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9 states with telehealth legislation taking effect in 2018

December 27, 2017 | Erin Dietsche | MedCity News

PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy has unveiled a list of telehealth legislation approved in 2017. Here are the 11 pieces of legislation in nine states that will officially take effect in 2018.   more

2017: A Look Back At The Year In State Telemedicine Legislation

December 21, 2017 | Eric Wicklund | mHealthIntelligence

Some 63 pieces of legislation focusing on telehealth or telemedicine were approved by 34 state Legislatures this year, according to PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy. The various bills cover a wide variety of digital health issues, from defining terms like telemedicine, telehealth, store-and-forward technology and virtual visits to establishing care standards before a doctor can use telehealth to serve new patients. This article provides a look at some of the more interesting bills.  more

FCC repeals net neutrality rules, potentially affecting telemedicine

December 14, 2017 | Rachel Arndt | Modern Healthcare

The Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality rules established under Presendent Obama prohibiting internet providers from slowing or blocking internet content. This opens up the possibility that internet users could encounter differing connection speeds—something that could hurt telemedicine, says Mei Kwong, interim executive director and policy adviser for PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy.  more

Why big business will love California’s new marijuana rules, and why you should worry

December 07, 2017 | Lynn Silver | The Sacramento Bee

The state of California recently proposed emergency rules to regulate marijuana when recreational use becomes legal in January. PHI's Lynn Silver cautions against allowing unfettered commercialization and predatory marketing to vulnerable groups in this op-ed in The Sacramento Bee, saying the health and well-being of our communities must be put first.   more

Meet the intrepid doctors and scientists who are viewed as the ‘Zena warrior princesses of women’s health’

November 30, 2017 | Pamela M. Norick | The New York Times

Bethany Young Holt, head of PHI's CAMI Health, is profiled in this New York Times article highlighting the network of women scientists, experts, health advocates, and innovators leading the reproductive health field to develop multipurpose prevention technologies (MPTs) — new technologies that would simultaneously prevent two leading causes of death for women: sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, and unintended pregnancies.

“The science is there to prevent unintended pregnancies and many sexually transmitted infections, but the art of combining them into one product that women will want to use hasn’t yet been realized,” says Young Holt.  more

Image: ThinkStock

CCHP’s State Telehealth Report Shows Gradual Advances in Coverage

November 07, 2017 | Eric Wicklund | mHealthIntelligence

Nearly every state provides Medicaid reimbursement for video-based telehealth, according to the latest report from PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy. In addition, 15 states cover store-and-forward or asynchronous services, and 21 states cover remote patient monitoring – while only nine states reimburse for all three platforms.

But the rules and regulations covering telehealth and telemedicine are as confusing as ever, says the author of this mHealthIntelligence article on the Center for Connected Health Policy's fifth annual report.  more

Rx for a Healthy Community

November 01, 2017 | Michael O. Schroeder | U.S. News & World Report

Poverty and discrimination are powerful social determinants of health. They make it more difficult to buy healthy foods, find leisure time for exercise, live in clean, affordable housing and obtain preventive care. They also ratchet up stress to sometimes unbearable levels, says PHI senior investigator Kevin Barnett in this U.S. News & World Report article. "We call it toxic stress,” he says, “this day-to-day almost life-and-death kind of stress has a corrosive impact upon our direct cardiovascular function [and] upon glucose tolerance,” which can raise diabetes risk.  more

Warming planet means more dangerous hot days

October 24, 2017 | Jenny Staletovich | The Miami Herald

“Extreme heat events already cause more deaths in a typical year than any other weather event, and climate change is causing more extreme heat days. So it’s important to understand we can reduce heat deaths and heat illness by taking common sense steps,” said Linda Rudolph, director of PHI's Center for Climate Change and Health, in response to a new report from the Natural Resources Defence Council on extreme heat days.

Rudolph participated in a press call for the report's release, saying public health infrastructure needs to be strengthened to prepare for more dangerous hot days.  more

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

North Bay wildfires: How climate change made the disaster worse

October 20, 2017 | Chris Roberts | Curbed San Francisco

Climate change played a role in the deadliest, most costly wildfire in California history this month, which killed at least 42 people and destroyed nearly 8,500 structures. PHI's Linda Rudolph, director of our Center for Climate Change and Health, addresses the additional health impacts of exposure to wildfire smoke in this Curbed San Francisco article.  more

Baby Your Baby: Lead Poisoning Testing

October 20, 2017 | Leslie Tillotson | KUTV

This week is Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and Salt Lake City's KUTV produced this report citing research from PHI's California Environmental Health Tracking Program showing that children across the country are under tested for lead poisoning, particularly in western states.  more

Mikey Burton

How To Win Against Big Soda

October 15, 2017 | Anna Lappé and Christina Bronsing-Lazalde | The New York Times

A recent PHI study is highlighted in this New York Times op-ed arguing that efforts to pass sugary-drinks taxes are better able to withstand attacks from the soda industry when they're driven and supported by community coalitions that build public awareness early on, as was the case in Berkeley, CA. PHI's study found that the volume of sugar sweetened beverages sold in Berkeley declined by 9.6% in the year after implementation of its sugary-drink tax. The study also found no negative impact on overall beverage sales at studied local businesses, and that overall grocery bills did not go up.  more

What’s Next in the Fight to End Child Marriage in Guatemala?

