Previous month:
December 2022
Next month:
February 2023

January 2023

Graphic of the week

In October, HPIO released a 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 percent of Ohioans reporting poor mental health (as displayed in the graphic above) is increasing.
The 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.

HPIO seeking candidates for multiple positions

Join the dedicated and collaborative team at the Health Policy Institute of Ohio in working to ensure that every Ohioan can reach their full health potential. HPIO has opportunities for professionals at various levels of career development. HPIO’s mission is to advance evidence-informed policies that improve health, advance equity, and lead to sustainable healthcare spending.

Full-time positions available are: 

HPIO salaries are competitive and commensurate with experience and expertise. 

Among the reasons current employees love working at HPIO are: 

  • “Working with a small team of dedicated individuals who want to put out the very best products and work together to achieve goals is wonderful.”
  • “No two days are exactly the same at HPIO and we’re always working on new topics and collaborating with new partners.”
  • “Your voice is heard. Every member of HPIO’s staff has a say in the work we do.”

HPIO is an equal opportunity employer that offers a generous benefit package as well as a flexible hybrid work environment. 

To learn more about specific responsibilities and qualifications for the positions listed above, as well as how to apply, visit HPIO’s website.

Please consider sharing this announcement with your network or anyone you know who may be interested.

Newly released data dashboard spotlights health, well-being of Ohio’s young children

Groundwork Ohio, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research, policy and advocacy organization that champions high-quality early learning and healthy development strategies from the prenatal period to age five, released its first Early Childhood Dashboard this week.

Groundwork Ohio contracted with HPIO to facilitate the development of the Dashboard, including compilation and analysis of data. The Dashboard is a comprehensive snapshot of Ohio’s performance on more than 60 key metrics that examine the systems, community conditions and outcomes required to ensure that young children in Ohio are healthy and ready to learn.

“Prioritizing Ohio’s youngest begins with data,” wrote Groundwork Ohio President and CEO Shannon Jones in the introduction to the Dashboard.

Groundwork Ohio describes the Dashboard as a “tool to advance equity and catalyze advocacy and action needed to lay a strong foundation for Ohio kids (prenatal to age 5), families and communities.”

March 31 set for end of Medicaid continuous enrollment, regardless of emergency status

Signing up for Medicaid correctly will once again become an important step for enrollees after a three-year break from paperwork hurdles (Source: “6.8 million expected to lose Medicaid when paperwork hurdles return,” NPR Shots, Jan. 24).

In 2020, the federal government recognized that a pandemic would be a bad time for people to lose access to medical care, so it required states to keep people on Medicaid as long as the country was in a public health emergency. The pandemic continues and so has the public health emergency, most recently renewed on Jan. 11.

But continuous enrollment will end on March 31, no matter what. It was part of the budget bill Congress passed in December 2022. Even if the public health emergency is renewed, states will begin to make people on Medicaid sign up again to renew their coverage. And that means between 5 million and 14 million Americans could lose their Medicaid coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services expects 6.8 million people to lose their coverage even though they are still eligible, based on historical trends looking at paperwork and other administrative hurdles.

In the three pandemic years, the number of Americans on Medicaid and CHIP – the Children's Health Insurance Program – swelled to 90.9 million, an increase of almost 20 million.

Graphic of the week

Last week, HPIO released a new Health Value Dashboard policy brief titled “A closer look at outdoor air pollution and health.” Among the findings in the brief are that Black Ohioans have an almost 1.5 times higher risk of air pollution exposure than white Ohioans, as displayed in the graphic above. Much of that difference can be explained by historic zoning policies and redlining that placed industrial plants and highways closer to predominantly Black neighborhoods and prohibited Black people from living in areas that did not have these sources of pollution near them. These policies increased both past and present risk of exposure to air pollution for Black Ohioans. Similar policy decisions made by federal, state and local officials left Black neighborhoods with less maintenance services (e.g., garbage removal and street cleaning) and without green spaces like parks. Because of these discriminatory policies and their lasting impact, people of color across the U.S. are exposed to higher levels of harmful air pollution regardless of region (i.e., urban or rural areas) or income level.

HPIO will be hosting a 30-minute webinar to highlight findings from the brief on Thursday, Feb. 16. at 1 p.m.  For more details and to register, visit: 

ACA marketplace enrollment reaches record high

The Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace has set an enrollment record with nearly two weeks remaining before the exchange closes for the year (Source: “More people than ever buy insurance on,” National Public Radio, Jan. 13).

