PRESS RELEASE: Randa Deaton Elected to National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalition Board

Press Release from National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

 

 

 

National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions Elects New Board Officers

WASHINGTON July 26, 2018 The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, a non-profit network of business coalitions across the country, announced its slate of new officers for the Board of Governors. Officers are elected by their board peers based on proven leadership and commitment to the National Alliance, as well as their efforts to advance and strengthen value-based purchasing strategies.

“The National Alliance and it coalition members play a critical role in offering tools, programs and education to bring about meaningful change to our healthcare system, said Neil Goldfarb, President and CEO, Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health and Board Chair. “Our board is comprised of knowledgeable and enthusiastic leaders working to move the market toward value-based purchasing to ensure purchasers can obtain the highest quality care at the most reasonable cost.”

Re-elected to a second term were Neil Goldfarb, President & CEO, Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health, who will continue as the Chair, and Jessica Brooks, Chief Executive Officer, Pittsburgh Business Group on Health, who will continue as Vice-Chair.

Newly-elected to the Board of Governors:

  • Randa Deaton, Co-Executive Director, Kentuckiana Health Collaborative
  • Gaye Fortner, President and CEO, HealthCare 21 Business Coalition
  • Cheryl Larson, President and CEO, Midwest Business Group on Health

Members continuing terms on the Board of Governors:

  • Christopher Goff, CEO and General Counsel, Employers Health
  • Diane Hess, Executive Director, Central Penn Business Group on Health
  • Anne Ladd, CEO, Wyoming Business Coalition on Health
  • Chris Skisak, Executive Director, Houston Business Coalition on Health
  • Chris Syverson, CEO, Nevada Business Group on Health
  • Cristie Upshaw Travis, CEO, Memphis Business Group on Health
  • Lisa Wear-Ellington, President/CEO, South Carolina Business Group on Health

 

 

There are four external board members and two are continuing second terms – Garry Carneal, Founder, Schooner Strategies and Senior Policy Advisor, Kennedy Forum, and Kulleni Gebreyes, Principal, Health Industries Advisory Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers. The two newly-elected members:

  • Leah Binder, President and CEO, The Leapfrog Group
  • Paul Fronstin, Director, Health Research and Education Program, Employee Benefit Research Institute

Annual Forum

Convening employers, policymakers, business coalition leaders and other healthcare stakeholders, the National Alliance will host its 23rd Annual Forum, November 12-14, 2018 at The Mayflower Hotel, Washington, DC. Registration and sponsorship information can be found here.

About National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions

The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions is a nonprofit network of business coalitions, representing more than 12,000 purchasers and 45 million Americans, spending more than $300 billion annually on healthcare. The National Alliance is dedicated to driving innovation, health, and value along with its coalition members through the collective action of public and private purchasers. To learn more, visit nationalalliancehealth.org or connect with us on Twitter or LinkedIn.

# # #

 

KY Core Measures Set Reflects Diversity of Thought, Collaboration

This week, I listened to a recent episode of one of my favorite podcasts, NPR’s Hidden Brain, which explores the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior. This particular episode was about research that suggests that assembling people into groups that are diverse produces more creative results.

As I listened to the episode, I thought of the Kentucky Performance Alignment Committee (PMAC), the measures alignment initiative the KHC led with the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services. Consisting of more than 70 experts from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky, there was no shortage of diversity in the oversight committee and four subcommittees.

I think our results reflect that diversity.

The final core measures set includes 32 unique measures, focused in the areas of prevention, pediatrics, chronic and acute care management, behavioral health, and cost/utilization. The PMAC team includes expert volunteers from varying backgrounds and geographic regions. These various stakeholders, some of which have competing priorities, have spent the last several months engaging in consensus-based discussions, often coming to some surprising agreements. Because we created a “limited” set, to reduce complexity and improve focus, committee members had to make tough decisions to select only the measures that have significant impact.

