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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

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UMD Study Finds Connecting Uninsured Patients to Primary Care Could Reduce ER Use

May 6, 2015
Contacts: 

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418
Hillery Tsumba 301-628-3425

Montgomery County, Md. Initiative Could Improve Health, Reduce Costs

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – An intervention to connect low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to a reliable source of primary health care shows promise for reducing avoidable use of hospital emergency departments in Maryland. A University of Maryland School of Public Health study evaluating the results of the intervention was published this week in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs

For twenty years, use of hospital emergency departments has been on the rise in the United States, particularly among low-income patients who face barriers to accessing health care outside of hospitals, including not having an identifiable primary health care provider. Almost half of emergency room visits are considered “avoidable.” The Emergency Department-Primary Care Connect Initiative of the Primary Care Coalition, which ran from 2009 through 2011, linked low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to safety-net health clinics. 

“Our study found that uninsured patients with chronic health issues – such as those suffering from hypertension, diabetes, asthma, COPD, congestive heart failure, depression or anxiety – relied less on the emergency department after they were linked to a local health clinic for ongoing care,” says Dr. Karoline Mortensen, assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and senior researcher. “Connecting patients to primary care and expanding the availability of these safety-net clinics could reduce emergency department visits and provide better continuity of care for vulnerable populations.”  

Funded by a grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the initiative engaged all five of the hospitals operating in Montgomery County, Maryland at the time, and four safety-net clinics serving low-income patients. Using “patient navigators,” individuals trained to help patients find the care they need and can afford, these hospitals referred more than 10,000 low-income, uninsured and Medicaid patients who visited emergency departments to four local primary care clinics, with the goal of encouraging them to establish an ongoing relationship with the clinic and reduce their reliance on costly emergency department care. 

Two hospitals in Montgomery County who participated in the intervention continued the program after the initial grant period concluded because of the benefits they saw for patients and for reducing emergency department visits and associated costs. These hospitals are currently testing a new version of the intervention specifically deigned to link emergency department patients with behavioral health conditions to appropriate community-based services. 

While hospital administrators and health policy experts throughout the country are recognizing that access to primary care improves continuity of care for patients and reduces avoidable use of emergency departments, the implications of this project are particularly important for hospitals in Maryland, which are now operating under a unique all-payer model for hospital payments. Within this new payment structure, Maryland hospitals will have to meet ambitious spending, quality of care, and population health goals. Reducing avoidable use of emergency departments can help in reaching these goals.

The project provides promise not only for hospitals in Maryland but throughout the nation to improve health care experiences and outcomes for their patients. Shared learning systems were an integral component of the project so participants were learning from each other and sharing best practices throughout the project and that learning has now been documented and can be replicated in other communities.

“This was an incredibly rewarding project to work on,” says Barbara H. Eldridge, Manager of Quality Improvement at the Primary Care Coalition. “We created a learning system that permits us to sustain improved communication between patients and their providers, between hospital discharge planners and community based clinics, and across five hospitals operating in Montgomery County.” The initiative has proven successful in Montgomery County, Maryland and is being replicated in communities in other parts of the country. 

“Linking Uninsured Patients Treated In The Emergency Department To Primary Care Shows Some Promise In Maryland” was written by Theresa Y. Kim, Karoline Mortensen, and Barbara Eldridge and published in the journal Health Affairs

University Launches Dynamic, Interactive Information Website UMD Right Now

December 4, 2012
Contacts: 

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618 crystalb@umd.edu

College Park, Md. – Today, the University of Maryland launched a brand-new multimedia news and information portal, UMD Right Now, which provides members of the media and the public with real-time information on the university and its extended community.

UMD Right Now replaces Newsdesk, which previously served as the university’s news hub and central resource for members of the media. The new site is aimed at reaching broader audiences and allows visitors to keep up with the latest Maryland news and events, view photos and videos and connect with the university across all of its social media platforms.

