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October 2022

Graphic of the week

Last week, the Health Policy Institute of Ohio released a new Data Snapshot detailing trends in mental health among Ohioans.

Among the data findings in the Snapshot are that while Ohioans receive mental health treatment at rates higher than the U.S., one in four Ohio adults report they did not receive mental health care (as displayed in the graphic above).

The Snapshot also includes data that shows the percent of Ohio adults reporting frequent poor mental days increased 20% from 2011 to 2020 (click for news coverage from Ohio Capital Journal).


The new HPIO Data Snapshot includes visualizations on mental health prevalence and trends in Ohio (frequent poor mental health days and depression), access to mental health care and quality and trends in suicide in Ohio. It also includes a list of resources to improve mental health in Ohio. 

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HPIO resource page informs voters on ballot issue

HPIO has created an online resource page on Issue 1, a statewide ballot initiative that will be decided by voters in the Nov. 8 general election.
Issue 1, if passed, would add language to the Ohio Constitution requiring Ohio courts to consider public safety when setting bail amounts, including the seriousness of the offense, a person’s criminal record, the likelihood a person will return to court and any other factor that the Ohio General Assembly may prescribe. It would also remove the requirement that the procedures for establishing the amount and conditions of bail be determined by the Supreme Court of Ohio.
Since voters are policymakers in the case of a ballot initiative, HPIO created the resource page to make information on Ohio Issue 1 easily accessible. The resource page includes background on the initiative, information on the connections between criminal justice and health, research and analysis of Issue 1 and media coverage of the issue. The page also includes position statements from both proponents and opponents of the initiative.
HPIO’s recently released policy brief “Connections between Criminal Justice and Health: Pretrial Incarceration and the Bail System” includes research that indicates that money bail negatively affects the health, safety and well-being of incarcerated people, their families and their communities. Poor jail conditions, such as overcrowding, lack of sanitation and inadequate nutrition, contribute to poor health among people in jail, and pretrial incarceration exposes more people to these effects.

Cancer rates continue decline in U.S., new study finds

Overall U.S. cancer death rates continue to drop among men, women, children, teens and young adults, according to a report released Thursday (Source: “US cancer death rates across all age groups continue on downward trend, new study shows,” USA Today, Oct. 27).
The American Cancer Society’s Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer showed a decline in every major ethnic and racial group from 2015 to 2019. The findings are based on pre-COVID-19 pandemic data.
Lung cancer and melanoma deaths decreased the most for adults among cancers with declining death rates, according to the new report. 
Earlier this year, HPIO released a Data Snapshot on death trends among working-age Ohioans and found that cancer is the only leading cause of death that decreased since 2007 to 2021 for Ohioans ages 15 to 64.

CDC data shows people of color less likely to receive Paxlovid, other COVID treatments

People of color with a COVID-19 diagnosis were much less likely to receive Paxlovid and other treatments than white patients, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (Source: “CDC data: People of color much less likely to receive Paxlovid, other COVID treatments,” The Hill, Oct. 27).
The CDC findings are consistent across all age groups and underscore the persistent disparities surrounding access to COVID-19 treatments, especially the antiviral pill Paxlovid. Paxlovid is the most commonly prescribed medication and the preferred outpatient therapeutic for eligible patients, according to the CDC.
During a four-month period from April to July 2022, Paxlovid treatment was 36% lower among Black patients relative to white patients and 30% lower among Hispanic patients relative to non-Hispanic patients, according to the study.

HPIO Data Snapshot details mental health trends in Ohio


The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released a new Data Snapshot detailing trends in mental health among Ohioans.

Ohio does relatively well compared to other states in providing care to those with mental health challenges, according to HPIO’s 2021 Health Value Dashboard.
However, the number of Ohioans reporting depression is higher than the national average. Additionally, the percent of Ohioans reporting poor mental health (as displayed in the graphic above) and the number of suicides in the state are increasing. Like other areas of health, data show that access to care is necessary, but not sufficient, to address the root causes of the mental health challenges facing many Ohioans.
The new HPIO Data Snapshot includes visualizations on mental health prevalence and trends in Ohio (frequent poor mental health days and depression), access to mental health care and quality and trends in suicide in Ohio. It also includes a list of resources to improve mental health in Ohio.

Medicare mulls adding limited dental benefits

Proposed changes in Medicare rules could soon pave the way for a significant expansion in Medicare-covered dental services, while falling short of the comprehensive benefits that many Democratic lawmakers have advocated (Source: “After Congress fails to add dental coverage, Medicare weighs limited benefit expansion,” Kaiser Health News via Ohio Capital Journal, Oct. 18, 2022).

