Physical activity is absolutely essential to maintain good health… but you need checks in the system to make sure it’s done safely. That’s where the CDC’s Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports on-line training comes in. It’s is a free, online course available to coaches, parents, and others designed to help keep athletes safe from concussion. It features graphics, interactive exercises, and storytelling to help folks prevent concussions, to recognize them when they happen, and how to effectively respond.
Archive for the ‘Preparedness’ category
This week the WHO announced that several people in eastern China are infected with a newly mutated bird influenza virus called H7N9. All are in critical condition and some have died… but importantly the cases don’t appear to be linked- meaning it’s probably not from human to human transmission (that’s good). The World Health Organization website has more detail including answers to some Frequently Asked Questions.
Global Influenza surveillance is a key public health tool… because early warning gives the global public health system an opportunity to squelch the outbreak before it breaks loose and causes a pandemic. It also gives us a head start on interventions and planning. BTW… in case you were wondering, the H stands for hemagglutinin and N stands for neuraminidase- which are proteins on the virus’s surface. The numbers stand for the kind of protein for each letter.
In last week’s update, I discussed the impact of federal sequestration to the main agencies who award us funding. We’re expecting a 5% reduction to our funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, a program that provides access to HIV/AIDS medications for patients with limited or no insurance coverage. We should be OK in this program even with the cut.
For the last couple of years we’ve been using a creative way to coordinate benefits and enroll clients in the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan to save money. We’ve also lowered our costs by filing rebate claims with manufacturers based on medication co-pay assistance. Increased funding from rebates allows us to continue to assist clients while preparing for the transition to the new health insurance marketplaces under Affordable Care Act. Big kudos go out to Rob Bailey for cementing the rebate strategy into practice and to Carla Chee, Lisa Fuentes, and the rest of the team for being proactive in planning and strategizing for the upcoming changes to service delivery under the Affordable Care Act.
Just as our influenza season winds down (and it is), it’s time to plan for the next one. Every February the World Health Organization convenes a panel of experts to look at the most current data on the circulating flu strains from around the world and makes recommendations for the next season’s Northern Hemisphere flu vaccine. At this week’s meeting in Geneva, the group recommended changing a B component of the vaccine, but sticking with the A/H3N2 and A/H1N1 components for next year.
It may seem too early to be thinking about next year’s flu vaccine, but planning in February allows time for vaccine companies to grow the viruses and process the vaccine. The vaccine-making process still takes about 6 months… so it’s important to start as early as possible to ensure that vaccine is available for the start of the next flu season. Getting vaccinated against the flu every year is important, especially because the vaccine strains can change from year to year, as will happen for the 2013-2014 season.
Four years ago- AZ didn’t really have a trauma system. We had 7 Level I (high-end) Trauma Centers… but that’s it. After 4 years and a full court press- we now have a decent trauma system that includes 31 trauma centers, (8 Level I, 4 Level III, and 19 Level IV (16 of the Level IVs are in rural Arizona). Over the past few years I’ve blogged about the progress we have made. Our next goal is to develop a world-class trauma system.
To help us get there we asked the American College of Surgeons to review today’s AZ Trauma System and make recommendations areas for improvement. So, what’s in the report? For one, traumatic injury in rural AZ still has room for improvement. For another, trauma care in the urban areas of Phoenix and Tucson is solid… and we want to make sure that we keep it that way and improve even further where we can. That means redoubling our focus on preventing injury from happening in the first place, continuing to focus on building out our rural trauma system, ensuring that trauma patients get high quality and timely care in the field, helping our Level III and IV trauma centers implement performance improvement practices in their facilities, and identifying 3 or 4 hospitals to become Level III trauma centers in rural AZ.
We don’t have the statutory authority to implement a designation moratorium for additional Level I Trauma Centers as the report recommends- but we do recognize the importance of having sufficient patient volume to support the necessary resources and provider expertise required by the highest level Trauma Centers. As a next step, we’ll be getting a group of experts to examine the data in our trauma registry in detail and come up with evidence-based criteria for determining need for the addition of future Trauma Center(s) in Arizona. These criteria may eventually serve as a substantive policy statement for us, guiding us as we review all future Level I Trauma Center applications.
We’ll also be engaging with our stakeholders (State Trauma Advisory Board, EMS Council, Medical Direction Commission and the four EMS Regions) in the coming months to develop priorities and a plan for our future trauma system development. We put together a set of frequently asked questions that shed some light on where we plan on going from here. I also talked about it for a few minutes on Wednesday night’s Horizon. I’m excited to think about what additional progress we continue to move the needle on trauma in Arizona- contributing to ”Health and Wellness for all Arizonans”.
Our SHARE program recognizes HEART Safe workplaces around Arizona. The HEART Safe designation is awarded to schools, places of worship, non-profit agencies and businesses. It’s not easy to earn the status – it requires implementation of policies and procedures, training staff in how to use a defibrillator and they need to be registered, serviced and maintained.
We haven’t recognized ourselves as a HEART Safe workplace… but we’re going to change that. Coming soon, you’ll be hearing about training opportunities for you and your staff. The classes will help you become familiar with the equipment that is nearest your workspace. In order to train as many staff as possible without disrupting customer service and business operations, trainings will be offered at a variety of days and times throughout the next couple months. Agency Workforce Development and I will be in contact to create the rosters for the training in your areas.
Also… check out this great news story that highlights the success of our CPR dispatch training initiative. It’s just a few minutes and its inspiring.