Many of the measures are ones that anyone with a healthcare measurement background would quickly recognize. But our PMAC committee also chose a few “stretch measures” that might have a few more challenges to them but ultimately are important to impacting the health of Kentuckians. One or two of these measures I thought for sure would get thrown out early in the process, but I think were included as a direct result of getting diverse minds at the same table, which elevated the results. I’m proud of our core set of measures, and I hope that PMAC members feel the same way.

I was also struck by the enthusiasm and passion that was exhibited by PMAC members. Each of the members answered questions about their interest and involvement in healthcare measurement as part of the application process. I am inspired and humbled by some of their responses, which reflect their commitment to healthcare quality in the Commonwealth.

PMAC members will be sharing their own reflections in upcoming weeks. We have already published a piece by Michael Hagen, MD, about his experience serving on PMAC.

I’m excited for the next steps in this initiative: selecting a community-level opioid measure, securing letters of support, and establishing an ongoing review process.

PRESS RELEASE: Kentucky Core Healthcare Measures Set Announced

Louisville, Kentucky, July 26, 2018: Kentucky now has an agreed upon set of healthcare measurement priorities. The Kentucky Core Healthcare Measures Set (KCHMS) was developed through a public-private partnership between the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services (KDMS), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), and the Kentuckiana Health Collaborative (KHC). The Commonwealth becomes one of the first states in the nation to enact a healthcare measurement set.

The purpose of this effort is to get Kentucky’s health plans and employers to reward primary care and pediatric providers on a shared set of relevant measures to drive improved health, quality of care, and value, to reduce administrative complexity, and to align healthcare organizations to have a shared focus.

For the last year, over 70 experts that provide, pay, purchase, and consume healthcare across Kentucky met as members of the Kentucky Performance Measures Alignment Committee (PMAC). They identified Kentucky’s current measurement situation is as follows:

  • Insurers and government programs define quality differently and are often unaligned in scope and focus
  • Primary care providers are incented on too many quality measures, 89 in 2018
  • Providers and their teams are overwhelmed with the burden of state, federal, and commercial measurement requirements

The new core measures set contains 32 measures, less than half of the number of 89 currently incented measures in Kentucky by various state and national programs. Measures are focused in the areas of prevention, pediatrics, chronic and acute care management, behavioral health, and cost/utilization. The PMAC team is currently requesting letters of support from key healthcare organizations

“It has been truly inspiring to see Kentucky’s various stakeholders come together for the good of Kentucky’s residents to drive improvements in health,” said Stephanie Clouser, KHC Data Scientist and PMAC coordinator.

“The Kentucky Medicaid team, which includes not only state government representation, but also partners from nationally prominent health insurance corporations, is committed to ensuring that every citizen can access health care that is proven in terms of quality and patient experience,” concluded Chief Medical Officer for Kentucky Medicaid, Gil Liu, MD, MS. “We look forward to building on this highly collaborative work of developing a core set of measures, to go forward and successfully accomplish measurably better health outcomes.”

The full list of measures can be found here. A public webinar will be held on Thursday, July 26, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. EST, to give an overview of the initiative and give Kentucky’s healthcare stakeholders a chance to ask questions of PMAC Chairs Gil Liu, KDMS, and Randa Deaton, KHC.

About the KHC: The Kentuckiana Health Collaborative (KHC) is a non-profit organization comprised of representatives who have a major stake in improving the health status and the healthcare delivery system in Greater Louisville and Kentucky. The KHC creates a space for multiple stakeholders to work collaboratively toward the Triple Aim goals of Better Health, Better Care, and Better Value. For more information on the KHC, visit www.KHCollaborative.org.

About CHFS: The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state’s human services and healthcare programs, including the Department for Medicaid Services, the Department for Community Based Services the Department for Public Health, the Department for Aging and Independent Living and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full- and part-time employees located across the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.

