2019 National Survey of Children’s Health Data

The Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau released the latest data from the 2019 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) on October 5. The NSCH provides annual, national and state-level data on the health and health care needs of children, as well as information about their families and communities. The NSCH covers a broad array of health-related topics impacting children and families such as mental and behavioral health.

The survey data reveals that 13.2 percent of children aged 3-17 years in the U.S. (about 8 million children) had a current diagnosed mental or behavioral health condition. The most common condition was anxiety, which affected 8.5 percent of children, followed by behavior disorder at 6.8 percent and depression at 3.8 percent.

The data also shows that 66.5 percent of children aged 6-17 years met all criteria for flourishing, a term describing children who have positive health and are thriving.

Learn more about the 2019 National Survey of Children’s Health data and how it can provide information for program and policy decision-making, implementation, and evaluation.

HRSA Releases 2019-2020 Report on Health Equity: Special Feature on Housing and Health Inequalities

October 14, 2020

The Health Resources and Services Administration, through the agency’s Office of Health Equity, released the HRSA 2019-2020 Health Equity Report: Special Feature on Housing and Health Inequalities. The report indicates substantial progress has been made nationally for all Americans in vital indicators including life expectancy, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and influenza and pneumonia; while health inequities between population groups and geographic areas persist.

The report will help HRSA and others build upon the agency’s mission to improve health outcomes and address health disparities through access to quality services, a skilled health workforce and innovative, high-value programs.

“This remarkably comprehensive report captures a vast range of data on a wide array of health indicators which will help scholars and policy makers track and gauge our nation’s progress to improve the health and well-being of all Americans,” said HRSA Administrator Tom Engels. “HRSA is committed to continuing this research in order to build upon its efforts to build a healthier and more equitable future for all.”

Read the release.

New Brief: Supporting CAHs during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Summary Results of a Survey of State Flex Coordinators

This policy brief summarizes key findings from a survey of State Flex Programs conducted by the Flex Monitoring Team. The survey collected information on:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs);
  • Support requested by CAHs from State Flex Programs;
  • How State Flex Programs are working to support CAHs during the pandemic;
  • Promising strategies develop by State Flex Programs to support CAHs; and
  • The technical assistance and resources needed by State Flex Programs to support CAHs now and as we emerge from the pandemic.

State Flex Programs have played an important role in addressing the evolving COVID-19 needs of their CAHs and will continue to do so as we emerge from the pandemic. The brief also contains a link to a list of COVID-19 related resources for State Flex Programs, CAHs, and rural communities.

Click to view Policy Brief.

Please contact john.gale@maine.edu for further information on this survey.

New Brief: Addressing Opioid Use in Rural Communities

The opioid epidemic continues to have a devastating impact in rural areas disproportionately affected by a lack of infrastructure to provide treatment for opioid use disorders (OUDs). Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), often the hubs of local systems of care, can play an important role in addressing OUDs. Using a substance use framework developed for the Flex Monitoring Team’s earlier study of CAH substance use strategies, this brief highlights strategies adopted by CAHs to combat opioid use in their communities. It also identifies resources that State Flex Programs can use to support CAHs with this challenging population health issue.

The report may accessed via on the Flex Monitoring Team website.

Study Sheds Light on Regional Differences in Infant Mortality Among Black Americans

Infant mortality rates in the USA are highest among Black Americans, yet there are considerable differences between regions of the country. Infant mortality among Blacks is highest in the Midwest and lowest in the West and Northeast. To examine the state and county-level factors that might explain these patterns, researcher Ashley Hirai of MCHB collaborated on a study published in PLOS ONE that was led by Veni Kandasamy, a former HRSA fellow now at John Hopkins University.

The study looked at many factors. When taken together, those factors explained one-third of the regional differences. Factors that “protected” Black infants—or in other words, were associated with lower infant mortality—included: being born in a state with higher levels of Black-White marriage rates (proxy for social integration); being born in a state with higher maternal and child health funding per capita; and, being born in a county with higher levels of Black household income.

To learn more, find the full article in PLOS ONE or contact Ashley Hirai.