Under current law, Medicare can pay for limited dental care only if it is medically necessary to safely treat another covered medical condition. In July, officials proposed adding conditions that qualify and sought public comment. Any changes could be announced in November and take effect as soon as January.

The review by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services follows an unsuccessful effort by congressional Democrats to pass comprehensive Medicare dental coverage for all beneficiaries, a move that would require changes in federal law. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) sought in vain to add that to the Democrats’ last major piece of legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed in August. As defeat appeared imminent, consumer and seniors’ advocacy groups along with dozens of lawmakers urged CMS to take independent action.

Early COVID lockdowns not tied to worse mental health, study finds

New research from the American Psychological Association shows that state restrictions and lockdowns imposed during the first six months of the pandemic were not related to worsening mental health (Source: “Study: Early state lockdowns not tied to worse mental health,” CIDRAP News Scan, Oct. 18).

The study, published in Health Psychology, was based on data collected from a survey of more than 6,500 participants at the start of the pandemic from March 18 to April 18, 2020, and answers were compared with the same survey given to 5,600 of the same participants about 6 months later: from Sept. 26 to Oct. 16, 2020.

Though loneliness and symptoms of distress increased for participants during the first six months of the pandemic, those feelings were not related to state lockdowns, and instead were correlated with knowing someone who had the virus, and consuming pandemic-related media, researchers found.

"There were robust significant relationships between personal direct experiences with the pandemic—that is, knowing someone who got very sick or died or getting sick oneself—and increased global distress, loneliness, and traumatic stress symptoms," the authors concluded.

Study: Cannabis use rising sharply among young adults

More than two-fifths of young men and women nationwide now use cannabis at least on occasion, according to federal data released this week (Source: “Marijuana use is becoming a new normal among young adults,” The Hill, Oct. 18, 2022).

The federal study, which was conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and funded by NIDA, part of the National Institutes of Health, found that much of the trend is driven by young women, who have all but closed a decades-long gender gap in cannabis use.   

Already, 19 states and the District of Columbia have recreational cannabis laws on the books. Five more states are poised to join the recreational cannabis movement after the midterms. Should all five measures pass, “legalization would be the law for an estimated 49% of the U.S. population,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, in an email interview. 

Last December, HPIO released a policy brief titled Alcohol, Tobacco and Health: Implications for Future Cannabis Policy that lays the groundwork for future cannabis policy discussions in Ohio by applying lessons learned from tobacco and alcohol to inform equitable and effective cannabis regulation in the future.

Graphic of the week


New analysis from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, conducted as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, found that Ohio children are more likely to witness domestic violence than children in the U.S. overall.

In 2020, the most recent year for which data is available, 6.9% of Ohio children witnessed domestic violence, compared to the national average of 5.4% (as displayed in the graphic above). That percentage translates to an estimate of more than 171,000 Ohio children having witnessed domestic violence in their home, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health.

Earlier this week, the Ohio Domestic Violence Network reported that 131 people died from domestic violence in the year ending June 30, 2021. That is a 20% increase in fatalities from the year before and a 62% increase from two years prior.

Witnessing domestic violence is an adverse childhood experience (ACE) that can cause long-lasting harms that persist throughout life. For more information on ACEs and evidence-informed strategies to prevent them, visit HPIO’s Ohio ACEs Impact Project.
Help and resources are available for victims of domestic violence. The Ohio Domestic Violence Network has a help line at 1-800-934-9840 and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has an anonymous 24/7 helpline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). The OhioHealth Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio also provides advocacy and emotional support services.

Ohio bill aims to boost mental health workforce

As the demand for mental health services grows — and with many psychologists aging and near retirement — Ohio lawmakers are sponsoring a bill aimed at increasing the number of mental health care providers (Source: “Ohio lawmakers propose a new way to increase the number of mental health providers,” Statehouse News Bureau, Oct. 13).

State Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) said her bill would create more access to mental health professionals by allowing colleges to offer specialized master's degrees.

"It creates a new licensed professional in the state of Ohio who has the ability to prescribe and work under the supervision of a medical professional and just creates greater access for individuals in need of mental health services," Gavarone said.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness in Ohio estimates one in five people experience mental illness each year. Many times, people who need help for a mental health problem cannot get in to see a provider because there aren’t enough of them. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services shows between 2013 and 2019, there was a 353% increase in demand for mental health services.

Gavarone said she doesn’t expect this bill to be taken up before the end of this year but added she wants lawmakers to start considering the proposal soon.