##

Regarding Youth Mental Health: Parents Appreciate Sharing of Ideas, Emphasize Communication with Schools

(Note: This guest post was written Stephen O’Connor, PhD, Assistant Professor, Associate Director, University of Louisville Depression Center, Director of Faculty Research Development, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Louisville School of Medicine)

The Student Alliance for Mental Health Innovation and Action (StAMINA) team recently wrapped up a series of focus groups and interviews with youth, parents, and stakeholders from across the Commonwealth of Kentucky in order to identify factors that contribute to mental health stigma and the unmet needs regarding youth mental health. We are excited to share these results at an upcoming community discussion on September 11 at the University of Louisville Clinical & Translational Research Building. For this blog post, I aim to share several observations from my experience as part of the research team.

Aside from providing research mentorship to the StAMINA team, I also facilitated the parent focus groups. Why is capturing the parents’ voices such an important aspect of a youth-driven mental health organization? Because parents have a major impact on how their children understand their own personal experiences and the degree to which it is safe to share said experiences with others. In a nutshell, family sets the stage as to whether a stigma will be associated with mental health concerns. The impact of parental attitudes towards mental health starts early and continues through an individual’s lifetime. We think that by reducing the presence and impact of stigmas applied to mental health concerns, more students will feel comfortable communicating their needs to their support network.

We purposely selected research sites that were as heterogeneous as the citizens of our state; focus groups were conducted in urban and rural counties with parents whose children attend either public or independent high schools. A few focus groups occurred in high schools, whereas others occurred at youth drop-in centers or a public organization in the Louisville community.

One powerful lesson from the focus groups is that many parents appreciate sharing ideas and having concentrated discussions on the topic of mental health. While they tended to lump the terms mental health and mental illness together, reflecting an internalized view of mental health as indicating something negative, they did believe strongly in the concept that one cannot be considered to be in good health without attending to mental health. Although we dealt with a powerful and emotional topic, parents were eager to speak with one another about mental health stigma and areas in need of improvement for youth.

I was honestly surprised by the extent to which parents formed a sincere group cohesion with one another even though we made clear that we were not intending to create a support group environment. Several groups even asked if they could meet again to continue their conversation! What a concept – as parents shared their views on mental health stigma and barriers to accessing care, they felt a sense of belongingness and helped each other consider alternative ways to support their children. Several times we had parents speak with each other afterwards about specific resources that might be helpful in supporting their children. I really got the sense that many people need a greater amount of support in their role as a worried parent, either through guidance on available services or through facilitated discussions with others who can relate.

Another observation is that parents routinely spoke about the importance of communication with schools/teachers as a key to enhancing youth mental health. Those schools with greater resources or smaller teacher to student ratios tended to have an easier time with communication. Parents were astute at identifying subtle signs that their children might be having difficulty related to mental health concerns, but they also recognized the importance of hearing teachers’ observations so that they could be as proactive as possible. The concept of embedding mental health programs into school curriculums, such as mindfulness practice or emotion regulation skills acquisition programs, was seen as a way to reduce mental health stigma and prevent normal adjustment concerns from developing into more severe forms of anxiety and depression.

The good news is that there are great examples in our state of schools that use innovative programming to support students’ mental health. The drop-in centers such as TAYLRD also offer a non-traditional alternative to mental health treatment that appeals to many youth and families. However, when less than 50% of adolescents with major depression in Kentucky report receiving treatment, there is clearly room for improvement. The barriers to treatment engagement don’t rest solely with parents; however, they are an obvious point of emphasis when trying to address mental health stigma. I am hopeful that by providing a larger platform for parents and students to share their experience and contribute to mental health programming, we can continue to create innovative approaches to enhance youth mental health and overall quality of life.

 

 

 

 

KHC Update: New Event and Communication System

You may have already noticed that the KHC is using a new event registration platform, Constant Contact. The September Forum is the first event to take place on the new system. You should have already received a couple of emails about registration using Constant Contact. As before, you will still be able to find all details about each event on our website.

This new platform will also be used for other general communication purposes. Our monthly newsletter and other important updates will be delivered to you via the new system. Please be patient with us as we learn this new way of doing things but don’t hesitate to call or email Michele if you have any problems or questions about communication or event registration.