October 04, 2017 | Claudia Romeu, Rise Up | Ms. Magazine

Guatemala has taken a huge step forward for girls, officially outlawing child marriage following years of advocacy by activists and girl leaders. New legislation closes a major loophole in the law, a major victory for girls in a country that has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Latin America.

Starting in 2013, PHI's Rise Up began investing in girl-led advocacy to pressure Guatemalan law makers to increase the minimum age of marriage to 18 years. This campaign led to the first big step towards banning child marriage in Guatemala, a law that increased the legal age of marriage to 18 in November 2015. However, a major loophole in the law allowed for girls and boys 16 to 18 years old to be legally married with the consent of a family judge. But girl leaders and civil society activists refused to give up, continuing in their fight to end child marriage.   more

Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation gives $100,000 toward monitoring pollution at Salton Sea

September 20, 2017 | Ian James | The Desert Sun

Efforts by community members and PHI's California Environmental Health Tracking Program to monitor air quality in California's Imperial County are getting a boost from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which is providing a $100,000 grant to support an expanding network of air pollution monitors there. The new funding will help keep the network operating and will pay for 20 more monitors, which provide air quality information to the public at a time when the nearby Salton Sea is shrinking—producing large amounts of dust and intensifying a public health crisis in the area.

Learn more in this article and accompanying video by The Desert Sun.  more

Study: Rise In Marijuana Use Not Caused By Legalization

September 14, 2017 | Tom Angell | Forbes

Marijuana use has risen sharply among adults in the U.S., but instead of being caused by laws legalizing the use of medical or recreational marijuana, the trend is primarily explained by decreasing disapproval of marijuana use. That's the main finding of a study by PHI's Alcohol Research Group published this week in the journal Addiction. Read more in this Forbes article.  more

Marijuana Use in the U.S. Has Increased, But Not Because of Legislation, Study Says

September 12, 2017 | Robert Valencia | Newsweek

American adults are smoking more pot, but increased cannabis use does not appear to be due to wider availability of legal marijuana, a new study from PHI's Alcohol Research Group shows.

"Results ...did not show significant increases in use related to medicinal marijuana legislation,” lead investigator William Kerr said in a statement. “It appears that the passage of these policies reflects changing attitudes toward marijuana use, rather than the other way around.”  more

Image: Kaiser Health News

California needs health-care workers, and it’s asking for help

August 23, 2017 | Anna Gorman, California Healthline | The Los Angeles Daily News

Health and education leaders across California have joined forces with business and labor leaders to address workforce shortages in health care through the newly unveiled California Future Health Workforce Commission. PHI's Kevin Barnett, co-director of the commission, says in this Los Angeles Daily News article that among other things, home health care workers should earn a higher wage to improve retention and that more workers are needed outside the clinical setting to address upstream issues that lead to poor health.  more

Veteran advocate worked to erase health care disparities for many

August 21, 2017 | Cathie Anderson | The Sacramento Bee

This obituary honors the personal and professional legacy of Mario Gutierrez, executive director of PHI's Center for Connected Health Policy, who died unexpectedly on August 16 in Sacramento.

Mario’s passion was clear: to make sure that every person, no matter how poor or how isolated, could access high-quality healthcare. His groundbreaking work researching and supporting telehealth innovations has helped children in remote rural communities receive life-saving treatment from world-renowned physicians, and has explored the potential of connecting health care providers in Mexico with undocumented individuals needing care in California. His contributions to the field have saved lives, and his loss will leave a significant void. But the loss of his generous nature, his kindness, sense of humor and overall humanity will be what is most keenly missed.

Read more in this Sacramento Bee obituary.  more

Non-Profit Hospitals and the Health of Surrounding Communities

August 16, 2017 | WCPN's The Sound of Ideas

Access to affordable, high-quality health care is critical in creating healthier populations. Yet much of what makes people healthy is determined outside the doctor’s office—from education and housing to safety and healthy food access. What role should hospitals play in improving these social determinants of health?

PHI President and CEO Mary Pittman joined WCPN's The Sound of Ideas program to discuss why hospitals are getting into the "zip code improvement business" and why community conditions such as safe streets and healthy housing are critical to health.  more

Kent County Health Department's "Health Lens" focuses on Health in All Policies

August 16, 2017 | Patrick Center | WGVU

Julia Caplan, head of PHI's California Health in All Policies team, was recently at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, talking to local public and private leaders about how high rates of chronic disease like obesity, diabetes and cancers among young people need to be addressed, explaining that policy can curb economic and societal burdens on the health care system.  more

Americans Are Drinking More Than Ever and It’s Costing the U.S. Billions

August 09, 2017 | Fortune

Americans are drinking more than they used to. The number of adults who binge drink at least once a week could be as high as 30 million, according to a new study. William Kerr, senior scientist at PHI's Alcohol Research Group, comments on what could be done to reduce consumption: making alcohol more costly by increasing taxes or setting minimum prices.  more

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