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January 2016 E-NEWS

Table of Contents

Annual UPHA Advocacy Summit a Success!

Medicaid Expansion in Utah

UPHA Awarded Grant to Improve Accreditation Readiness for Health Department

UPHA Awarded a Sub-Grant for Community Health Worker Demonstration Project

Utah Public Health Conference Call for Abstracts

Celebrating UPHA's 100th Anniversary: Milestones in Utah Public Health

Board Spotlight: Linda Stearns, RN,MS

Save the Dates!


Annual UPHA Advocacy Summit a Success!

The annual UPHA Advocacy Summit was a great success!  Over 100 students and professionals enjoyed hearing about the summit’s theme of Public Health, Poverty, People and the Planet.  Here is a summary of the presentations:

  • The renowned Pamela Atkinson, Community Advocate for the homeless population, set the tone by sharing stories of individuals impacted by poverty and the unexpected loss of their homes.  She shared the importance of good communication with and respect for our elected officials when advocating for important issues. 
  • Dr. Joseph Miner, Executive Director for the Utah Department of Health, then discussed Utah's ranking of 7th in the nation from America's Health Rankings.  He also shared legislative priorities and budget requests for the department for the upcoming session. 
  • Alan Matheson, Executive Director for the Department of Environmental Quality, explained the types of activities that his employees engage in to protect the population from environmental hazards.  He discussed land cleanup of sites such as Geneva Steel, water contamination from a Colorado mine spill and efforts to improve air quality through a lawn mower exchange program. 
  • After a healthy and delicious lunch provided by Landmark Catering, participants were treated to a legislative panel moderated by Dexter Pearce, current president of UPHA and Executive Director of Community Health Centers, Inc.  Representatives Brian King, Marie Poulson, Carol Spackman Moss, Robert Spendlove and V. Lowry Snow were joined by Senator Todd Weiler in responding to prepared questions from the moderator as well as impromptu audience questions.  Marti Woolford from Utahns Against Hunger stood in the audience and voiced a question about the effects of childhood hunger on the education system and legislative efforts in that arena. 
  • The concluding panel of community faith leaders, moderated by Bill Tibbetts, Director of the Coalition of Religious Communities, truly captivated the audience as they learned about how each faith (LDS, Jewish, Islamic, Episcopal and Catholic) responds to health and environmental issues.  It was fascinating to learn religious views from varied faiths and how they have many more commonalities than differences when it comes to caring for the body, preventing disease and advocating for the poor and needy. 

Evaluations received to date have been overwhelmingly positive and the Policy Unit appreciates feedback on how to continue to improve the event in future years.

Annual UPHA Advocacy Summit
Utah Faith Leader Panelists:  Dr. George Hanley, Brigham Young University; Rabbi Dave Levinsky, Temple Har Shalom; Imaam Muhammad Shoayb Mehtar, Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake; Rt. Rev. Scott Hayashi, Episcopal Diocese; Jean Hill, Catholic Diocese

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Medicaid expansion in Utah- "Medicaid Light" or "Medicaid No"

After the House’s rejection of the Governor’s Healthy Utah plan supported by the Senate, and then the  “Gang of Six” UtahAccess+ bicameral leadership compromise again rejected by the House in a GOP caucus, the Utah legislature begins this session with the GOP’s promise to forward legislation that will finally pass the House.  Our Governor has stepped aside indicating that it is up to the House to move any legislation forward other than recommending as much as $10MM be spent on the expansion (0.07% of the 2016 proposed Governor’s budget). 

At the December Utah Health Policy Project Conference, House Leader Hughes indicated the GOP will propose a partial expansion funded by, “hospitals, Utahans, but not doctors.”  He would not rule out a State wide referendum approving additional taxes and that any plan would focus on the most vulnerable Utahans.  Will the vulnerable be the medically frail below 100% of the federal poverty level or childless ultra-indigent adults below 10% of poverty earning less than $98 a month?  Either of these proposals would garner a 70/30 federal match and cover perhaps 10% of the Utahans currently in the Medicaid Coverage Gap.  Rep. Dunnigan has indicated he would float a plan but that the, “…legislature isn’t excited about working on a Medicaid.”

