Panel: Treating hearing loss shouldn’t be a pricey hassle


WASHINGTON (AP) - Treating hearing loss shouldn't be such a pricey hassle. That's the message from a prestigious government advisory group that's calling on Medicare and other agencies to find ways to make better hearing more affordable and accessible for millions of older Americans.

One proposal: Allow over-the-counter sales of simple devices for mild hearing problems as an alternative to full hearing aids - much like consumers with vision problems today choose between drugstore reading glasses or prescription bifocals.

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Panel: Treating hearing loss shouldn’t be a pricey hassle


Press Release: New National Program Measures Public Health Efficiency through Collaboration - See more at:

Topeka, Kan. – The Center for Sharing Public Health Services—a multi-year, multi-million dollar national initiative housed at the Kansas Health Institute (KHI) and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—will begin work this month on a new initiative called the CJS Implementation and Impact Measurement Program. The goal of the initiative—which will examine four groups of health departments around the country—is to measure changes in effectiveness and efficiency that result when two or more jurisdictions, such as counties or cities, collaborate to deliver public health services.

This collaborative approach is called cross-jurisdictional sharing (CJS), and it is one strategy local governments can consider for delivering public health services when faced with decreased funding. By pooling resources, public health departments may be able to enhance services and provide programs that otherwise would not be economically feasible.

As part of the measurement initiative, the Center will work with four groups of health departments which are implementing new CJS arrangements. The Center will help them measure gains in effectiveness and efficiency in their programs. This will reveal changes that result from using a CJS strategy. The four groups of health departments, which were selected through a competitive process, are:

“We are excited to begin working on this new measurement initiative,” explained Gianfranco Pezzino, M.D., M.P.H., senior fellow and strategy team leader at KHI and co-director of the Center. “By studying these four groups of health departments and helping them develop measurement plans, we will demonstrate how CJS can help local governments more effectively deliver public health services.”

The Kansas Health Institute (KHI) delivers credible information and research enabling policy leaders to make informed health policy decisions that enhance their effectiveness as champions for a healthier Kansas. The Kansas Health Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy and research organization based in Topeka that was established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.

Since 2012, the Center for Sharing Public Health Services has served as a national resource on cross-jurisdictional sharing (CJS), building the evidence and producing and disseminating tools, methods and models to assist public health agencies and policymakers as they consider and adopt CJS approaches.

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. We are working with others to build a national Culture of Health enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

New National Program Measures Public Health Efficiency through Collaboration


The Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance has received the coveted Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director’s Award for Excellence in Local Public Health. The award was presented Oct. 7 during Michigan’s Premier Public Health Conference at Crystal Mountain.

The Director’s Award is presented annually by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to local health departments that contribute to a positive outcome in the health status of community residents, demonstrate a spirit of resource sharing and integration, ensure the effectiveness of processes and programs, demonstrate an innovative public health initiative and are replicable in other communities.

"It is an honor for our work to be recognized," said Linda Yaroch, Health Officer for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan and Chair of the Alliance Steering Committee.

Members of the Alliance include Benzie Leelanau District Health Department, District Health Department 2, District Health Department 4, District Health Department 10, Grand Traverse County Health Department, Health Department of Northwest Michigan, McLaren Northern Michigan, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Munson Healthcare, Northern Health Plan, TENCON Health Plan, and the Center for Public Health Practice and Network for Public Health Law at the University of Michigan.

The Alliance is the culmination of a two-year exploration of potential shared services across a 25-county region of Northern Michigan, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In the 12 months since it was organized, its members have launched several initiatives to address pressing needs in the community.

"We’ve shown it makes good sense for health departments, hospitals and other community partners to work together," said Yaroch.

"We’ve raised more than $2 million in grants so far this year by using a regional approach to increase access to health care, including behavioral health services, prevent chronic disease, and prevent and treat substance abuse and tobacco use in Northern Michigan."

Information technology is a top priority among the Alliance’s health departments.

"There are many efficiencies to be achieved in collaborating on purchasing hardware and utilizing common software," Yaroch said.

"These systems provide the foundation for improving patient outcomes and patient experience within the health care system. Real time data will considerably enhance community health assessment too."