HB 2036: Abortion; Procedures; Informed Consent; Requirements

April 13th, 2012 by Will Humble 4 comments »

The Governor signed HB 2036 today- which amends state law regarding abortions. We’ll be responsible for implementing many of the law’s provisions. Our Rules and Medical Licensing teams will be responsible for writing new regulations for the operating procedures at abortion clinics, our Medical Licensing team will be ensuring compliance with the new rules, and our IT and Women’s and Children’s Health teams will be responsible for developing the website required by the law. 


Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait

April 13th, 2012 by Will Humble 2 comments »

Being born too soon is the number one killer of infants in Arizona and in the nation (birth defects is a close second).  Death rates from prematurity are declining but babies born too soon (before 37 weeks) often face medical, developmental and social challenges as they get older. More than 8,000 babies in Arizona were born too soon last year. Our latest March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card was average- but there was good news related to the reduction in the percentage of uninsured women and the number of women who smoke.  

Some of the things that can cause prematurity include diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, and alcohol or drug abuse.  One of our main approaches to reducing prematurity rates is to improve the health of women before they get pregnant- called preconception health.   Prenatal care is still important- but poor health practices during pregnancy will usually trump good prenatal care. 

Our interventions include implementing evidence-based practices to get moms to stop smoking, improve physical activity and nutrition and behavioral health- all are part of our Preconception Health Strategic Plan and our Every Woman Arizona educational materials, grants to implement preconception health strategies, and home visitation programs that address many of the things that lead to prematurity.  Our WIC program and clinics also work with young moms in their reproductive years to improve their health.  We also work with the Arizona March of Dimes and the Arizona Perinatal Trust to encourage hospitals to adopt policies designed to ensure that elective births aren’t approved before 39 weeks gestation. 

BTW… This Saturday is the March for Babies in Phoenix.  The annual fundraiser for the March of Dimes started more than 30 years ago and helps moms in Arizona have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies.  What they’ve accomplished so far is phenomenal and you can help.  ADHS has a team and would love to have you join us or you can donate…  Registration starts at 7 am – it’s at Wesley Bolin Plaza by the Capitol.


Trauma Informed Care

April 12th, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

Trauma Informed Care provides another perspective when working with individuals in the behavioral health system.  Think of it this way, our life experiences have helped shape each of us into the person we are today, why would it be any different for our patients/residents. When a person experiences trauma it can have any number of effects on them.  There is no “one size fits all” approach that works with patients/residents, we have to understand each person individually and craft our treatment approaches to best meet their needs.  I hope you take the time to check out this link as it gives some of the basics about Trauma Informed Care.

Flag Drops for Dispensary Applications

April 11th, 2012 by Will Humble 22 comments »

The tumblers have clicked, and the race to apply for a dispensary is on.  Our revised rules for regulating Medical Marijuana were filed and became official today- and we’ll be accepting applications for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificates from May 14 through May 25.

The unofficial rules incorporate the changes that were required by a recent Superior Court Ruling.  The judge ordered us: 1) to strike several of the selection criteria we had been planning to use for competitive areas of the state (areas where there will be more than 1 applicant per Community Health Analysis Area); and 2) to implement the law-  which is what we’re doing.

You can check out our Registration Certificate Application Checklist, Registration Certificate Application Instructions, and the official Registration Certificate Application on our Medical Marijuana Dispensary webpage.  Please don’t try to apply early- the first day we’ll actually accept applications will be May 14.   Starting May 14th, every day or so, we’ll refresh our dispensary application page to show how many applications we’ve received by Community Health Analysis Area (CHAA).

We’ll start reviewing applications as they come in (starting on May 14) and we’ll stop taking applications at the close of business (5 p.m.) on May 25.  We’ll have 30 working days to review the applications- and applicants will have 20 working days to submit any documents or information that were missing during our review of the application.  We expect to award Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificates on August 7.  If there’s only 1 qualified applicant in a CHAA, that applicant will be awarded a Registration Certificate.  We’ll be holding a random drawing in early August to award Registration Certificates in CHAAs with more than 1 qualified applicant.

Please visit our Medical Marijuana website if you have any further questions.  The materials that you’ll need to apply are all posted on-line- including the Application Checklist, Application Instructions, and the official Medical Marijuana Dispensary Registration Certificate Application.


Schoolyards Opening Up

April 11th, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

One of the things I’ve always been jazzed about is coming up with simple and easy policy interventions to drive public health change.  The Governor signed a bill that’s a good example.  SB1059 addresses liability concerns of schools when opening outdoor facilities to the public outside of the school day. This is a critical first step to making it easier for schools to open playgrounds to the public so children have more places to play and be physically active. Nice.

AZ Leads the Way to Reducing Teen Pregnancies

April 10th, 2012 by Will Humble 1 comment »

Teen pregnancy is a key public health indicator because of the profound negative health outcomes related to a lack of education and economic opportunity.   For example, only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma versus approximately 90% of their peers.  The disadvantages caused by a teen pregnancy can last a lifetime- and even spill over to the next generation.  Teen pregnancy is expensive too- costing about $11B per year in increased health care, foster care, incarceration, and lost tax revenue.  That’s why we’ve made reducing teen pregnancy in AZ a key element in our strategic map. 

Today’s good news is that teen pregnancy made a historic drop over the last 3 years in AZ.  In fact, teen pregnancy dropped by almost 30% in AZ over the last 3 years- the steepest decline in the nation.  

How did we get here?  As is the case with most things in public health- our success is tied to a host of interventions and circumstances.  No doubt our community-based contracts under the Personal Responsibility Education Program is a factor along with our federal Abstinence Education contracts.  The study that was published today shows that teens are becoming more educated about how to effectively prevent teen pregnancies and are using that info.  Another factor is probably the economy.  There’s a well known link between lower pregnancy rates in general and challenging economic times. 

The bottom line is that the trend toward lower teen pregnancy rates in AZ and the US is encouraging- but we need to do even better by using tried and true evidence-based practices to keep up the pressure on this important health indicator. 


AZ’s Behavioral Health State Plan

April 9th, 2012 by Will Humble No comments »

Our Division of Behavioral Health Services recently submitted its combined mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services State Plan for FY 12-13 to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Plan that we submitted doubles as the State Plan that’s required by ARS 36-550.01. The Plan provides an overview of Arizona’s behavioral health prevention, early identification, treatment, and recovery support systems including how the public behavioral health system is currently organized at the State, County and local levels. It describes the child and adult service delivery systems highlighting their similarities and differences and how these systems address the needs of diverse racial, ethnic and sexual gender minorities as well as youth who are often under-served.

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.