Heroic GOP members may keep visages of Healthy Utah and UtahAccess+ alive through minor re-toolings.  Senator Weiler at the January Utah Public Health Advocacy Summit indicated that Senate support for Healthy Utah remains high and we assume for UtahAccess+, and even perhaps various combinations of both.  Any bill of substance will unlikely clear the House GOP Caucus.  The Democrats may fare better floating a full expansion unlikely to make it out of committee - at least a record will be established that members voted against as opposed to the caucus where the voting records remains secret.   Any of these bills would get the 90/10 federal match and cover 100% of the 126,500 Utahans currently in the Gap. 

Representative Spendlove spoke briefly of his bill at the Utah Public Health Advocacy Summit.  We expect that his bill will partially expand Medicaid to 100% of poverty; but include Utah demands that Health and Human Services (HHS) approve the 90/10 federal match rather than the 70 /30 available at this level of coverage, allow Utah to implement work requirements and budget caps. Utah has previously asked for and HHS has refused all of these conditions.  So by design this bill includes a triple set of poison pill provisions ensuring the State will not be expanding Medicaid should it pass.   The result would be to buy members another year of doing nothing by diffusing blame and moving the issue into the next election cycle.  This also draws Utah’s line in the sand that must be met by the next Congress and new President.  
In a response to GOP House maneuverings frustrating substantive legislation, look for the Democrats to attempt a joint resolution to put the Medicaid Expansion question on the November 2016 ballot for the populace’s vote.  And look for it to die in committee.

After three years, the legislature appears less likely than ever to enact substantive legislation.   The Utah Public Health Association stands firm in its commitment to support Utah expansion of Medicaid to cover 126,500, working poor uninsured Utahan’s trapped in the Medicaid Coverage Gap.

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For the Third Year, UPHA Awarded a $9,8000 Grant from APHA/CDC for Public Health Quality Improvement and Accreditation Efforts

The American Public Health Association, with support from the Office of State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent out an RFP for funding to support strategic partnerships that advance national public health accreditation readiness and to assist in achieving public health quality.

In response to the RFP, UPHA's submitted a proposal for $9,800 outlining how funding will be used to support our important partnerships with Utah's tribal, state and local health departments for Quality Improvement and national accreditation efforts.  The proposal was approved and the funds have been received from APHA.  This funding will build on the readiness assessment of the Utah Tribes interested in moving forward on Community Assessments, Utah County's Strategic Plan, the Utah Department of Health State Health Improvement Plan project, and an accreditation education pre conference sponsored by Utah's Gaining Ground coalition.

For more information please contact Paul Wightman, director@upha.org

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UPHA Awarded a Sub-Grant of a Three AGency Grant from Intermountain Healthcare for a Community HeaLth Worker Demonstration Project

Intermountain Healthcare developed an RFP to develop and implement a Community Health Worker (CHW) program in five communities in Salt Lake County to address access to care barriers and improved use of primary/preventive care resources.  The RPF was based on how people access care in a variety of settings, some more costly than others. The use of the Emergency Department for conditions best treated in a primary care office is an ongoing appropriate use concern, particularly when that use occurs during traditional clinic hours. Heat mapping exercises of Intermountain patients identified five specific communities within Salt Lake County that are closely linked to other data indicating health, economic and social disparities

The RFP described that Community Health Workers are culturally and linguistically matched community members who work in association with health systems to provide education, advocacy, and social support to communities with health disparities. CHWs have a long history of impacting community health, improving primary and preventive care delivery, and addressing the social determinants of health that create barriers to health care.

