The work of the National Consumers League is making a difference in people’s lives across the country. Meet some of the consumers touched by our programs.
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Preventing yet another victim
Paige, 55, a Nashville wife and mother of two, answered an employment ad for secret shoppers. Before sending payment to the scammers, she reached out to NCL.
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Building a stronger generation
A grease fire flared up in Decklan’s kitchen. As his family scrambled and panicked, fearing that the whole house might erupt in flames, Decklan remained calm. He hurried over to the pantry, grabbed some baking soda, and dumped it on the fire quickly extinguishing the blaze.
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Script Your Future saved my life
Cincinnati resident Charles, 45, lost his computer business — and health insurance— during a time of economic downturn. A diabetic, Charles was now unable to afford his medication. He stopped taking it which made him seriously ill and put his life at risk.
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For a safer workplace
Jeremy is a fast-food worker who has been employed at a number of Chipotle restaurants in New York City. When he was just 20 years old, he took part in an NCL research project that revealed that management practices within the fast food chain were putting workers—and food safety for customers—at risk.
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Updates from our Members
America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)
Health insurance providers helped vaccinate more than 2 million seniors against COVID-19 in under 100 days as a result of the Vaccine Community Connectors (VCC) program. The VCC program is a public-private partnership including more than 50 health insurance providers which was initiated to encourage the vaccination of people over the age of 65 in socially vulnerable communities. In a recent USA Today op-ed, AHIP CEO Matt Eyles and Humana CEO Bruce Broussard discussed lessons learned from the VCC campaign and highlighted the need to focus on and overcome social barriers to health care to improve health equity.
AHIP continues to encourage consumers to enroll in health coverage through the current Marketplace Special Enrollment Period (SEP), which runs through August 15th. In a recent blog post co-authored by Kelley Schultz, Executive Director of Commercial Policy for AHIP and Jeanette Contreras, Director of Health Policy for the National Consumers League, AHIP and NCL highlighted the expanded financial assistance that the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 made available during the current SEP. Thanks to this legislation, 3.7 million Americans are now eligible for financial assistance to make premiums more affordable, including people who didn’t qualify for financial assistance before. This blog follows previous AHIP SEP resources for consumers including an SEP Decision Tree, as well as a blog post and factsheet on navigating the SEP.
The Coalition Against Surprise Medical Bills, of which AHIP is a founding member, released a statement in response to the Biden Administrations’ Interim Final Rule, applauding the Administration’s desire to fully protect patients and its reinforcement of the patient protections in the No Surprises Act. The Coalition also urged the Administration to reinforce the importance of the qualified payment amount for final payment determinations, and limit potential abuse and misuse of arbitration by out-of-network providers and private equity firms.
To learn more about AHIP or health insurance providers’ actions to encourage Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, guide consumers during the SEP, and protect patients from surprise medical bills, and contact Nicole Eynard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)
Here’s an update from the team at BIO – a link to a recent op/ed BIO’s CEO, Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath penned along with Linda Goler Blount, President and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative. The publication explores strategies to encourage vaccine acceptance and uptake in Black communities by leveraging the unique position Black women hold in their communities to foster trust and vaccine confidence. To read the op-ed, click here
CDC PROTECT | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Please mark your calendars for the 14th annual meeting of the PROTECT Initiative (PRevention of Overdoses and Treatment Errors in Children Taskforce) which is currently scheduled for November 4-5, 2021. The PROTECT meeting provides a forum for reviewing new data, sharing updates on progress, and identifying priority action items for reducing medication exposures and other overdoses among young children. Additional details about the meeting will be shared in the coming months. For more information about the PROTECT Initiative please visit: www.cdc.gov/medicationsafety/protect/protect_initiative.html or contact Jennifer Lind (email@example.com).
Consumers for Quality Care (CQC)
Consumers for Quality Care (CQC) and 17 patient and consumer advocacy groups, including the National Consumers League, sent a letter to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure calling for swift action to address policy and regulatory concerns to improve access to affordable, quality care for all Americans. The letter raises concerns around disturbing trends in insurer coverage denials of emergency room visits later deemed non-urgent, junk insurance plans that offer inadequate coverage, and harmful co-pay accumulator adjustment programs. The letter also calls for the continuance of telehealth visit coverage by insurers and pushes for HHS and CMS to improve Medicaid access by removing harmful provisions granted through the waiver process limiting quality, affordable coverage. Read the full letter here.
Deterra Drug Deactivation and Disposal System
More than 93,000 drug overdose deaths were reported in 2020 – a nearly 30% increase from 2019. These numbers have brought a renewed focus on America’s opioid crisis and the need for evidence-based prevention solutions. Healthcare providers play an essential role in reducing the number of opioids available for misuse through prescribing guidelines and by educating patients about the importance of proper disposal of unused medication.
