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What We’re Reading: Rural Health Clinic Accreditation; Cancer Mortality in Black Women; COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Savings

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The Joint Commission is launching the Rural Health Clinic Accreditation Program to standardize staff training and patient care practices at rural health clinics nationwide; the American Cancer Society recently launched the largest-ever study of cancer risk and outcomes in Black women; the HHS COVID-19 vaccination campaign saved $732 billion by preventing illness and related costs.

Joint Commission Begins Rural Health Clinic Accreditation Program

The Joint Commission is launching the Rural Health Clinic Accreditation Program to standardize staff training and patient care practices at rural health clinics nationwide, according to Modern Healthcare. Effective June 3, 2024, through June 3, 2028, CMS approved the Joint Commission to serve as an accrediting body for rural health clinics that request Medicare program participation. The program, which will open to applicants sometime this summer, is intended to help clinics in rural, medically underserved communities improve the quality and safety of primary care and personal health services. More specifically, the new program includes standards for rural clinics to follow when it comes to medical error reduction, emergency preparedness, and health information and medication management. Those looking to receive accreditation must also adhere to specific requirements, like identifying performance improvement priorities, implementing fire safety procedures, and conducting staff competency assessments.

Cancer Society Launches Long-Term Study on Cancer Mortality in Black Women

The American Cancer Society (ACS) recently launched the largest-ever study of cancer risk and outcomes in Black women, according to USA Today. This study was initiated to explore why Black women are more likely to die of cancer and to die faster than non-Black women. To conduct this study, the ACS aims to enroll more than 100,000 Black women aged between 25 and 55 years who are cancer-free and follow them over 3 decades. Participants will first be asked to fill out an initial 15-minute questionnaire, followed by an hourlong, more detailed questionnaire about their lives, family histories, and mental and emotional health. After, the participants must take a 30-minute online follow-up survey every 6 months for the next 30 years. The ACS chose to launch the study after the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted health disparities by race.

Study: COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Saved $732 Billion by Preventing Infections, Related Costs

A recent study estimated that the HHS COVID-19 vaccination campaign saved $732 billion by preventing illness and related costs during the Delta and Omicron variant waves, with a return of nearly $90 for every dollar spent, according to CIDRAP. HHS launched its “We Can Do This” campaign in April 2021 to boost COVID-19 vaccine uptake through more than 7000 television, radio, digital, and print ads in 14 languages; the campaign especially targeted those reluctant to receive the vaccine and those among high-risk populations. The researchers estimated that the campaign encouraged 22.3 million Americans to complete their primary COVID-19 vaccine series, which prevented nearly 2.6 million infections and 244,000 hospitalizations.

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