In response to the RFP, a partnership was formed including the Association for Utah Community Health (AUCH) as the lead agency, UPHA and our CHW Special Interest Group, and the Utah Department of Health's (UDOH) Broad-Based Community Health Worker Coalition.

The partnership was awarded a first year grant of over $400K, with UPHA's share of $62K to fund a CHW Coordinator, who will work with AUCH and the CHW Coalition.  A major responsibility of UPHA and our CHW Special Interest Group is to coordinate the curriculum and training of CHWs, ongoing professional development and working closely with AUCH's CHW Coordinator to fulfill the requirements Intermountain outlined in the RFP.  As the RFP describes, Intermountain is beginning this demonstration project starting in Salt Lake County in 2016, with potential expansion to Weber, Davis, and Utah counties in 2017.

For more information please contact Paul Wightman, director@upha.org

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The Utah Public Health Association has announced a Call for Abstractsfor the 2016 Annual Public Health Conference to be held April 11 - 13, 2016 at the Sheraton Salt Lake City. This year we commemorate 1oo years of the Utah Public Health Association, which leads to our theme for this year’s conference: “Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Future”.We are seeking innovative proposals for topics relating to all areas of public health as well as abstracts that focus on the conference theme.
All abstracts must be submitted online. An easy to use online form will walk you through the process. Link directly through the conference website at www.upha.org/conference/pages/abstracts.htm. The deadline for submitting an abstract is Monday, January 31, 2016.

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This year Utah Public Health Association is celebrating its 100th anniversary!  UPHA was officially organized on May 19, 1916 with its first general meeting being held at the Hotel Utah.  Mr. E.O. Howard, president of the Walker Bank, was elected as the first President of the organization.  In its beginning years the association’s primary emphasis was on tuberculosis control activities and responsibility for the Christmas Seal fund raising campaign. Over time the Association became involved in a wide range of public health service and education.  However in the late 1920’s UPHA went inactive for a period of about ten years.  Happily, the association was revived and continues to grow and develop as an organization today.  Here are recent statistics about UPHA’s growth:

  • From 2010 to 2015, UPHA membership grew 26%.  Currently there are 229 members.
  • Attendance at the annual Utah Public Health Conference has grown 76% since 2010.  Conference sponsorships have grown by 113%.
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Board Spotlight: Linda Stearns, RN,MS

Linda Stearns recently stepped in as Secretary on the UPHA Board.  It’s no surprise that she agreed to take on this role as she believes that being of service is the most important reason for joining UPHA. 

Linda currently works part time for Community Health Centers, Inc., and just for fun she also attends classes at Salt Lake Community College.  This semester she is enjoying Introduction to Archeology.   Linda has worked in health care for many years.  She says that when she first discovered community health centers, she knew she wanted to be included in the movement.  Since then, infection control and emergency planning have been an enjoyable and exciting part of her job.  She says that planning for emergencies that involve CHC clinics has been really rewarding because as events occur (such as H1N1), the results of planning become apparent. 

Linda’s two favorite vacation spots are the Big Island of Hawaii and Yellowstone National Park.  This year she has plans to take three classes at the Yellowstone Institute (wolves, raptors and owls) and is visiting Oahu and Molokai.  Linda says the only thing she would change about her semi-retired life is traveling more if only she had more money!

Other fun facts about Linda include she loves chocolate in all its many forms, and she reads and watches sports to relax.  She says the best thing she ever did was to connect with her father every day after the passing of her month until he died years ago. 

Please help us welcome Linda to the UPHA Board!

 Linda Stearns

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Save the Dates!

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

2016 Annual Utah Worksite Wellness Council Conference
March 2-3, 2016
Utah Valley University
For more information and to register, go to: http://www.utahworksitewellness.org/

Utah Public Health Conference
April 11-13, 2016
100th Anniversary Gala will be on the evening of April 11
Sheraton Hotel, Salt Lake City
More information can be found at: http://upha.org/conference/

UPHA 100 years

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