Twin Cities Orthopedics, the Midwest’s largest orthopedic-physician group, has doubled the safe disposal behavior of patients by providing them with the Deterra® Drug Deactivation and Disposal System, a safe at-home medication disposal system that renders drugs inert and safe to discard in the household trash. In addition, the inclusion of a tangible, at-home disposal resource has resulted in higher reported patient satisfaction levels and lower reported pain levels. A case study detailing how Twin Cities Orthopedics is using Deterra to educate and protect patients is available on DeterraSystem.com.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – Office of Women’s Health
The FDA Office of Women’s Health held a webinar on May 20 to discuss COVID-19 vaccines and their use in women. The webcast recording can be viewed here.
In honor of Fibroid Awareness Month in July 2021, The FDA Office of Women’s Health (OWH) worked to bring broader awareness to this common yet often under discussed health condition.
OWH welcomed Dr. Erica Marsh, Associate Professor and Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, and Infertility in the Department of OBGYN at the University of Michigan as the featured scientific seminar series speaker. Dr. Marsh presented a very informative seminar to FDA highlighting not only the severe physical outcomes, but also the serious emotional and psychosocial consequences that can impact women suffering from uterine fibroids. Staff from OWH also shared their personal journeys with uterine fibroids in the July blog post.
Throughout the month of August, our office will be focused on giving women the tools and information to help them #KHOWHmore about the benefits of breastfeeding, how to safely handle breast milk, and more in honor of National Breastfeeding Month. Attached, please find social media sample messages you can share with associated graphics you can download here. You can also find a dedicated blog post on our website at www.fda.gov/OWHblog.
FDA OWH also hosted a Twitter FAQ on Wednesday, August 11 at 1pm ET, where we provided answers to commonly asked questions through the @FDAWomen Twitter account. Join the conversation by using #KHOWHmore and #NationalBreastfeedingMonth.
Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA)
In June, the Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) sponsored the Milken Institute’s 2021 Future of Health Summit. As part of the event, HDA President and CEO Chip Davis participated in a panel discussion entitled, “Medical Supply Chains During the Pandemic: Lessons Learned & Best Practices”.
The discussion, moderated by STAT’s Nicholas Florko, focused on COVID-19’s impact on the pharmaceutical supply chain and what must be done to prepare for future emergencies. Additional panelists included Dr. Nicolette Louissaint, Executive Director at Healthcare Ready; Bill Peacock, Chief of Operations at Cleveland Clinic; and Matthew Wilson, Senior Partner at McKinsey. Watch a recording of the full panel discussion here.
This year’s Future of Health Summit featured insightful policy discussions on a variety of issues that are shaping healthcare in our country. You can explore and access other sessions here.
For additional information about HDA and the value the distribution industry brings to its supply chain partners, providers, communities and ultimately patients, visit: HealthDelivered.org.
Hepatitis B Foundation
On August 11, the Hepatitis B Foundation hosted a webinar to discuss the cost-effectiveness of a one-time universal screening for chronic hepatitis B infection among adults in the United States. Despite CDC and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations to screen adults at high risk for infection that have been in place for over a decade, a significant majority of people (~65-75%) remain undiagnosed. Dr. Mehlika Toy from the Asian Liver Center at Stanford University School of Medicine will provide a background on current screening practice, barriers and challenges and discuss results of a study to assess the economic and public health impact of a one-time universal screening of the general adult population for chronic hepatitis B infection in the U.S.
July 28 was World Hepatitis Day! To recognize the nearly 300 million people around the world who are living with chronic hepatitis B, the Hepatitis B Foundation led a virtual week of advocacy from July 21 to July 28. Advocates were encouraged to complete a list of actions to raise awareness about hepatitis B, highlight its impact around the world, and help drive progress towards elimination. The calls to action included sharing hepatitis B information and resources on social media, reaching out to legislators and government officials to provide them with hepatitis B educational materials, promoting hepatitis B advocacy priorities, and more. You can join our B the Change Advocacy Action Center to continue receive the latest hepatitis B policy/advocacy updates and action alerts!
On a federal level, the Congressional Hepatitis Caucus co-chairs, Representatives Grace Meng (NY-6) and Hank Johnson (GA-4), introduced a resolution recognizing World Hepatitis Day. The resolution is intended to: 1) highlight the global nature of chronic viral hepatitis epidemics; 2) recognize that hepatitis can be prevented and eliminated in part through a comprehensive public education and awareness campaign 3) inform patients about new treatments that are available for hepatitis; and 4) help increase the length and quality of life for people diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections. Additionally, the resolution calls for a robust governmental and public health response, and urges CDC to partner with State and local health departments to increase the rate of hepatitis B adult vaccination and hepatitis C treatment. You can view the resolution here.
The Pill Club
The Pill Club promoted the Special Enrollment Period during the Young Adult Week of Action with an educational blog series and accompanying social media posts as well as influencer activations and paid ads (see screenshot attached). We also engaged our member base directly through a direct email to a subset of members (also attached). We wanted to spread the word about the SEP because getting covered has never been more affordable. The ACA transformed contraceptive access and affordability through the contraceptive mandate, yet far too many people that can benefit from birth control either aren’t covered or pay out of pocket. As a company working to make birth control more convenient, affordable, and accessible, helping educate our members was a no-brainer.