“We designed UMD Right Now to be a comprehensive, vibrant site where visitors can find new and exciting things happening at Maryland,” said Linda Martin, executive director, Web and New Media Strategies. “Through social media, video, photos and news information, we hope to engage visitors and compel the community to explore all that Maryland has to offer.”

The new website, umdrightnow.umd.edu, contains up-to-date news releases and announcements, facts and figures about the university, a searchable database of faculty and staff experts, information highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship at UMD, additional resources for news media and other campus and athletics news.

“UMD RightNow is the place to go to find out all the things happening on and around campus on any given day,” said Crystal Brown, chief communications officer. “This website brings real-time news, events and information right to your fingertips.”

For more information and contact information for the Office of University Communications, please visit umdrightnow.umd.edu.

UMD Study Finds Parental Perceptions of Neighborhood Environments Affect Children's Active Play

May 26, 2016
Contacts: 

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A University of Maryland study found that parental perceptions of the home neighborhood environment were linked to how physically active their children were on a daily basis.

Dr. Jennifer Roberts, assistant professor in the Department of KinesiologyThe Built Environment and Active Play (BEAP) Study was published in Preventive Medicine Reports and led by Dr. Jennifer Roberts, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology. Dr. Roberts and her team surveyed the parents of 144 children, ages seven to 12 years old in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to gauge perception of their home neighborhood built environment, including local aesthetics, active play areas, walkability and safety. Parents also provided information about their children’s active play levels, in order to determine whether or not they met the 60-minute/day Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans’ (PAGA) recommendation, as well as demographic information.

Parents who identified their neighborhood as having features that promoted physical activity, such as sidewalks or lighting to walk at night, were more likely to have children that met the PAGA guideline. Parents who estimated shorter walking distances between their homes and nearby destinations, such as an outdoor swimming pool or a trail, were also more likely to have active children.

“Our study adds to the evidence that built environments, including neighborhood amenities and facilities, influences children’s physical activity levels,” Dr. Roberts said.  

Other factors of the built environment were determined to predict the level of active play; for example, parents who disagreed with the statement, “There is a lot of litter on the streets,” were more likely to have children who met the active play guideline. Interestingly, the BEAP Study found that active children’s parents were more likely to report a high crime rate and being victim of a crime; the researchers posited that this may be due to such parents being outdoors more often. Another explanation may be that parents use precautionary measures so that a high crime rate in the neighborhood does not deter physical activity.

“By examining a diverse population of children (23.7 percent African American and 10.4 percent Asian American), this study brings to light the perceptions of parents from an otherwise underrepresented group of research participants in built environment and active play research,” Dr. Roberts added.

The research team recommends future studies that collect both subjective and objective built environment and physical activity data to further understand the relationship between the local environment and children’s active play.

UMD, The Phillips Collection Present Summer 2016 "Intersections" Project by Bettina Pousttchi

May 25, 2016
Contacts: 

Graham Binder, University of Maryland, 301-405-4076
Elizabeth Lubben, The Phillips Collection, 202-387-2151 x235
Amanda Hunter, The Phillips Collection, 202-387-2151 x243

COLLEGE PARK, Md. and WASHINGTON, D.C. — This summer, the University of Maryland and The Phillips Collection will present their next installment of the Intersections exhibition series that highlights contemporary art and artists in conversation with the museum’s permanent collection, history, and architecture. The University of Maryland is the primary presenter of all Intersections exhibits at the Phillips Gallery, a major component of the vibrant partnership between both institutions to transform scholarship and innovation in the arts.

This Intersections installment will feature the work of German artist Bettina Pousttchi titled Double Monuments, which addresses the history and memory of architecture. 

Through photography and sculpture, Pousttchi is interested in altering architectural buildings and monuments as indicators of the past and media of remembrance. In her series Double Monuments for Flavin and Tatlin (2010–2016), Pousttchi transforms the constraining materials of rails, street barricades, and metal crowd barriers into sculptural forms with spiraling vertical towers and neon light tubes. These “double monuments” reference the work of Russian Constructivist sculptor-architect Vladimir Tatlin from the 1920s and American minimalist artist Dan Flavin from the 1960s. 

