Certintell’s newest blog series, “Industry Insights,” takes a look at what topics are buzzing with popularity in the mHealth and care management arena for Community Health Centers (CHCs), FQHCs and other community-based organizations. Here, you can explore how legislation might affect your workflows, what statistics might be preventing better patient outcomes and tips for pushing past your biggest care barriers. Stay on top of what CHC news you should know below! This month, catch up on big moves in health equity:
October is Health Literacy Month
Did you know the National Institutes of Health recommends all health materials be written at grade 6-7 reading level? However, a lot of health information disseminated is too difficult for patients to understand.
Health literacy is the degree to which individuals can find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others. Creating accessible materials can help empower your patients to take charge of their health and improve health outcomes.
White House Targets Food Insecurity
On Sept. 28, the Biden Administration announced the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. Food insecurity has long been a problem in the United States and is linked to various social determinants of health. This strategy hopes to increase access to nutritious food and has a goal of ending hunger by 2030.
The National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health is comprised of a five-pillar approach:
- Expansion of welfare and social programs
- Test medically-tailored food for the Medicare population
- Increase access to nutritious food
- Promote physical activity by investing in green space and parks
- Increase funding for research opportunities
HHS Announces Steps to Improve Language Access
More than 26 million people in the United States do not speak English as their first language, which exponentially increases their risk of experiencing health care disparities. To help break down these barriers, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced multiple actions it will take to improve language access in health care. Along with relaunching its Language Access Steering Committee, HHS announced more than $4 million in grants to 11 different organizations. These recipients will implement strategies to enhance language access services, technology utilization, and education for individuals with LEP and providers.
OTC Hearing Aids – A Win For Health Equity
For decades, hearing aids required a prescription from an audiologist and would cost patients thousands of dollars. However, starting Oct. 17, hearing aids are now available for purchase over the counter, at a fraction of the cost. Federal health officials estimate over 37 million Americans have trouble hearing, yet only one in four adults who could benefit from hearing aids have access to them. With this 2017 federal law finally taking effect, barriers to accessing care will be eliminated for millions of Americans.
Project Increases Telehealth Access Among Veterans Facing Homelessness by 5.5 Percent
A recent study published by the Annals of Family Medicine found an increase in telehealth access among veterans facing homelessness. Although telehealth has provided numerous benefits to patients throughout the pandemic, inequalities still exist when accessing virtual care. To target this, the Veterans Administration (VA) implemented a quality improvement project to improve access to care amongst veterans with housing instabilities. Strategies to do so included live demonstrations of video visit applications, connecting homeless veterans to technological support, and standardized workflows. During this 16-week project, they found the proportion of video visits among all telehealth appointments went from 4.8 percent in December 2020 to 10.3 percent in April 2021.
Check back here for more CHC news at the end of every month!