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October 2013 E-NEWS

Table of Contents

UPHA President's Message

Utah Continues Progress Towards the Medicaid Expansion Decision

APHA Webinar: Policy Evaluation Tools for Injury and Violence Prevention

2013 Learning Congress: Performance Improvement in Public Health

Board Member Spotlight: Heather Bertotti Sarin

Student Spotlight: Coni Westmoreland

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upha president's message

UPHA’s overarching goals for 2013 mirror those of APHA.

  1. Increase access to health care
  2. Increase Public Health Infrastructure
  3. Increase equity (reduce disparities) in the population

The Utah Public Health Association (UPHA) is not a political organization. It is a service organization, dedicated to helping the citizens of Utah understand and use evidence-based science to improve health. The desire to be healthy is universal, cutting across all segments of society. The historic record is crystal clear regarding resources used to improve public health; investments in public health have secured our standard and quality of living more than any other. Health is the foundation of economic development at the local, state and federal level. A society cannot prosper with an unhealthy workforce. 

A great portion of public health work is rooted in the prevention of disease. Unfortunately, too often the general public does not connect disease prevention activities with the healthy outcomes they produce. Prevention activities are taken for granted as long as they are successful. This is the great public health paradox, the more successful we are the more funding devoted to public health is viewed as unnecessary. Linking the promise prevention provides to the product it produces is our great challenge.

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utah continues progress towards the medicaid expansion decision

Utah continues to make progress in establishing the groundwork to decide how and if to expand Medicaid to 111,000 low income uninsured adults.  Leading into the 2014 legislative session, State leaders are monitoring continued attempts at the Federal level to reverse provisions of the Affordable Care Act that since being enacted have withstood Supreme Court challenges and a presidential election.  The stalemate continues with a “game of chicken” that has resulted in a partial shutdown of the Federal Government and is likely to continue with the threat of the Republican controlled Congress delaying the extension of the Federal Debt Ceiling as the next card in play.

In late September, the Governor received the Medicaid Expansion Options report during his Health Summit 2013, from work groups established to consider different options of expanding Medicaid.  These options included not expanding Medicaid to 111,000 low income adults at or below 138% of poverty which would cost the State $220MM in the ten years ending in 2023.  Other options were to move forward with a full expansion with full traditional Medicaid benefits which would cost $378MM through 2023 or a lower “benchmarked” benefit that would cost the State $337MM.    Proposals to expand benefits to only individuals below 100% of poverty, leaving 60,000 low income adults uninsured, would cost the State between $512 MM to $582MM.  In the mix are proposals to approach the Feds with Block Granting Federal Funds, vouchers and subsidies to allow patients to purchase private insurance rather than the State growing the Medicaid program, and the use of volunteer providers to provide the care rather than a Medicaid expansion. 

Lawmakers are weighing the total benefit to the State of Medicaid expansion, which for a full expansion would save over the next 10 years, $110 million in state and local safety net programs that would no longer be necessary, generate an additional $200 million in state and local sales tax revenues, save hospitals and health centers more than $800 million they would others spend to provide care to those unable to pay, against the $368 million of addition expense of Utah’s share of the Medicaid expansion during this same time frame.   Governors of Utah and Wyoming are the only western Governors still on the fence regarding Medicaid expansion, with Idaho not expanding Medicaid and all other western states, including Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico; states led by Republican Governors, committed to expanding Medicaid.  Whether Utah decides to expand Medicaid or not, tax dollars from Utah will support Medicaid expansions in those States that do decide to move forward. 

The Governor has indicated that he will fully consider each Medicaid expansion option within a milieu of possibilities driven by financial, political, administrative and moral considerations.  He has indicated that a uniquely Utah solution is probable.

