The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a draft statement recommending that primary care clinicians prescribe oral fluoride supplementation starting at 6 months of age for children whose water supply is deficient in fluoride, and apply fluoride varnish to the primary teeth of infants and children starting at the age of primary tooth eruption.
The Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) has published a policy statement regarding state oral health program infrastructure and capacity. Specifically, the policy statement notes that state oral health programs should have sufficient infrastructure and capacity to be able to perform the Public Health Core Functions and the 10 Essential Public Health Services to promote oral health. The policy statement recommends the following be included in state oral health programs (this list is not exhaustive): (1) diversified partnerships and resources that include funding for state and local evidence-based programs and (2) continuous, strong, credible, and forward-thinking leadership by a dental professional with public health training.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a report on the condition of education in the United States. The NCES found that in 2010–11, the average undergraduate student loan amount, in constant 2011–12 dollars, was $6,800. This is a 39% increase from 2000–01, when the average student loan amount was $4,900. Of the 4.1 million students who entered the repayment phase on their student loans in FY 2010, some 375,000 (or 9.2%) had defaulted before FY 2011.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study finding that 81.1% of U.S. adults surveyed have voluntary smoke-free rules in their homes, and 73.6% have voluntary smoke-free rules in their vehicles. However, the study estimates that 10.9 million adult nonsmokers remain exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes, and 16.7 million remain exposed in vehicles.
The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA), State of Minnesota issued a report finding that Minnesota uses numerous methods and types of payments to reimburse dental providers, and that payment policies are poorly coordinated and inconsistently implemented across Medical Assistance programs. The OLA recommended that the state increase fee-for-service rates for dental services and give particular attention to rates for services provided to individuals with special needs.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report providing an update on the fiscal health of state and local governments through 2060. According to the report the fiscal position of state and local governments will steadily decline through 2060, absent any policy changes. Specifically, in the long term, the decline in the sector’s operating balance is primarily driven by the rising health-related costs of state and local expenditures on Medicaid and the cost of health care compensation for state and local government employees and retirees.
The Commonwealth Fund released a report using data from a 2011–2012 review of state Medicaid medical home programs, identifying community health team programs in eight states that provide an array of targeted services, from care coordination to self-management coaching. The programs feature frequent in-person contact with patients and integration with primary care providers and community resources. Early data suggests this model may reduce costs and improve quality while enabling many resource-strained practices to offer a full array of medical home services.
The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies conducted a survey which found support across the southern region of the U.S. from a majority of both African-Americans and non-Hispanic whites for the expansion of the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.
The Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analyzed data from Medicaid managed care programs in eight states (Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Virginia) and published their findings in an issue brief. According to the issue brief, health care stakeholders believe managed care programs are ready to absorb the increase in Medicaid beneficiaries under the Medicaid expansion provisions in the Affordable Care Act. Each state cited a history of strong managed care programs operating in their state, with solid organizational and operational infrastructures to build upon.
The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured released an issue brief identifying five lessons learned through previous Medicaid and Children Health Insurance Program (CHIP) experience to help inform outreach and enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. Key lessons include one-on-one enrollment assistance provided by trusted individuals within the community and providing accessible, welcoming, and family-friendly application and enrollment processes.