December, 2016 vol. 1 - In This Issue:
We wait with anticipation (or dread) for emerging plans of the new administration to translate into formal policy directions. Change of some kind is assured, but I share the view that many of the most pressing health policy issues confronting our nation remain a priority. Strategies for addressing them will differ certainly, but I am hopeful that the concepts of patient-centeredness, fair access to care, payment based on value and patient-experienced outcome, transparency and prevention will prevail. Here are some articles that educate, reassure and yes, challenge.

Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health

In 2015, over 27 million people in the United States reported current use of illicit drugs or misuse of prescription drugs, and over 66 million people (nearly a quarter of the adult and adolescent population) reported binge drinking in the past month. Alcohol and drug misuse and related disorders are major public health challenges that are taking an enormous toll on individuals, families, and society. Neighborhoods and communities as a whole are also suffering as a result of alcohol- and drug-related crime and violence, abuse and neglect of children, and the increased costs of health care associated with substance misuse. It is estimated that the yearly economic impact of substance misuse is $249 billion for alcohol misuse and $193 billion for illicit drug use.

NIH To Require Researchers Receiving Grants To Share Data

The National Institutes of Health will require applicants for federal research funding to submit a plan outlining how data gleaned from a potential project will be shared with the public, Director Francis Collins told CQ Roll Call. This move is part of a larger push from President Barack Obama's administration to make information gathered from government-backed studies more public.

Don't Let The Talking Points Fool You: It's All About The Risk Pool

Most people are healthy most of the time, and as a consequence, health care expenditures are  heavily concentrated in a small share of the population: about 50 percent of the health care spending in a given year by those below age 65 is attributable to just 5 percent of the nonelderly population. The lowest spending half of the population accounts for only about 3.5 percent of health care spending in a year.

Deciding how much of total health care expenditures should be shared across the population and how to share it is the fundamental conundrum of health care policy. 


Hospital Impact: We've Come A Long Way In Engaging Patients' Families, But Have A Long Way To Go

Imagine living back in the days before we had the ability to research diseases, symptoms or complex issues with which we were faced. Imagine going to your doctor's office by yourself, not being expected to or for the most part not being allowed to question your physician; after all, he or she was your doctor. Your physician came up with a diagnosis and you did what you were told. If it worked, great; if it did not, well, they were still wonderful. Unfortunately, many people still feel that way.   


Will FDA Approve A New Antibiotic Despite "Significant" Safety Issues?

I n a dramatic squeaker, a regulatory panel of experts last Friday narrowly recommended that an antibiotic from Cempra, an upstart developer, should be approved for use. But the 7-to-6 vote suggested an acknowledgement of what one Wall Street analyst calls a "screaming unmet" need for new treatments that outweigh the sort of safety concerns surrounding the product.


Passion + Quality = Change That Matters
I embrace the powerful opportunities in our evolving health care landscape. I founded Momentum Health Strategies to be a catalyst for change through continuous learning, diverse engagement and thoughtful policy and practice initiatives. I deliver innovative, strategic thinking and a passion for improving the patient experience. My personal drive and dedication to high-quality results will help you navigate the competitive terrain you face and convert your vision to action.

Momentum Health Strategies

Jennifer L Bright, MPA
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