On May 5, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued final rules to regulate all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Many of the rules will go into effect on August 8, 2015. Some will have a longer phase-in timeline. 

According to April 27, 2016 data from the CDC, all cases of Zika virus in the 50 states and the District of Columbia are related to travel to affected areas. The CDC reports 496 cases confirmed by laboratory testing in the U.S. In just six states no case of Zika has yet been reported.  

There is another story in the U.S. territories. Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa report 596 cases of locally acquired Zika virus. In February, the first U.S. death from Zika virus was recorded. A 70 year old man in...

President Barack Obama recently announced new actions his administration will take to address the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic in the nation. In visits across the nation, the president heard from people dealing head on with how difficult it is to get treatment for addiction. “It comes down to the fact that lawmakers have traditionally blamed those with substance use disorders for their disorders. . . (Lawmakers) want to fix it but do not want to pay for the treatment. That is the bottom line,” said Debbie Plotnick, vice president of mental health and systems advocacy at Mental Health America. But policy efforts to address the epidemic aren’t limited to the federal level. States are looking to expand treatment access and attract more mental health professionals into treatment facilities.

The benefits of e-cigarettes outweigh their potential harms the British Royal College of Physicians concluded after a comprehensive review of the current scientific research on e-cigarettes. The college's April 28 report, reported in Britain by the BBC and in the U.S. by the New York Times, concludes e-cigarettes are "much safer" than smoking conventional cigarettes and can be an important aid to quit smoking.

In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the Prevalence of Healthy Sleep Duration among Adults—United States, 2014 report, which found that nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-60 are not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. The average hours of sleep Americans get each night vary across states and across geographic locations, the average hours of sleep Americans get each night also vary across racial and ethnic groups, age groups, employment statuses, levels of educational attainment, and relationship statuses.The implications of sleep deprivation extend beyond individual health and can impact public safety and the workforce.

Yesterday at CSG the Red Cross donation bus visited. I noticed a new question about travel to countries where mosquitos carrying the Zika virus live. My curiosity clicked in and here is what I learned.

In mid March the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued guidelines to safeguard the nation's blood supply and the new question is a result of that guidance. The Red Cross released a statement on March 14 explaining how it would comply with the guidelines.

CSG Midwest
Eight years ago, Minnesota lawmakers established a new way of paying for health care that they said should lead to lower costs and higher-quality care. The hopes for this “health care home” model appear to have been realized. A five-year evaluation found that this model saved Medicaid and Medicare $1 billion. In addition, participating health clinics outperformed others on various quality measures, University of Minnesota investigators found.
CSG Midwest
Under managed care, states do not pay health care providers on a fee-for-service basis. Instead, MCOs are paid an agreed-upon amount for each member’s health care expenses. Adjustments can be made to the per-member fee based on the health status of the member. Savings are shared between the states and the...

Two years ago, Colorado reported success in dramatically reducing the state’s teen birth and abortion rates by 48 percent from 2009 to 2014 through a privately funded initiative that provided long-acting reversible contraception, known as LARCs. LARCs—intrauterine devices, or IUDs, and subdermal contraceptive implants—are highly effective forms of birth control, with a pregnancy rate of less than 1 percent within the first year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For comparison, oral contraceptive pills have a pregnancy rate of 9 percent and male condoms have a pregnancy rate of 18 percent in the first year. The LARC devices are effective for three to 10 years. In the last days of budget negotiation in Colorado in early April, legislators approved $2.5 million in state funding to provide LARCs to low-income women.

From economic and workforce development, to infrastructure and education, any number of items could have dominated discussions during the winter meeting of the National Governors Association, or NGA, in February. Yet, as the governors began to immerse themselves in committee reports and assemble a list of priorities for their meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, it was the issue of opioid abuse and overdose deaths that dominated the agenda.

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