Thursday, November 15, 2018

Million Hearts® 2018 Hypertension Control Champions!

Congratulations, Million Hearts® 2018 Champions!

Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Champions by State, 2012–2018. 101 Champions, across 35 states (the Veterans Health Administration is represented by Washington, DC, but has national coverage), for nearly 15 million adults. A map of the United States. The map shows circles, representing hypertension control champion sites, in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, DC, Washington state, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.Million Hearts® has recognized 18 health care practices and community health centers as 2018 Hypertension Control Champions. In their work, these Champions were able to achieve blood pressure control for at least 80% of their adult patients with hypertension. Together, the 2018 Champions cared for more than 53,000 adults.   Of special note, 4 out of 18 practices selected as 2018 Million Hearts Hypertension Control Champions were from Colorado! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

New Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

On November 12, 2018, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition, which outlines the amounts and types of physical activity needed to maintain or improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. The document also highlights new benefits of physical activity and tested strategies that can be used to get all Americans more active.

The evidence is clear—physical activity fosters normal growth and development, can reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, and can make people feel better, function better, and sleep better. Some health benefits start immediately after activity, and even short bouts of physical activity are beneficial. In fact, just about everyone benefits: young children to older adults, men and women of all races and ethnicities, women who are pregnant or postpartum, people living with a chronic condition or a disability, and people who are looking to reduce their risk of chronic disease.

What’s New in the Guidelines?
  • Guidance for preschool-aged children (3-5 years)
  • Evidence for even more health benefits of physical activity
  • Discussion of sedentary behavior
  • Tested strategies for physical activity promotion
  • Removal of bout length requirement – every little bit counts!
Additionally, the Move Your Way campaign resources are designed to help explain the Guidelines to consumers. These resources include interactive tools, fact sheets, videos, and graphics that are available for communities, health professionals, and others to promote the health benefits of meeting the new recommendations, along with tips for how to help people become more active.

To help reinforce the importance of physical activity to overall health, CDC is working with states and communities through Active People, Healthy Nation – Creating an Active America, TogetherSM. By increasing activity-friendly environments, this initiative aims to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027 to improve overall health and quality of life and to reduce healthcare costs.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Antibiotics Awareness Week

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment urge health care professionals to prescribe antibiotics only when necessary to help fight antibiotic resistance and the spread of superbugs, and to protect their patients from antibiotic adverse events. This week is U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week, a good time to remind healthcare providers of the following guidelines:

  • Follow clinical guidelines on whether to prescribe antibiotics. When prescribing antibiotics, prescribe the right antibiotic at the right dose for the right duration at the right time.
  • Shortening the duration of antibiotic therapy to the minimum effective duration is a key antibiotic stewardship strategy in all settings of health care. The goal is to maximize the benefit to the patient by curing the infection while at the same time minimizing the risks of antibiotic resistance and side effects from antibiotics.
  • Only prescribe antibiotics when they are needed. You can do harm by prescribing antibiotics that aren’t needed.
  • Tell your patients why they don’t need antibiotics for a viral infection, what to do to feel better, and when to seek care again if they don’t feel better.
  • Talk to your patients and their families about possible harms from antibiotics, such as allergic reactions, C. difficile, and antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Watch for signs of sepsis, which can be life threatening. If you suspect sepsis, send the patient for emergency care, obtain cultures, and start antibiotics immediately.
  • Perform hand hygiene and follow infection prevention measures with every patient.
For more information on the Be Antibiotics Aware campaign, including resources to help health care professionals in inpatient and outpatient settings educate patients and families about this critical public health challenge, please go to the CDC’s Antibiotics Prescribing and Use web page. Please consider sharing information on U.S. Antibiotic Awareness Week and the Be Antibiotics Aware campaign with healthcare providers within your organization.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center

Training Announcement 
Check out free training opportunities through the RM-PHTC and our partners! 
Managing Effective Coalitions (Nov. 1, 2018 - Apr. 4, 2019) - 
Come chat once a month with colleagues who are managing, leading, or supporting coalitions in their community.  We will explore successes, challenges, ideas, and solutions for building effective coalitions that create and sustain lasting change. The Managing Effective Coalitions Community of Practice will be facilitated, but there will not be any formal presentation and the conversation will be driven by the participants. Anyone working with a coalition tackling issues related to public health, behavioral health, or environmental health located in the states of CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, or WY is invited to participate. You do not need to attend every month.
More Info & Register Here.