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board member spotlight: heather bertotti sarin

Meet this month’s UPHA Board Member, Heather Bertotti Sarin. Heather’s home has been in Utah for over 12 years and it is the 11th state that she has lived in. Living in 10 different states in seven years has taught her many lessons and so did growing up in a rural area of Indiana. “Don’t be afraid to take a risk and go to the unknown,” she says. “Bloom where you are planted—you will grow from the experience.” Her various moves were mainly due to her job assignments working for GE Capital. She had various leadership roles at GE and while in Connecticut she was recruited for a Black Belt (Project Manager) job with 3M Health Information Systems in Utah. She decided to get her Master’s in Public Health at Westminster College this year after working for 20 years in corporate America.  

heather bertotti sainHeather started getting interested in Public Health by her involvement in various projects such as "Kids in the Kitchen" with the Junior League of Salt Lake City, which promotes healthy food choices for children. She wants to make a difference in the community and likes how public health focuses on prevention and is involved in various areas. Heather is currently looking for an internship opportunity in the area of implementing quality processes in nutrition programs or health departments.
She has a 7 year old son, Luke and her husband Neil is an attorney. She met her husband while living in the D.C. area. Neil enjoys leading Luke’s Cub Scout Pack, playing tennis, and is a Michigan fan. You may find Heather rooting for her college basketball team--she is a Wake Forest Demon Deacon fan or checking out local plays in her free time. She may also be cheering at her son’s soccer game or swim meet, going to the Natural History Museum or walking in Red Butte Gardens. If you have any good book recommendations, let her know—she participates in a local Book Club. She also enjoys traveling--India is one of her favorites along with Spain and Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Heather enjoys being involved in her community with various non-profits such as Junior League and volunteering at her son’s elementary school. She has been involved in public health initiatives, such as Care Fair, which is the largest free health clinic in Utah and helps over 3,100 Utahns. This offers services from immunizations to mammograms and dental care. She led the dental section of the fair, getting local dental hygienists and dentists to help over 800 local women, men and children receive free dental care. 

Heather is excited about getting involved in public health and learning more about the field. “I look forward to getting to know UPHA members and helping apply my business background to various areas in public health.” 

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student member spotlight: coni westmoreland

connie westmoreland I have always been interested in serving others, and making their lives easier. Public health seemed to be the best route where I could make a difference in people's lives, on a community or systems scale. Since starting my degree programs, I have been able to work with the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), Salt Lake County Health Department (SLCHD), University of Utah's newly forming Institute of Healthcare Transformation, and a nation wide federal grant program, the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (Utah Regional LEND). I have been amazed at the diversity of experiences within the field of public health, and how I am able to make a difference.  

Through the SLCHD and UDOH I was able to work on program evaluations in order to more efficiently serve program participants. With an outsider’s, fresh view, and the ability to do national research on what other programs are doing, I have been able to give programs suggestions for improvement within their programs. This fall I have also started working at University of Utah, where we are beginning research on Community Perceptions of Healthcare. Within the URLEND program I have been able to experience didactic class learning, research experience, and clinical rotations focusing on gaining leadership and understanding collaboration of healthcare for children with special healthcare needs.

I have been amazed at the opportunities within the field of public health, and the ability to help others. After graduation, I hope to work with the CDC in national program evaluation, apply for a Fulbright Program for AIDS research in Malawi, or work in healthcare policy. With a degree in public health, the possibilities are nearly endless!! 

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Apha webinar: policy evaluation for injury and violence prevention

The APHA will be conducting a webinar on Tuesday, Oct 22 from 2-3:30 PM, Eastern Time. If you would like to learn more about policy evaluation tools that can be used to assist with integrating policy into public health prevention, you should consider registering.

For more information regarding the presenters, or to register visit https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/registrations/new?cid=hzms1iqtu0gy.

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2013 learning congress: performance improvement in public health

You’re invited to the 2013 Learning Congress: Celebrating Performance Improvement in Public Health on November 12, 2013 from 11-1:30 pm. The Learning Congress will feature exhibits from your public health colleagues around the state highlighting their performance improvement efforts. We’ll also hear from a national leader in performance improvement, Susan Ramsey. Susan served as the director of the Washington Health Department’s Office of Performance and Accountability, where she successfully led the department on a ten-year performance improvement journey. She’ll share their successes as well as some of the lessons learned along the way. For more information, or to RSVP visit www.ualhd.org.

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Save the Dates!

Don't forget to mark your calendars, and share these events with your colleagues!

2014 UPHA Conference
April 14-16, 2014
Utah Valley Conference Center
Provo, Utah

If you have ideas for conference presenters, please contact Dexter Pierce or Audrey Stevenson.

Annual UPHA Advocacy Summit
Thursday, January 16, 2014
11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
State Office Building Auditorium, Utah State Capitol Complex

Learn how to effectively advocate for public health programs, funding, and policy! 

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