Five Double Monuments, ranging from 5 to 12 feet, will be on view at the Phillips, dramatically illuminating the space with neon lights. The sculptures will be paired with works from the permanent collection including Naum Gabo’s Linear Structure in Space No. 1 (1943), and black and white photographs from the 1930s and 1940s by Berenice Abbott, Louis Faurer, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Gjon Mill, and Brett Weston—images that underline the theme of illuminated space presented in Pousttchi and Gabo’s works.

Best known for his architectural sculptures that emphasize translucency and suggest skyscrapers and industrial settings, Gabo creates work with a strong kinship to Russian constructivism, a movement which sought to overcome the static aspect of traditional sculpture, and activate the surrounding space. Just as Gabo used glass, metal, and plastic to create fluid, almost transparent sculptures that emphasizes space, line, and movement, Pousttchi employs materials such as neon and powder-coated objects to create installations that address both sculptural form and architectural setting. 

Born in Mainz, Germany, in 1971, Bettina Pousttchi is a Berlin-based artist working in photography, video, and sculpture. She studied at the Kunstackademie Düsseldorf and participated in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York from 1999–2000. Pousttchi’s work has been displayed throughout Europe, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Köln, and London. She held her first U.S. solo exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas, in 2014.

Double Monuments is on view June 9–October 2, 2016.

INTERSECTIONS AT THE PHILLIPS

Inaugurated in 2009 and led by Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Vesela Sretenović, the Phillips’s Intersections series has invited more than 21 artists from the US and abroad to engage with the museum’s collection and architecture. The artists have created diverse projects—both aesthetically and conceptually—and employed various media, from wall-drawing, rubber-painting, and digital photography to video projection and yarn installation. 

Intersections is presented by the University of Maryland. 

Additional support is provided by Phillips Collectors Forum members. 

Statement on Courtyards Incident on May 21, 2016

May 21, 2016

This statement is in response to an incident that occurred on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at The Courtyards at the University of Maryland:

Reviewing this incident swiftly and fairly is of great importance to the university and for me personally. I met with the University of Maryland Chief of Police earlier today and reviewed video footage of the incident at police headquarters. I continue to expect a comprehensive report in the days ahead, and I remain committed to a process that is transparent and just for everyone involved.

Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland

Building a Greater College Park Together

May 20, 2016

The University of Maryland is working with partners to create the modern land-grant university. Research and industry in lockstep. Public and private enterprise working in close collaboration. An academic and economic engine for our region and our nation.

ACA Coverage for Young Adults Eases Financial Burden Related to Behavioral Health

May 20, 2016
Contacts: 

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418 

Young adults who benefited from the the ACA’s dependent coverage expansion for behavioral health were 45 percent less likely to encounter catastrophic health expenses.COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A new study by University of Maryland School of Public Health researchers and colleagues is the first to show the financial impact of the Affordable Care Act on young adults who access mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Young adults may remain on their family’s health plans until they turn 26, under the extended eligibility coverage provided since 2010 by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the nation’s health care law known commonly as “Obamacare.” The Maryland study found that this coverage has significantly reduced out-of-pocket costs for adults aged 19 to 25 seeking behavioral health care, and that the reduction was most significant among young adults from racial and ethnic minority groups. This improved access to care is important, given the low incomes, high debt burden and mental health needs that characterize this age group. The research findings were published May 16, 2016 in the journal Psychiatric Services.

“Our study is the first to show how the ACA has helped protect young adults from undue financial burdens of out-of-pocket health costs, and allowed them to use mental health services when they need them,” says Dr. Jie Chen, assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and an author of the study.

