On September 12 the Senate passed S Res 553, designating September 22, the first day of fall, as National Falls Prevention Awareness Day (FPAD). This year marks the 5th anniversary of the national effort to protect older adults from falls.
FPAD is spearheaded by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). This year's theme, Standing Together to Prevent Falls, seeks to unite professionals, older adults, caregivers, and family members to play a part in raising awareness and preventing falls in the older adult population. Forty-six states will participate in FPAD this year, joining more than 70 national organizations, including APTA, professional associations, and federal agencies that make up the Falls Free© Initiative. Find ideas for observing FPAD and your State Falls Prevention Coalition on NCOA's website.
Sen Herb Kohl (D-WI) led the effort to raise awareness and encourage the prevention of falls among older adults. Sens Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Michael Enzi (R-WY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), and Bob Casey (D-PA) cosponsored the resolution.
To help patients use their health plan most effectively for the rest of 2012, Cigna is urging policyholders to determine what they've spent on health care to date, prepare for future health care expenditures, and make a proactive plan to manage overall health care needs. The insurer has produced a video series featuring 2 Cigna executives discussing tips for consumers about how they can make good health care choices and best use their health plan benefits. Share the Health Plan Conversation with your patients by including links to the videos in your facility's newsletter or post them on your website.
A new level of certification from the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is designed to recognize the specific capabilities of hospitals that can treat the most complex stroke cases.
The Advanced Certification Program for Comprehensive Stroke Centers aims to help health care organizations focus on the care processes that produce the best outcomes for complex stroke cases. The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association anticipate that, over time, municipalities and regions will develop a formal referral network so the most complicated stroke cases can be treated at the centers best equipped to provide the specialized care that can lead to the best possible outcomes for patients. The organizations anticipate that there may be more than 200 certified comprehensive stroke centers in the US within the next few years.
Use this interactive map from the Kaiser Family Foundation to review the status of state action on state health insurance exchanges. Sixteen states and Washington, DC, have passed legislation or issued an executive order establishing a health insurance exchange. Choose the table or map function to determine the source of the exchange activity (governor's executive order or state law), the structure of the exchange (quasi-governmental, state-run, or nonprofit), and how it plans to contract with health plans.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is encouraging health care providers to report adverse events involving over-the-counter (OTC) topical muscle and joint pain relievers to the FDA MedWatch program.
Last week, FDA alerted the public that certain OTC products that are applied to the skin for the relief of mild muscle and joint pain have been reported to cause rare cases of serious skin injuries, ranging from first- to third-degree chemical burns, where the products were applied. These OTC topical muscle and joint pain relievers are available as single- or combination-ingredient products that contain menthol, methyl salicylate, or capsaicin. Based on the reported cases, the majority of second- and third-degree burns occurred with the use of products containing menthol as the single active ingredient, and products containing both menthol and methyl salicylate in concentrations greater than 3% menthol and 10% methyl salicylate.
The various formulations include creams, lotions, ointments, and patches. The products are marketed under various brand names, such as, Bengay, Capzasin, Flexall, Icy Hot, and Mentholatum.
Advocating for the continued use of the Geographic Practice Cost Index, monitoring Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments that provide financial assistance to hospitals that serve a large number of low-income patients, and supporting the inclusion of physical therapy in programs that incentivize providers to practice in underserved areas are just a few of the ways that APTA attempts to protect and increase the rural physical therapy workforce and optimize care of the patients it serves. Find out more about these policies and the association's priorities in rural health care in this new APTA podcast and transcript.
HCUPnet, a free, online query system based on data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), provides access to health statistics and information on hospital inpatient and emergency department use. Users can access national and state statistics on specific diagnoses or procedures for a single year, statistics on all hospital stays, and trends. The system also allows users to rank diagnoses or procedures by key outcomes and measures—such as number of discharges and total charges. National and state statistics on hospital stays by payer also are available.
This new tool is available from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). To begin a search, go to the step-by-step description of the HCUPnet query process.