Obesity & Autism Walking Hand in Hand?

April 9th, 2012 by Will Humble 1 comment »

Another article came out this week in the journal Pediatrics that points toward the importance of preconception health including maintaining a healthy weight before and during pregnancy.  The authors explored the relationship between metabolic disorders like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity and outcomes such as autism and other developmental delays.  They found an association between metabolic disorders and neurological problems in kids. The article concludes that “With obesity rising steadily, these results appear to raise serious public health concerns”.  Add this article to the list of reasons why it’s important to eat right and get some physical activity. 

PS- Note the key word “associated with” in the article.  In the world of science there’s a big difference between association and causation.  The word association means things are somehow linked- but it’s not intended to imply causation.

Empower Program Gets National Recognition

April 6th, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

Our Physical Activity and Nutrition and Child Care Licensing programs were selected for a national award from  Let’s Move!- Child Care for our outstanding work to promote young children’s health and prevent childhood obesity through the Empower program and our training videos.  Our work will be showcased at the May 9 Let’s Move! Child Care Recognition Luncheon in DC.  The award was announced late this afternoon- so I don’t have any more details- but I’ll share more when it comes in.

National Poison Prevention Week

April 5th, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

This week marks the 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week. For the first time ever- poisoning surpassed car crashes as the number one cause of injury deaths in AZ and more than 2,000 kids had to go to emergency rooms last year from unintentional poisoning.  Kids under 5 had the highest rates of non-fatal emergency department visits from poisoning.  For more information on poisoning in Arizona, check out our recently posted Poisonings Among Arizona Residents, 2010 PowerPoint

Nationally, more than 60,000 young children end up in emergency rooms because they got into medicines while their parent or caregiver was not looking.   The new  Up and Away and Out of Sight  educational program was created to remind families of the importance of safe medicine storage. 

Phoenix Magazine also wrote a story that explains prescription drug abuse from the perspective of someone battling chronic pain.. it’s called Bad Medicine and is in the Top Docs issue… so hopefully a lot of people will read it, take stock of their “inventory” and dump it before there are more accident poisonings.


Integrating Public Health & Primary Care

April 4th, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

The Institute of Medicine just released a consensus report called “Primary Care and Public Health: Promoting Integration to Improve Population Health” that identified several principles that public health and primary care could work toward further integration- including the goals of population health improvement, aligned leadership, sustainability, community engagement, and the collaborative use of data and analysis.  Check it out and send the link along to your Stakeholders.

Behavioral Health Dashboard Refresh

April 3rd, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

Magellan of AZ & their behavioral health providers (and of course our DBHS shop) have been collaborating to develop and update an innovative provider outcomes dashboards to make a transparent window into the effectiveness of the behavioral health system based on core metrics.  The recently updated online dashboards provide great info to the folks that we serve and their families…  but also to the providers themselves.  Each dashboard includes critical indicators that are grouped into balanced scorecard categories. The dashboards can be reached quickly at any time by using the URL @ www.MagellanofAZ.com/dashboards.  The dashboards show trend lines for important performance measures over the last 3 years.  The data speak for themselves- as you can see that there’s been dramatic performance improvement. 

The old mantra from the American Management Association is right: “You get what you inspect, not what you expect.”

AZ Women’s Health Status Report

April 2nd, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

Our Bureau of Women’s and Children’s Health team released the Arizona Women’s Health Status Report recently. The report details how Arizona women are doing toward achieving optimal health and wellness. Topics covered in the report include physical activity, oral health, mental health, access to care and general wellness.

The good news is that 83% of Arizona women report having good to excellent health, but the report shows that 50% of women over 25 years old are overweight or obese. As is often the case in public health- women with lower incomes face bigger challenges with their health. The percentage of women who reported being physically active increased with education and income. Among women who had an annual income of less than $20K- 31% reported frequent mental distress, while only 6% of those with an annual income of $50K or more reported mental distress. 

The social determinants of health have been well-established in public health literature, and this report really brings home the connection between income and educational levels to health outcomes, in addition to race and ethnicity, among Arizonan women.

Behavioral Health Licensing Regulatory Reform

March 30th, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

The behavioral health system transformation that we’re working on as part of the Maricopa County behavioral health services contract will go a long way toward better integrating primary and acute care and behavioral healthcare for folks with a serious mental illness.  But…  our success is also dependent on our regulatory reform within our Licensing shop.  In fact, our current Rulemaking process to overhaul how we regulate the provision of behavioral health services may have a more profound impact on better outcomes than the new contract in Maricopa County.  It’s probably the most important Rulemaking package (in terms of system change, outcomes & leverage) that we’ve undertaken in the last 20 years. 

That’s why it’s so important for folks in our behavioral health provider community and other Stakeholders to help us craft our new Rules over the next year.  We had a great Workgroup Meeting on Tuesday, March 27th.   The workgroup is reviewing and providing input on the draft rules for Article 3 – Behavioral Health Inpatient Facilities, Level 1 Sub-Acute and Residential Treatment Center facilities. Folks can review the draft rules online please click on this link.

We’ll have another meeting on April 17th at ADHS, 150 N. 18th Avenue, Phoenix, at 9 a.m.


National Healthy Babies Initiative

March 30th, 2012 by Will Humble 1 comment »

Every year each of the folks in my job around the country (called the State Health Officers) get together and elect a President of our association (called the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials or ASTHO). Each President picks a public health challenge during his or her term. This year’s ASTHO President is Dr. David Lakey, and he’s selected the Healthy Babies Project- challenging each state to implement strategies based on successful national, regional, and state efforts to improve the health status of babies across the country. We’ll be working alongside our partner states over the coming months to help carry some water. More in upcoming updates.

Marijuana & Opiates – Recent Study Shows a Link

March 29th, 2012 by Will Humble 19 comments »

One of the missing ingredients in medical marijuana has been peer-reviewed science- but there is some out there. Studies are happening across the country to see how marijuana impacts and interacts with other drugs.  One small-scale study done by UC San Francisco recently suggests using marijuana with opiates allowed some patients to reduce the amount of opiates needed to manage their pain.  This was a small study done with only 21 patients – so it indicates more research needs to be done.  The paper was published this month in Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Qualifying patients in the Arizona registry can receive information about studies like this through the program – when you sign up you can check a box to find out about the studies or we also post information on our website.

Personnel Reform

March 29th, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

The Personnel Reform bill made some headway this week in the State Legislature.  It’s a complicated bill and hasn’t been through the full process yet- but I know there’s a lot of interest in it around these parts- so I’ll try to distill the current version down a little bit for our agency.

Basically, if you’re Grade 19 or above or are a Supervisor you’d become “Uncovered” on September 29th.  If you’re Grade 18 or under (and haven’t had a break in service) then you’d be able to stay covered by the Merit System- or you could elect to go Uncovered voluntarily.  All new ADHS hires would be Uncovered.  Also, all employees that accept a promotion would be Uncovered.   The system would also include some protections for Uncovered folks like require a comprehensive HR policy such as reviews for all employees.  Of course, all this assumes that the bill stays in its current form, is passed by the State House and Senate and is signed by the Governor. The proposed 5% raise for Uncovered folks is a separate proposal that’s part of the budget negotiations.