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Overweight and Obesity

Overweight and Obesity

Obesity plays a significant role in health and healthcare, with studies showing that obesity increases a person’s chances of chronic disease, including high blood
pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Studies have also shown that African American men and women have the highest rates of obesity among U.S. racial/ethnic groups.

When taking a holistic view of health equity, though, it is important to look at the root causes of an issue, as well as the fruits that are produced. For example, African Americans often have less access to healthy food than their counterparts in other racial/ethnic groups. In particular, neighborhoods that are considered “food deserts,” or areas with little to no healthy food options, are disproportionately likely to have large African American and Hispanic populations.

From a health equity standpoint, therefore, addressing obesity and its health risks requires that we also address issues like food access by providing Black and Hispanic communities with affordable, accessible, and healthy food options. Because advancing health equity is not just a matter of treating the “sickness,” but also treating the underlying factors that produced it.


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Study Finds Widespread Support for Tackling Health Disparities by Addressing Social Determinants of Health

A recent study coauthored by Econometrica’s Health Director, Dr. Kristie McNealy, found that there is widespread support among researchers for efforts that attempt to reduce health disparities by using a multilevel approach to address the social conditions that help drive those disparities.

In particular, the study focused on what is currently known about multilevel diabetes prevention and treatment interventions for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) and First Nations people in the United States and Canada. Diabetes is a significant issue among AI/AN and First Nations people, who have a higher prevalence of diabetes than any other racial or ethnic group, as well as higher rates of comorbidities and complications such as hypertension and cerebrovascular disease.

Such health disparities are often connected to “social determinants of health,” or the conditions of the environment where a person or group lives—such as access to housing or healthcare—that affect their health, functioning, and quality of life. For example, AI/AN and First Nations people experience a range of significant inequities, including lower graduation rates, higher poverty rates, and decreased access to healthcare, that undermine their health and contribute to higher rates of diseases like diabetes.

Multilevel interventions aim to prevent and/or treat chronic diseases related to social determinants of health by mobilizing support at many levels, from the individual to the policy level. The study’s authors identified 10 multilevel diabetes prevention and/or treatment interventions specifically aimed at AI/AN and First Nations people:

  • All 10 interventions focused on diabetes prevention.
  • Eight interventions were specifically focused on youth.
  • Multilevel design elements were largely individual-, school-, and community-based.
  • Three interventions also included environmental- or policy-level components.

Beyond these 10 interventions, the review found that there is little literature about multi-level diabetes prevention/treatment programs for AI/AN and First Nations people. However, the authors did find widespread support among experts for reducing health disparities by addressing the social factors that contribute to those disparities. “Researchers and interventionists should consider multi-level approaches with well-designed, appropriately funded evaluation strategies for diabetes prevention and treatment interventions,” the authors conclude.

To learn more, you can read the full article here.

CMMI Charts Fresh Course for Next 10 Years

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) outlined its goals to improve and expand healthcare delivery in Federal programs over the next 10 years in a new white paper released October 20.

The Innovation Center Strategy Refresh aims to bring “describes the Innovation Center’s refreshed vision and strategy and provides examples of approaches and efforts under consideration.” CMMI’s strategy includes five main objectives:

  • Drive accountable care: Increase the number of people in a care relationship with accountability for quality and total cost of care.
  • Advance healthy equity: Embed health equity in every aspect of CMMI’s models and increase focus on underserved populations.
  • Support care innovations: Leverage a range of supports that enable integrated, person-centered care.
  • Improve access by addressing affordability: Pursue strategies to address healthcare prices, affordability, and reduce unnecessary or duplicative care.
  • Partner to achieve system transformation: Align priorities and policies across the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and aggressively engage payers, purchasers states, and beneficiaries to improve quality, to achieve equitable outcomes, and to reduce healthcare costs.

CMMI's 5 Strategic Objectives for Advancing System Tranformation

Source: Innovation Center Strategy Refresh.

The refresh comes as CMMI enters its second decade after being created in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act. The Innovation Center launched more than 50 models in its first decade aimed at transitioning the U.S. health system to value-based care.

More information can be found here.