Kentucky Core Healthcare Measures Set Finalized

Stephanie Clouser

Nine months. That’s how long it takes to develop and birth a baby.

It’s also how KHC co-director Randa Deaton has described the KHC’s initiative with Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services to create a core set of primary healthcare measures, which began approximately nine months ago and was completed last night.

Folks, reducing from 89 incented measures to a set of 32 definitely felt very much like birthing a baby.

The journey to create a core measures set for the Commonwealth of Kentucky began last summer, when KHC co-directors Randa Deaton and Teresa Couts met with then-Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Vickie Yates Brown Glisson and discovered a mutual interest in addressing measurement mayhem through alignment. Thus began a partnership with the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services (KDMS) to create a core healthcare measures set for Kentucky’s primary care providers, with the ultimate goal of aligning the priorities of Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial insurers. The project was announced in September by Glisson, and soon after, four subcommittees formed in key areas got to work, evaluating national core measures sets, Kentucky performance data, organizational healthcare priorities, and more.

This spring, subcommittees presented their recommendations to a large oversight committee, which spent the next few months reviewing the recommendations and confirming the final set. The Kentucky Performance Measures Alignment Committee (PMAC) oversight committee and four subcommittees were made up of more than 70 expert volunteers from varying backgrounds and geographic regions. These various stakeholders, some of which have competing incentives, have spent the last several months engaging in consensus-based discussions, often coming to some surprising agreements. Because we created a “limited” set, to reduce complexity and improve focus, committee members have had to make tough decisions to select only the measures that have significant impact.

KENTUCKY CORE HEALTHCARE MEASURES SET

The resulting final set includes 32 primary care measures, 21 of which are considered high priority, focused in the areas of prevention, pediatrics, chronic and acute care management, behavioral health, and cost/utilization. This is less than half of the number of 89 currently incented measures in Kentucky by various programs. Many of the measures are ones that anyone with a healthcare measurement background would quickly recognize. But our PMAC committee also chose – wisely, in my opinion – a few “stretch measures” that might have a few more challenges to them but ultimately are important to impacting the health of Kentuckians.

This list of leading quality indicators is but a start toward driving meaningful measurement in Kentucky. PMAC members also got a chance to identify areas of development for future iterations of the measures set. Sometimes this involved listing existing measures that need improvement or establishment and sometimes these were blanket statements identifying the need to develop a measure in a particular area.

NEXT STEPS

The confirmation of the KCHMS is not the end of PMAC. Now that the set has been finalized, there is new work to be done. We have planned multiple events around Kentucky Core Healthcare Measures Set (KCHMS), including a webinar on July 26 and an employer forum in October. Additionally, we now begin the process of working with organizations to adopt this core measures set and utilize it in contracting. You can find all the news related to PMAC here.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this initiative, whether by serving on or chairing a committee, taking meetings with KHC staff members, securing meeting space, or providing expertise on measure nuances. Now let’s put this set to use. When we focus on everything, we focus on nothing. However, when we focus on the right things, we can drive meaningful change.

View the Kentucky Core Healthcare Measures Set

National Alliance Spring Coalition Meeting Focuses on Healthcare Price, Waste, and Quality

Teresa Couts, Stephanie Clouser, Natalie Middaugh, and I traveled to Chicago last week for the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions spring meeting and the National Health Leadership Council meeting. The spring coalition meeting is an opportunity for coalitions to learn from one another and to discuss strategic direction of the National Alliance.

National Alliance President and CEO, Mike Thompson, discussed the organization’s refined mission and its new agenda. With healthcare spending expected to reach 20 percent of GDP by 2025, the need for purchasers/employers to engage in solving healthcare at the local level has never been greater. The themes of the coalition discussion focused on healthcare price, waste, and quality, along with the need to improve employee well-being.

