CDC Web Site Provides Current Information on West Nile Virus
In response to the growing epidemic of the West Nile virus in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a Web site to provide current and accurate information concerning the West Nile virus. The site, www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile, contains tips on prevention, up-to-date case information, a description of the virus, instructions on how to report dead birds, and links to local and state health agencies. The prevention section discusses ways to prevent mosquito bites and the appropriate use of insect repellent. A Webcast is available of a discussion that occurred on August 8 among infectious disease specialists concerning the West Nile virus. This Webcast, or a written transcript, can be accessed at www.phppo.cdc.gov/PHTN/webcast/westnile. West Nile virus is spread by the bite of mosquitoes and can infect people, horses, many types of birds, and some other animals. Although most people who become infected with the virus will experience no symptoms or only mild ones, this infection can result in a severe and sometimes fatal illness known as West Nile encephalitis.
AHRQ Survey Details Use of Health Care for Chronic Conditions
Results from a survey conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of people in the United States who were at least 18 years of age showed that, by self-report, 10.3 percent have heart disease, 23.0 percent have high blood pressure, 9.1 percent have asthma, and 6.2 percent have diabetes. The results were included in a statistical brief titled Medical Care and Treatment for Chronic Conditions, 2000 and is part of the AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) that annually collects information on health care use, access, health status, and quality from a nationally representative sample of people. The sample includes people living in American households, but does not include people who are serving in active military or who are living in nursing homes, other long-term care facilities, or prisons. In 2000, MEPS was expanded to include the collection of data concerning selected chronic conditions, the preventive services or treatments people with these conditions use, and the quality of health care received by people in the United States. The statistical brief is available on the Web at www.meps.ahrq.gov/papers/st5/stat05.htm, and general information about MEPS is available at www.meps.ahrq.gov.
HHS Approves Nevada Plan to Insure Women with Breast or Cervical Cancer
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson recently approved the state of Nevada’s request to extend Medicaid benefits to uninsured women who are identified as having breast or cervical cancer through a federal screening program. Nevada is the most recent state to use the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act (BCCPT) of 2000, which allows states to expand Medicaid coverage to women with these types of cancer who are younger than 65 and who are without credible health care coverage. HHS has approved this expanded Medicaid eligibility in 44 states. Under this law, women who were screened through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program run by the CDC and found to need treatment for breast or cervical cancer can receive the full Medicaid benefit package for the duration of their cancer treatment. This CDC program was begun in 1990 and has provided more than 3 million breast and cervical cancer screening tests to 1.8 million women. States that extend Medicaid benefits to women under this law receive a federal match of up to 85 percent of the treatment costs. More information about this Medicaid option is available at www.hcfa.gov/medicaid/bccpt. Information about the CDC cancer screening program is available at www.cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/index.htm.
HRSA Grants Almost $49 Million to Improve Health Care Facilities
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently awarded 73 grants totaling $48.9 million to a wide range of hospitals and health care facilities in 31 states to improve their ability to provide high-quality medical care. The health care facilities include children’s hospitals, university medical centers, a substance abuse clinic, an eye institute, county health departments and clinics, a senior center, and several cancer centers. The funds, made available under the HRSA-administered “Health Care and Other Facilities” program, will support a variety of projects, including the purchase of equipment for an open-heart surgery complex in Alaska, a bioenvironmental hazards research building expansion in Colorado, construction of a pediatric intensive care unit in Texas, and equipping a skilled nursing facility in New York. A complete list of the grant recipients is available at the HRSA Web site, www.newsroom.hrsa.gov/NewsBriefs/2002/facilitiesaug.htm.
Officers Elected at the 2002 National Conference
In August, delegates to the National Congress of Family Practice Residents and National Congress of Student Members in Kansas City, Mo., elected the following officers for the coming year: members of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Board of Directors, Michael Coffey, M.D., Somerville, Mass., and Marc Carey, Ph.D., Portland, Ore.; resident National Conference chair, Saria Carter, M.D., Davie, Fla.; student National Conference chair, Christina Sinar, Columbus, Ohio; alternate delegates to AAFP Congress, Chris Lupold, M.D., East Earl, Pa., Carla Ainsworth, M.D., M.P.H., Seattle, Gerard Stanley, Jr., Omaha, Neb., and Tarayn Grizzard, Boston; representatives to the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine (STFM) Board of Directors, Juliette van Putten, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Columbus, Ohio, and Melissa Beagle, Hershey, Pa.; national family medicine interest group coordinator, Daniel Lewis, Hampton, Tenn.; and observer to the Association of Family Practice Residency Directors Board of Directors, Drew Keister, Waldorf, Md.