Communicating and Disseminating Evidence to Policymakers - This training is available self-paced or through a live distance session. Participants will explore effective strategies for communicating evidence to decision-makers and acquire tools and resources to create and disseminate messages about evidence-based solutions on different platforms for diverse audiences. Also included is guidance for writing and disseminating policy briefs. Click below for more info and to register.

Mental Health First Aid (Nov. 30 in Denver, CO) - Through this certification course, you'll become a certified Mental Health First Aider. You will learn how to respond to someone with a mental health challenge. You'll learn the signs, evidence-based actions and how to connect those in crisis to support systems that can help them recover.  

Leading Effective Coalitions ECHO Series (2 series coming in Feb. & May 2019)
 - In the five, one-hour live sessions, experienced coalition leaders will have an opportunity to engage with peers and experts to build on their knowledge and strategies aimed at improving their effectiveness in leading coalitions.

The Food Safety Hypothesis Generation ECHO Series (March 2019) - 
In the four, one-hour sessions, foodborne epidemiologists will engage with peers and experts as they are encouraged to utilize a variety of data and tools available to them when generating a hypothesis for an outbreak detected through pathogen-based surveillance.

View our full training directory here.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Colorado Medicaid Opens Up Coverage for Smoking Cessation




Smoking cessation medications are a covered benefit for all Health First Colorado members, though some of these medications currently require prior authorization approval for coverage. As part of continued efforts to reduce smoking and tobacco use among Health First Colorado members, beginning November 1, 2018, all FDA-approved smoking cessation medications will be eligible for coverage without a prior authorization. These medications include varenicline, bupropion, nicotine inhaler, nicotine spray, nicotine patch, nicotine lozenge and nicotine gum. Additional information on coverage for smoking cessation medications can be found in Appendix P.  

Prior authorization has been shown to impede patients’ ability to obtain timely access to medications, which can deter motivation to follow through on a quit attempt. Research demonstrates that a tobacco cessation benefit that includes comprehensive coverage, has few barriers to access, and is promoted to smokers and their health care providers can be widely used, substantially reduce smoking prevalence, lead to improved health outcomes, and achieve a favorable return on investment by reducing health care costs.

 In 2016, Colorado Medicaid and CDPHE partnered under CDC’s 6|18 initiative, working together to improve access to and use of Medicaid-covered cessation treatments. Through this partnership, Colorado successfully removed copays for all FDA-approved cessation medications, supported enactment of regulatory changes to allow pharmacists and home visiting nurses to deliver cessation services, and developed consumer and provider resources to support promotion of Medicaid cessation benefits. 

This is a big step forward for smoking cessation coverage in the state of Colorado, and a testament to the value of the partnership between Colorado Medicaid and CDPHE and our shared commitment to improving the health of all Coloradans. 

CHED Facts for Action

Check out this great fact sheet about chronic diseases and related risk factors in Colorado.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Become a Health Links Ambassador

Health Links™

Become a Health LinksTM Ambassador


Want to make a difference in your community while developing your professional skill set? Become an ambassador for Health Links!
 
Ambassadors are an integral part of what makes Health Links successful. In this role, you’ll use your leadership skills, go-getter attitude, and passion for health and safety to promote Health Links in your community.

Why participate:
 Give back
 Grow professionally
 Make connections

What it involves:
  • Encouraging organizations to participate in Health Links and become Certified Healthy Workplaces
  • Promoting Health Links through online and offline channels from social media to  local events
  • Being a role model for health and safety in your workplace and in your community
  • Representing the Health Links brand with enthusiasm and professionalism
  • Sharing resources and learning and networking opportunities
  • Connecting like-minded organizations in their community with one another

Complete a short online application to get started.
Join Us

Contact Us 


Contact Kaylee Rivera with
questions or for more information. 
A healthier workplace is just around the corner. We'll help you get there.
Get started at healthlinkscertified.org.