“Young Latinos, African Americans and those from other racial and ethnic minorities saw the greatest reduction in out-of-pocket medical expenses related to behavioral health. This outcome is encouraging because minorities typically experience higher unemployment rates and lower salaries and are less likely to seek out and use behavioral health services.”

The “dependent coverage provision” of the ACA has reduced the number of uninsured young adults by at least three million, and the expansion of health care access is also expected to increase the number of users of mental health and substance abuse treatment services, study authors explain. As behavioral health conditions often emerge for the first time during this age range (19-25) and because this age group has a higher rate of serious mental illness than other adults (according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness), improving affordable access to care could make a significant contribution to improving mental health and reducing their share of medical debt.

Researchers analyzed nationally representative data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey from 2008-2009 (before the ACA implementation) and 2011-2012 (after the ACA implementation) to estimate the impact of the dependent coverage expansion. Out-of-pocket spending was examined as a share of total health care spending among young adults with behavioral health needs. The young adults who benefited from dependent coverage on behavioral health were approximately 45 percent less likely to encounter catastrophic health expenses (i.e., 75 percent out-of-pocket share of health care costs) under the ACA’s dependent coverage expansion.

The ACA’s Dependent Coverage Expansion and Out-of-Pocket Spending by Young Adults With Behavioral Health Conditions” was written by Mir M. Ali, Ph.D., Jie Chen, Ph.D., Ryan Mutter, Ph.D., Priscilla Novak, M.S., Karoline Mortensen, Ph.D and published in Psychiatric Services.

UMD Researchers Examine Health Care Access for Booming Immigrant Populations on Maryland's Eastern Shore

May 19, 2016
Contacts: 

Sara Gavin 301-405-1733

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Researchers from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland reveal the surprising scope of new immigrant populations living and working along Maryland’s Eastern Shore and raise concerns about how an already overburdened rural health care system is struggling to meet basic needs. 

Assistant Professor and medical anthropologist Thurka Sangaramoorthy, Ph.D., M.P.H.Assistant Professor and medical anthropologist Thurka Sangaramoorthy, Ph.D., M.P.H., and graduate assistant Emilia Guevara conducted interviews with immigrants and health care providers throughout the nine Maryland counties that comprise the state’s Eastern Shore. The research is funded by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Dean’s Research Initiative and was recently featured in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

“I had no idea the level, the variety and the scope of immigration to the Eastern Shore,” Sangaramoorthy said. “There’s virtually no information on immigrants living in the region and frankly it was shocking to find out just how many people there are.”

Through extensive interviews conducted over the course of two years, the research team discovered large groups of men, women and children from Haiti and Latin America attracted to the Eastern Shore largely by unskilled labor opportunities in poultry, seafood and other agricultural industries. Because Maryland’s Eastern Shore has some of the highest poverty levels and worst health indicators in the state and country, Sangaramoorthy and Guevara focused on immigrants’ access to health services and challenges faced by local providers in dealing with the population shift. They found that immigrants were facing multiple barriers to health care—lack of health insurance coverage, high health expenditures, language barriers and non-citizenship status—and that a small, aging group of health and social service workers serving the region is being stretched dangerously thin. 

Workers picking crabs on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

“You’re talking about literally a handful of people who comprise the health safety net of nine counties in Maryland,” Sangaramoorthy said. “I’m constantly thinking about what happens next. What happens when they go?”

As other, rural agriculture-based areas of the country—places without previous concentrations of immigrants—are experiencing similar population surges, Sangaramoorthy and Guevara say more research is needed overall on immigrant health and the effect of immigration on rural health care. The research team will continue their work on Maryland’s Eastern Shore this summer for a third year. 

Pages

May 31
Multi-campus team of researchers, including UMD, to analyze the nation’s fastest-growing racial group. Read
May 26
Study finds parental perceptions of the neighborhood environment are linked to how physically active their children are... Read
May 25
This summer, UMD and The Phillips Collection will present their next installment of the Intersections exhibition series... Read
May 21
This statement is in response to an incident that occurred on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at The Courtyards at the...