Federal officials have reported that nearly 16 million people have enrolled in ACA plans, which is about a million more people than signed up for ACA health insurance last year, with enrollment remaining open until later this month in several states, including California, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

The big reason for the increased enrollment is that the plans are cheaper for people than they used to be. The federal government has pumped billions of dollars in recent years into subsidies to keep costs down for consumers. Health officials say 4 out of 5 enrollees qualify for plans that cost $10 or less per month. And 5 million people who are uninsured qualify for zero dollar premium plans, according to a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Another reason why more people are signing up is likely because there's more logistical help. The Affordable Care Act created a program of "navigators" – people across the country who are trained to help consumers understand their options and get signed up for a health plan. It's a service paid through government grants. The Trump administration slashed the funding for this program. The Biden administration shored it up.

Study: Most research on social determinants of health interventions does not include race data

Less than a third of studies investigating social determinants of health interventions include race and ethnicity in their analyses, and even fewer stratify outcomes by race, a new study found (Source: “Few Studies Assess Social Determinants of Health Intervention by Race,” Patient Engagement HIT, Jan. 20).

According to the study from University of California San Diego Health researchers, the lack of data disaggregated by race stymies any efforts to understand how social determinants of health interventions can address racial health disparities.

“Over the last decade, achieving health equity has been heralded as a key priority for health care delivery organizations,” the researchers wrote in JAMA Network Open. “Achieving health equity requires addressing root causes of health inequities, including inequities in social and structural drivers (determinants) of health.”

New report calls for unified, national wastewater surveillance system

Wastewater surveillance provided valuable public health information during the Covid-19 pandemic and merits “further development and continued investment,” according to a new report released this week (Source: “A New Report Outlines a Vision for National Wastewater Surveillance,” New York Times, Jan. 19).

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report found that, although the pandemic spurred the rapid expansion of wastewater surveillance, the current system sprung up in an ad hoc way, fueled by volunteerism and emergency pandemic-related funding. It is also concentrated in major metropolitan areas, leaving many communities behind.

“The current system is not fully equitable,” Dr. Guy Palmer, a professor of pathology and infectious diseases at Washington State University and chair of the committee that wrote the report, said at a webinar on Thursday.

The challenge now, he said, was to move from this kind of grass roots system to a more standardized, “representative” national system.

The report outlined what such a system might look like, noting that it should be able to track a variety of potential threats, which could include future coronavirus variants, flu viruses, antibiotic resistant bacteria and entirely new pathogens.

HPIO releases new brief on link between outdoor air pollution, health in Ohio

Click to enlarge

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released a new 2021 Health Value Dashboard policy brief titled “A closer look at outdoor air pollution and health.”

Clean air and water, safe places to walk outside and access to healthy food are examples of conditions in the physical environment that affect the health and well-being of Ohioans. Outdoor air quality is included in the 2021 Health Value Dashboard™, where Ohio ranked 46th, meaning that most other states have cleaner outdoor air.

The brief found that there are differences in air pollution exposure from county to county, as illustrated in the graphic above. Hamilton and Cuyahoga counties have the highest levels of PM2.5 air pollution in the state, with high levels also reported across western and central Ohio.

Analysis by HPIO has found that the physical environment (including outdoor air quality) is strongly connected to a state’s overall health, only surpassed by public health and prevention. In fact, analysis of 2021 Dashboard data finds that the physical environment has a much stronger correlation with the overall health of a state than access to care or healthcare system performance.

The policy brief focuses on the importance of clean air and provides additional information on the outdoor air quality metric in the Dashboard, including how:

  • Air pollution affects health outcomes
  • Recent policy changes may affect air pollution
  • Outdoor air quality can be improved in Ohio

CDC: Kindergarten vaccination rate drops for third straight year

Vaccination rates for U.S. kindergarteners dropped last year for the third year in a row, and federal officials are starting a new campaign to try to bring them up (Source: “US kindergarten vaccination rate dropped again, data shows,” Associated Press via Warren Tribune Chronicle, Jan. 12).

Usually, 94% to 95% of kindergarteners are vaccinated against measles, tetanus and certain other diseases. The vaccination rates dropped below 94% in the 2020-2021 school year, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released this week found rates dropped again in the 2021-2022 school year, to about 93%.

The pandemic disrupted vaccinations and other routine health care for children, and also taxed the ability of school administrators and nurses to track which children weren’t up-to-date on shots. CDC officials said decreased confidence in vaccines is another likely contributor.