Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


NIH Finds 18 Percent of Adults Experience Notable Pain

There are 40 million adults in the United States who have reported experiencing a high level of pain, according to a new analysis from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The data is drawn from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 18 percent of adults who reported experiencing severe levels of pain were found to be more likely to have a worse health status, use more health care, and suffer from more disability than those with less severe pain. In addition, an estimated 25.3 million people – 11.2 percent of the adult population – reported feeling pain every day for the three months preceding their response, while 126 million adults -- 55.6 percent – reported some type of pain in the three months prior to the survey. These findings are significant as policymakers work to address the epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse. In his fiscal year 2016 budget, the President requested $100 million to reduce opioid and heroin use.

Pew Examines the Doctor Shortage Across the Country

Last week, Pew Charitable Trusts published an in depth examination of the shortage of state medical residency programs. This shortage can force graduating doctors to leave the state in which they studied, even if they would prefer to stay and practice medicine. This issue is especially prevalent in states like Iowa, Missouri, and Tennessee, because they graduate more medical students than they have residency slots. Larger states like New York, California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, however, tend to train more residents than they graduate. The research focuses on the importance of not only supporting medical schools, but also investing in residency programs in order to increase the numbers of doctors practicing within a state’s borders.

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