During a round robin of coalition sharing, Stephanie Clouser presented the work of the Performance Measures Alignment Committee (PMAC) and the development of the Kentucky Core Healthcare Measures Set. Several coalitions have reached out to Stephanie to learn more about the KHC/Kentucky Department for Medicaid Service work to establish a core set of healthcare quality measures in the Commonwealth. Natalie Middaugh presented the draft of the KHC’s provider guide for the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for opioid use disorder, which will be released this summer. Natalie Middaugh will participate on a National Alliance opioid affinity group to continue to share and learn from other sister coalitions working on opioid-related community issues.

On the second day of the spring meeting, the National Health Leadership Council (NHLC) and the coalitions met to discuss purchaser priorities and opportunities. The NHLC is an affiliate group made up of leading national organizations ranging from health plans, pharmaceutical and provider organizations, accreditation and advocacy organizations, employer-focused organizations, and industry stakeholders. The topics of the meeting included:

  • Advancing the Value Agenda in a Changing Marketplace
  • Payment Reform – Purchaser Value Network: Capstone Summary
  • Leveraging Medicare Bundles Framework
  • Obesity and Mental Health
  • NHLC Member presentations on collaboration opportunities

If you are interested in healthcare purchaser innovation, be sure to mark your calendar for the National Alliance’s 23rd annual forum on November 12-14 in Washington, DC. KHC members receive special discount pricing. Each year, this event brings employers of all sizes and industries together to learn from one another, network with other healthcare stakeholders and to learn about effective approaches to managing the health and wellbeing of their workforce from the leading innovators in healthcare and business. This three-day event provides learning opportunities through interactive sessions, educational discussions, employer roundtables, demonstrations and exhibit floor events that all encourage networking sharing and learning. This year’s topics include innovative approaches and strategies to wellbeing, population health, employee empowerment, special sessions on healthcare policy, and updates on the AHCA along with other emerging healthcare topics.

‘Amazon, Please Deliver Health Care Prime’

(Note: This guest post was written by Karen Wolk Feinstein, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative. PRHI and KHC are both coalition members of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI). Karen’s op-ed was originally published in the Post Gazette.)

A letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos from a loyal employee, as imagined by a non-employee

Dear Mr. Bezos,

I was excited to read about the partnership among Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan to create a new health care thing. I say “thing” because no one knows what you’re cooking up. As a result, I’m tempted to take this blank slate and write my own wishes on it.

Few of us customers of health care ever get consulted about what we want to pay for and what we don’t. And few employers have stepped forward like you propose to do and acted like real customers. You have the purse strings, so pay for what matters. It’s about time that employers flexed their muscles.

As a loyal employee of your company, I’d like to tell you how I’d fill that blank slate. And know that I prize my Amazon Prime membership and believe that you care what your customers think. So, please consider the desires of your employees as you shape something creative and disruptive in health care.

