Dr. James Mold believes the health care profession can learn a lot from farmers. When farmers have a problem, many times they’ll look to the network of cooperative extension agents spread across counties in a state. Mold believes creating a similar extension service network can provide that same support for health care providers.

Which states have the highest rates of avoiding preventable deaths? How does the Midwest compare to the nation in providing equitable access to health care?
The most recent edition of a Commonwealth Fund report aims to provide policymakers with the tools to start answering these questions — and look for the best policies for maximizing health system performance.

The State Health Care Spending Project, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the MacArthur Foundation, has recently published two reports.

The first report is entitled: State Health Care Spending on Medicaid: A 50-state study of trends and drivers of cost. This report is the first in a series of 50-state studies examining seven key areas of state health care spending- Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance...

The bad news is a lot of people across the country can’t get access to appropriate and timely dental care. The good news is state policymakers can help improve the situation.
That was the...

Maine became the third state this year where dental therapists, a mid-level provider similar to physician assistants or nurse practitioners on the medical team, can help dentists expand care. Alaska and Minnesota already have a similar dental care provider. Dental hygiene therapists, as they are called in Maine, will be able to practice in the state and receive reimbursements from Medicaid and all other insurance carriers after Oct.1, 2015.

At a time when more people need health care, the shortage of physicians across the country is growing. That dynamic is making telemedicine, or telehealth—the use of electronic telecommunications technology to diagnose or treat a patient in need of care, service or monitoring—even more important.

CSG Director of Health Policy Debra Miller outlines the top five issues for 2014, including Medicaid expansion and cost containment, health insurance exchange implementation, building adequate mental health systems, health workforce adequacy and the aging of the baby boomers and the pressure it puts on health care systems.

The cost of health care in the United States has grown an average of 2.4 percent faster than the gross domestic product since 1970; it now represents 18 percent of the total GDP, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. One challenge contributing significantly to these costs is access to health care in hard-to-serve locations. Problems accessing care is especially common in rural areas. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 21 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, but only 11 percent of medical specialists practice in those areas. This results in a significant segment of the population that is frequently underserved. One possible solution is a series of medical licensing compacts intended to reduce existing barriers to the process of gaining licensure in multiple states.

Oral health is important to the overall health of an individual. Tracking and comparing oral health indicators is an integral component of a state’s public health strategy, as diseases and certain conditions related poor oral health—like tooth decay, periodontal or gum disease, and oral or pharyngeal cancer—are costly issues. Overall, national spending on dental services reached $108 billion in 2011.

CSG Director of Health Policy Debra Miller outlines the top five issues for 2013, including Medicaid funding and expanded eligibility, health insurance exchange implementation, mental health and violence prevention, promoting healthy behavior through incentives, and health workforce adequacy.

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