Amounts Spent On Health Care By U.S. Households With Employer Insurance

A data brief from the Commonwealth Fund analyzes what individuals in every state spend on premiums and out-of-pocket costs for medications, co-payments, and dental and vision care. 

The data brief can be obtained at

Interoperability Among Office-Based Physicians in 2015 and 2017

According to a data brief from The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, physicians have not made significant progress in data-sharing. The percentage of physicians who sent, received, found, and integrated health data barely grew between 2015 and 2017, going from 9 to 10 percent. Rates were markedly higher for physicians using certified EHRs than for those using non-certified ones, and for those physicians who are part of large practices.  

The data brief can be obtained at

Department of Education Expands College Scorecard

The U.S. Department of Education has announced that they are providing more comprehensive data to their College Scorecard, an online consumer toolkit that originated in the Obama administration. The Department added new information for non-degree granting institutions (those that only award certificates) and is releasing new preliminary loan debt data by individual fields of study. The Scorecard now also includes data on graduation rates for non-first-time and non-full-time students and the percentage of students who transferred or were still enrolled in school. "We committed to students that we would continually improve the College Scorecard so that they could access relevant, accurate and actionable data as they make decisions about their education after high school," said Secretary Betsy DeVos in a statement. "The updates released today are another step in fulfilling that promise. We look forward to seeing how students, parents, institutions and researchers utilize this important information."

More information may be accessed here and here. The College Scorecard website may be accessed here.

Faculty Loan Repayment Program

Today, the Division of Health Careers and Financial Support at HRSA released the 2019 Application and Program Guidance for the Faculty Loan Repayment Program. The application cycle closes on Thursday, June 27, 2019. The Program aims to increase recruitment and retention of faculty from disadvantaged backgrounds by providing loan repayment to those who have an interest in pursuing a career at an eligible health professions school. 

More information about the program can be obtained at

Education And Health: Long-Term Trends By Race, Ethnicity, And Geography

Adults with less education have lower life expectancy, increased risk for chronic conditions, and lower self-reported health status than their more-educated counterparts. A study from the Urban Institute assesses trends in self-reported measures of general health, mental health, activity limitations, and obesity by educational attainment from 1997-2017, using data from the National Health Interview Survey. 

The report can be obtained at

Title VII Reauthorization Bill Introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives

On Friday, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rep. Michal C. Burgess (R-TX) introduced the Educating Medical Professionals and Optimizing Workforce Efficiency and Readiness (EMPOWER) for Health Act of 2019. This bipartisan legislation would reauthorize Title VII HRSA health professions education and training programs from Fiscal Year 2020 through Fiscal Year 2024. Allied health programs are eligible entities for the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Programs (GWEP) and Geriatric Academic Career Awards (GACA). Rep. Burgess urged the Energy and Commerce Committee to consider the legislation soon.

Rep. Schakowsky’s statement:

Rep. Burgess’ statement:

Bill text:

Bill summary:

Addressing Health Professions Burnout

The American Hospital Association (AHA) Physician Alliance today released a resource to help hospital and health system leaders address burnout in their organizations. A Well-Being Playbook highlights seven key steps for success and provides real-world examples of successful interventions deployed in hospital and health system settings, as well as studies and tools others have found effective. 

The Playbook can be obtained at

The Future Of Association Health Plans

The Trump administration made the formation of association health plans (AHPs) — those offered by business or professional associations to their members — a central focus of its health policy agenda by significantly expanding their reach, but a federal court decision made in March found the new rules violate federal tax law. A new To the Point post from the Commonwealth Fund explains the court decision, the administration’s subsequent guidance on AHPs, and what may happen next.  

The post can be obtained at

Health Literacy And The Teach-Back Method

According to the Agency for Healthcare Quality (AHRQ), the percentage of adults whose healthcare providers always initiated the “teach-back” method increased from about 24% in 2011 to 30% in 2015. Teach-back, an evidence-based way of confirming understanding, begins when providers ask patients to describe in their own words what their providers just told them. 

Survey results can be obtained at

Prices Paid To Hospitals By Private Plans And Medicare

A report from the RAND Corporation reveals that in 2017, the prices paid to hospitals by private health plans averaged 241 percent of what Medicare would have paid. Notably, there was wide variation in pricing among both hospitals and states, suggesting that employers have opportunities to redesign their health plans to better align hospital pricing with the value of care provided.  

The report can be obtained at

Understanding Terms And Concepts Pertaining To Social Determinants Of Health

Health care systems and policymakers increasingly are exploring strategies to help address patients’ social circumstances, but there is much confusion around the terms and concepts that pertain to the social determinants of health. A Milbank Quarterly Perspective discusses how greater clarity on key terms and the concepts underlying them could advance policies and practices. 

The Perspective can be obtained at

House Education & Labor Committee Hearing on Higher Education Non-Completion

The House Committee on Education and Labor, Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee held a hearing on “The Cost of Non-Completion: Improving Student Outcomes in Higher Education” in which the Committee discussed barriers to enter postsecondary education and for completion:

  • Food/housing insecurity

  • Nontraditional students who have to work/take care of family

  • Changing majors which can expend Pell

  • Students short by a few hundred dollars, therefore, cannot graduate

  • “Hold-your-spot” enrollment deposit

  • FAFSA verification

Read ASAHP’s full memo here.

Capturing The Patient Experience

An essay from the Rand Corporation discusses how researchers have developed a more effective and reliable way for patients to provide narrative feedback about the care they receive. When the right questions are asked, patients' answers can help health care providers better understand the patient experience and learn how they could improve. 

The essay can be obtained at

Adult Usage Of The Internet

Despite ongoing government and social service programs to encourage internet adoption in underserved areas, according to the Pew Research Center seniors are much more likely than younger adults to not go online. Among individuals ages 65 and older, 27% still do not use the Internet, compared with fewer than 10% of adults under the age of 65. Non-adoption also is linked to other demographic variables, such as educational attainment, household income, and community type. 

The findings can be obtained at

Key Design Components And Considerations For Establishing A Single-Payer Health Care System

A report issued today by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) describes the primary features of single-payer systems and discusses some design considerations and choices that policymakers will face in developing proposals for establishing such a system in the US. 

The report can be obtained at