AzPHA Public Health Policy Update: November 29, 2017

Community Health Worker “Sunrise” Passes Committee!

The Joint Health Committee of Reference heard detailed testimony on the Sunrise Applications turned in by the Community Health Workers Association, the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association, and Dental Care for AZ.

They gave a favorable recommendation for the Community Health Worker and Dental Therapist applications but didn’t approve the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association request.

The Community Health Workers are asking for a pathway to set up a process for voluntary registration of CHWs; the Arizona Naturopathic Medical Association would like permission for Naturopaths to sign medical waivers from the state’s school vaccination requirements and Dental Care for AZ asks for authorization from the legislature to license a new class of dental professionals called Dental Therapists.

We took positions for the CHW proposal and against the Naturopath’s proposal.  We were neutral on the dental therapy application.

The committee’s recommendations will be sent to the Governor, President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives.  This week’s vote doesn’t mean that Community Health Worker Voluntary Certification will become law.  For that to happen, the proposal needs to be put into a Bill format, get a sponsor, pass the House and Senate and then get signed by the Governor.

Congratulations to the Arizona Community Health Workers Association for their diligent work preparing their Sunrise Application and for working with stakeholders and partners to set up the infrastructure needed to implement their vision including developing core competencies, training and certificate education, and internship opportunities.  

Also, a huge shout out to the Vitalyst Health Foundation for financially supporting this kind of community health initiative through their grant programs!

Next step- Voluntary Certification!

 

AHCCCS Finds Temporary Solution for KidsCare

AHCCCS found a temporary contingency plan to keep Arizona’s Kids Care program going for the next few months.  AZs KidsCare program covers about 24,000 kids in lower income families.  The program provides low-cost health insurance to children whose parents earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but still make less than 200% of the federal poverty level (about $40,840 for a family of 3).  It’s not free, but premiums are reasonable (less than $50/month for one kid or $70 for multiple children.

Hopefully Congress will take action to extend the current CHIP Program (our CHIP program is called Kids Care) in the next few weeks. In the mean-time, AHCCCS has indicated that that they’ll use money from their regular Medicaid program to support the current program.  They indicated this week that there are only enough funds in the account to keep the KidsCare premiums paid into March 2018.

You can urge Senators McCain and Flake to reauthorize full funding of the Children’s Health Insurance Program by contacting  Sen. McCain at: (202) 224-2235 or (602) 952-2410 and Sen. Flake at: (202) 224-4521 or (602) 840-1891.

 

CDC CME on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Recommendations

CDC has a new and free continuing education opportunity regarding updated recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on the use of seasonal influenza vaccines.  Here’s a description for Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2017–18 Influenza Season.

The learning objectives for the CME are to:

1.   Describe available influenza vaccines for the 2017–18 season, based on updated ACIP recommendations;

2.   Describe new and updated information and recommendations regarding influenza vaccination during the 2017–18 season, based on updated ACIP guidance; and

3.   Describe contraindications and precautions regarding influenza vaccination during the 2017–18 season, based on updated ACIP recommendations. 

You can access this free activity by visiting: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/cme/medscape_cme.html

You can register for free or login without a password and get unlimited access to all continuing education activities and other Medscape features.

 

Non-addictive Painkillers as Effective as Opioids
In a new study of patients who showed up to an emergency department, researchers found that a cocktail of two non-addictive, over-the-counter drugs relieved pain just as well as - and maybe just a little better than - a trio of widely prescribed opioid pain medications.

The trial involved 416 patients who entered Montefiore Medical Center's Emergency Department in the Bronx with painful injuries. About 20% of them were diagnosed with a bone fracture. The rest suffered injuries such as a sprained ankle, a dislocated shoulder or a banged-up knee. Upon arrival, the patients were assigned to one of four groups. 

One group got a combination ibuprofen/acetaminophen tablet, containing the medications found in Advil and Tylenol. The other groups got a drug that contained a prescription narcotic, such as Percocet, Vicodin or Tylenol No. 3. Researchers asked patients to rate their pain upon arrival and two hours after they got their medication. Patients who got the acetaminophen/ibuprofen treatment reported pain relief just as substantial as did the patients who got one of the opioid painkillers.

Click here for the study and here for a news report.