a series of post-operative complications. She remained in the hospital for 12 days, and for several of those days things looked very serious. For the first time since I started doing health system transformation policy work, I had an opportunity to experience the acute care side of our health system not merely as a policy advocate, but as a worried family member.
There was a lot about my mom’s medical care that was good. Crucially, the complicated surgery itself appears to have been.... Read More
At the Intersection of Income Inequality and Geography: A Case for a Broad Approach to Health
For several decades, data has shown a trend toward the concentration of poverty and increasing income inequality in major cities across America. Take New York City for example, a metropolitan area often cited to demonstrate some of the highest gaps in income between wealthy and poor residents in the country. As the wealth gap has continued to grow over time, a distinct correlation between income level and life expectancy has emerged, with higher incomes found to be associated with longer life spans.
Even consumers who do their best to get care from providers in their networks may still be charged unexpectedly for out-of-network care – an issue otherwise known as surprise medical bills or balance billing.
Currently, no federal standards on surprise medical bills exist, but the recently updated NAIC network adequacy model act and CMS’ proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (NBPP) for 2017 can bolster both federal and state action to protect consumers. However, because both the model act and the NBPP set a minimum floor even if implemented, state-driven protections are still the most effective way to shield consumers from unexpected.... Read More
What Should We Hope To Achieve Through Health System Transformation?
This is the first in a blog series outlining Community Catalyst’s policy priorities for Health System Transformation. Each subsequent blog will take a deeper dive into one of the six areas we believe must be addressed to achieve better care, better value and better health.
Although much work remains to fully realize the coverage vision embodied in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), another aspect of the ACA—how we deliver and pay for health care—is receiving increasing attention. To date, the bulk of this attention has come from providers and public and private payers. But consumer advocates are coming to the table, increasingly recognizing that critical decisions about access, quality and affordability are being made.
I caught up with Birendra Dhakal of the BAG to learn more about the partnership, and how consumers responded to the various trainings to support them in enrolling in health insurance, either through the.... Read More
Addressing Health Equity in the Dual Eligible Demonstration Projects
“The healthcare world is changing; providers who have been serving a certain population are now serving a completely new population, a more diverse population. When you talk about cultural competency, what you really need to look at is what the customs, beliefs and values of these individuals are.” Dr. Terri Mack-Biggs, Geriatrician, Hospice of Detroit, Michigan
There is a significant demographic shift taking place in the United States, particularly for older adult populations. According to the Diverse Elders Coalition, the older population will grow far more diverse in racial, ethnic and cultural dimensions over the coming.... Read More
Webinar: New Opportunity to Address Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities for Medicare and Medicaid Beneficiaries (Dual Eligibles)
The Diverse Elders Coalition joins Community Catalyst for their latest Health Equity webinar
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers a unique opportunity to address racial and ethnic health disparities for individuals who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, sometimes referred to as “dual eligibles.” The dual eligible population is disproportionately non-white and they experience a high rate of health disparities. Through provisions of the ACA, more than a dozen states are launching demonstration projects focused on improving care for vulnerable dually eligible Americans. But very few states are using this new opportunity to address racial and ethnic health disparities, even though the demonstration design.... Read More
Making it Matter: Supporting LGBT Seniors through Health Care Reform Initiatives
As Community Catalyst’s Health Equity summer intern, I got to spend some time chatting with Linda Ellis of Georgia’s The Health Initiative about why closing the coverage gap in Georgia, and other states that have yet to expand Medicaid is pivotal for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) elders. As she shared, there was a time when it made sense to focus on LGBT specific services and to think that “we need to specifically care for our own. However, that is not the case today for an LGBT-specific organization in a state with limited resources and support for both the LGBT community and LGBT health care expansion.”
Many LGBT elders have come of age in a culture of rejection from.... Read More
Creating unlikely partnerships to improve the health of diverse older adults
Community Catalyst and the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) are thrilled to announce the launch of two new partnerships on the ground in New Mexico and Georgia. The unlikely partnerships will facilitate the ongoing education and enrollment of Native American, Bhutanese and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults (age 50+)—and their loved ones—in these two states.
In both states, partner organizations are working collaboratively to inform their communities about the Affordable Care Act’s benefits. While the Health Insurance Marketplace closed on March 31 for most, enrollment continues year round for Native Americans and those eligible for Medicaid. In Georgia, these new partnerships also serve as additional, targeted support for the state legislature and administration to take.... Read More
You won’t believe what I learned from our black elders (Black History Month)
In honor of Black History Month, the Diverse Elders Coalition is featuring stories relevant to black aging during February. A new story will be shared every Wednesday, with additional posts shared throughout the month. Be sure to visit diverseelders.org regularly during the month of February.
My father is my source of strength and love. He is an Afro-Latino older adult and much of the reason why I became an aging advocate. He supported me as a gay boy finding my way in a, sometimes, intolerant world and now he is aging in a society where we don’t often take into account the unique challenges faced by diverse older adults.
As an aging advocate, I know the power that stories have.... Read More