Econometrica Announces New Health Director

Econometrica Announces New Health Director

BETHESDA, MD – Econometrica is pleased to announce the promotion of Kristie McNealy to Health Director. Dr. McNealy joined Econometrica in 2013 and has exceled as a qualitative research and evaluation expert, project manager, and business development lead. She has 20 years of experience in research, clinical medicine, quality measure development, program evaluation and monitoring, and project management in a variety of healthcare fields.

As a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), Dr. McNealy has worked on multiple programs related to improving and measuring the quality of care, including directing the development and testing of quality measures for the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), and has worked on contracts related to several Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) models, including Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Advanced, BPCI Model I, the Community-based Care Transitions Program (CCTP), Million Hearts, and Partnership for Patients (PfP), in roles including program evaluation, monitoring, and quality measurement strategy. She also has expertise in a variety of qualitative research techniques, including conducting structured telephone interviews and site visits and coding and content analysis.

Dr. McNealy takes over for Monique Sheppard, who has guided the Health Group for the last 10 years. Dr. Sheppard is moving into a company-wide business development role, where she will oversee several cross-group development projects, including promoting our joint venture, TAG Research LLC, and meeting with our clients and partners to market our ever-growing technical capabilities.

Dr. Sheppard is an epidemiologist and biostatistician with more than 28 years of experience in quantitative evaluation, data collection and analysis, national survey and evaluation projects, measure development, policy analysis, learning solutions, technical assistance and training, and rapid-cycle evaluation. She provides subject matter expertise and leadership guidance on projects for a variety of Federal and non-Federal clients. Her research has appeared in numerous publications, including the Journal of Gerontological Nursing, American Journal of Health Education, and the Journal of Safety Research.

About Econometrica

Founded in 1998, Econometrica is a research and management organization in Bethesda, MD, established to provide public- and private-sector clients with customized program support services. Econometrica works with multiple agencies to provide high-quality, cost-effective analyses, modeling, and economic evaluations. The company consistently receives exceptional scores from its clients and believes in three principles: technical capabilities, happy customers, and business development.

As a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ), Dr. McNealy has worked on multiple programs related to improving and measuring the quality of care. She also has expertise in a variety of qualitative research techniques, including conducting structured telephone interviews and site visits and coding and content analysis.

Press Contact

Kurt von Tish

CMS Releases New Course for SNF Providers

CMS Releases New Course for SNF Providers

CMS SNF CourseBETHESDA, MD – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new web-based training course that provides an overview of the assessment and coding the items in Section K related to height, weight, and nutritional approaches for skilled nursing facility residents. The on-demand, 30-minute course includes interactive exercises to test skilled nursing facility providers’ knowledge related to the assessment and coding of K0200: Height and Weight and K0510: Nutritional Approaches.

The new training was developed as part of the Post-Acute Care (PAC) Training contract, which assesses training needs, develops training materials, delivers training to providers and stakeholders, and evaluates the outcome of the trainings for changes and clarification needed due to the passing of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act). The primary goal of the project is to deliver relevant, accurate, and engaging training to assist providers in complying with coding and data submission requirements associated with quality reporting programs (QRPs) for the skilled nursing facility, long-term care hospital, inpatient rehabilitation facility, home health agency, and hospice care settings..

The latest training can be found through the CMS’ skilled nursing facility QRP training web page.

If you have questions about accessing the course or feedback regarding the training, please email the PAC Training mailbox at PACTraining@EconometricaInc.com. Content-related questions should be submitted to the SNF QRP Help Desk at SNFQualityQuestions@cms.hhs.gov.

About Econometrica

Founded in 1998, Econometrica is a research and management organization in Bethesda, MD, established to provide public- and private-sector clients with customized program support services. Econometrica works with multiple agencies to provide high-quality, cost-effective analyses, modeling, and economic evaluations. The company consistently receives exceptional scores from its clients and believes in three principles: technical capabilities, happy customers, and business development.

The new training was developed as part of the Post-Acute Care (PAC) Training contract, which assesses training needs, develops training materials, delivers training to providers and stakeholders, and evaluates the outcome of the trainings for changes and clarification needed due to the passing of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act).

Press Contact

Kurt von Tish