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U of M study shows a high level of unfamiliarity around health reform in Minnesota

A new University of Minnesota study shows that more than 60 percent of enrollees in Minnesota’s high-risk insurance pool define themselves as “somewhat” or “very unfamiliar” with health reform and the pending changes to their current health coverage stemming from the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

To increase enrollee understanding, the latest study suggests immediate implementation of targeted education and outreach efforts to address concerns and ensure a smooth transition of coverage in January 2014.

The new study, titled “Survey Of High-Risk Pool Enrollees Suggests That Targeted Transition Education and Outreach Should Begin Soon,” was led by Lynn Blewett, Ph.D., professor in the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, Division of Health Policy & Management, and director of the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC). The study will appear in the September issue of the journal Health Affairs.

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U of M researchers find new health reform efforts could lead to a substantial increase in Medicaid participation

A new University of Minnesota analysis shows that the Affordable Care Act is likely to lead to a substantial increase in Medicaid participation among people who are currently eligible for Medicaid but not enrolled.

One impact of such enrollment – termed the “welcome-mat” effect – will be higher Medicaid spending and increased caseloads, even in states that do not expand their Medicaid programs as called for by the Affordable Care Act.

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U of M study: Recession led to a decline in out-of-pocket spending for children with special health care needs

A new University of Minnesota study shows that the recession of 2007 to 2009 led to a decline in out-of-pocket spending for privately insured children with special health care needs. Using data from the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, researchers also found that children without such needs were not affected by the recession. However, all adults in those children’s families had significantly lower out-of-pocket spending during the recession. This finding suggests that parents may reduce their personal medical care during difficult economic times to meet their children’s health care needs.

The analysis, “Recession Led To A Decline In Out-Of-Pocket Spending For Children With Special Health Care Needs” appears in the June issue of Health Affairs, and was led by Pinar Karaca-Mandic, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

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Nurse-midwives: then and now

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing’s nurse-midwife degree program, Melissa Avery, Ph.D., C.N.M., R.N., director of the midwifery specialty, reflected on how nurse-midwifery has changed.

Midwives have been attending births for thousands of years.

“But in the United States in the early 1900s, as the field of medicine became more formalized and specialized, birth started moving to hospitals,” said Avery. Midwives began to play a lesser roll.

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Former U of M student on First Lady’s guest list for the 2013 State of the Union address

Yesterday President Barack Obama delivered his 2013 State of the Union address to millions of Americans. One of First Lady Michelle Obama’s special guests was former University of Minnesota student Abby Schanfield. Schanfield is a member of TakeAction Minnesota’s health care team, a grassroots organization that advocates for change that matters to Minnesotans including economic and health care reform.

Schanfield suffers from a rare congenital disease called Toxoplasmosis. Thankfully she was covered under her parent’s health insurance and was able to receive the care she needed. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Schanfield will continue to be covered under her parent’s plan until she’s 26.

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Community-University Health Care Center joins state in efforts to improve care, limit health care costs

Last week, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced a new health reform initiative that, if successful, could provide better health care for 100,000 Minnesotans while lowering costs for taxpayers.

According to the state, the new system will “test a new payment model that prioritizes quality, preventive care and rewards providers for achieving mutually-agreed upon health goals,” and could save the state’s Medicaid program nearly $90 million over the next three years.

One of the six major health care providers to contract with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) under the new payment model is the Federally Qualified Health Center Urban Health Network (FUHN) which includes the University of Minnesota’s Community-University Health Care Center (CUHCC).

According to Executive Director Deanna Mills, CUHCC has planned for this new system for more than a year in efforts to make the new pilot program successful.  “We are shifting our care delivery model by building our capacity to provide care coordination that not only increases quality of care but also enhances patients’ satisfaction with our care,” said Mills.

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