  1. Don’t allow health care providers and insurers to spend money on things I don’t care about, such as billboards, canned TV commercials featuring happy patients, Super Bowl ads or an army of middlemen who plan and process and complicate my life. You hate waste. So do your employees.
  2. Please spend money on things I do care about: access to a doula when I’m pregnant, access to a care manager if I have a chronic illness, behavioral health services, pharmacy consultations, exercise classes, massages, care navigators and health coaches.
  3. Please guide me to the best doctor or surgical team when I need one. I don’t care if they’re “in network” or “out of network.” I’m willing to travel. I actually want to save money for both of us, so send me where the costs are reasonable, the outcomes are exceptional and medical errors are minimal. Do your own measurement of customer satisfaction and quality of care. Just send me to the best of the best.
  4. Make useful new technologies available as they are proven worthy. Also, please pay for (or even design) a health care system that does not take 17 years to adopt best practices once they are revealed through credible scientific research. Find me doctors and teams who believe in the scientific method and know how to implement change.
  5. Customize my care. I’m unique, as we all are, in many ways. Use big data and artificial intelligence — maybe even an accurate, comprehensive electronic health record if you can create one — to determine how to ease my pain and discomfort and address unwelcome symptoms. Help me change my behavior or my environment so that I’m healthier. I’d like to avoid drugs and surgeries if possible. Keep me out of the hospital if you can! I’ll be healthier, and you’ll save money.
  6. Please make the necessary connections to wrap my care around me, rather than have me bouncing around to a bevy of specialists when I’m hurting. Your engineers know how to do this, and you can find good models from other countries. But when my lower back is screaming, I don’t want to flop from orthopedist, to physiatrist, to physical therapist, to those guys who give steroid shots.
  7. Do not pay for preventable errors or unnecessary treatments, tests and medications. Just say no. You have the force of money on your side. This includes a careful reconsideration of the health care workforce. Why pay for expensive specialty care when a midwife or technician or even a community health worker will do? And don’t pay any members of a surgical team if they ever do a wrong-site surgery. It’s inexcusable. Just take them off your list.
  8. Reveal what my care will cost me — after you bundle my services and bargain for the best possible price — so that every little pill and phone call and crutch is not billed separately and exorbitantly. Promise me: no surprises, no frustration, no anger. Just like when I order a toaster from you.
  9. Do what you do best: Bring services and products to me. You can do it. Why not have mobile emergency rooms and surgical suites? Surgeons can operate remotely. You can equip these floating units with the latest technologies and well-trained technicians. They even can drive themselves. And, soon, we’ll have incision-free surgeries. Also, why not dispense my drugs? Send out your little drones or something. Don’t overload me with more drugs than I need or want. Do you know how many expired tubes of little pills I toss out each year? They go into our water systems. Total waste! You can do better.
  10. Advise me on how to manage my health, how to select a doctor or primary-care source and how to give health care providers good feedback. And give me options! — while making clear their relative value and downsides. Are there generic drugs as good as the ones I’ve been prescribed? Should mom consider hospice? You understand “choice architecture” better than anyone. Just please don’t push unnecessary commercial products and services on me, given your power to do so. Remove temptation and keep your sales interests separate from your health care system. If you’re going to do any nudging, do it to improve the quality of service for those whose health care you subsidize.
  11. And let’s exchange information regularly — on Kindle, video, e-mail, whatever. You know how to do this. Let me see what others have said about my conditions or services or new medications. Track and monitor how Amazon and I, together, are meeting my needs and managing my health, and how well providers and services are doing so, too. I’m hungry for information.

Thank you for listening. It’s about time someone did, even if I wasn’t asked.

Signed,

Loyal employee of Amazon

 

Spotlight: Get to Know KHC’s Newest Employee

Recently, Kentuckiana Health Collaborative welcomed a new full-time project coordinator, Natalie Middaugh. Natalie joined the KHC part-time in early 2018 to support the KHC’s Kentucky Opioid Response Effort (KORE) grant. After KHC was given funding for year two of the KORE grant, Natalie was hired full-time to support that work and other KHC projects. KHC members will get to know Natalie well as she becomes more familiar with her role in upcoming months.

Natalie graduated earlier this month with a MPH in Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Louisville. She is most interested in continuing to work with the KORE grants.

“It’s inarguable that the opioid epidemic is currently one of the most prominent public health concerns facing Kentuckians,” Natalie said. “I am eager and hopeful for how the KHC can be a contributing force in addressing it.”

In her spare time, Natalie likes to stay physically active, whether through exercise or entertaining her two dogs, Harper and Nova. She is also passionate about food and nutrition, so she spends a lot of time researching and cooking.

A Little More About Natalie

Area of interest in healthcare: Chronic disease prevention and management, nutrition and food access, worksite wellness, geriatrics, substance abuse
Something that might surprise you about Natalie: She has never broken a bone
Favorite place to travel: Anywhere with a body of water or rich history. Her favorite place so far is Rome, Italy.
Favorite quote: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelo

Hepatitis A outbreak continues to grow in Louisville, throughout the Commonwealth

(Note: This guest post was written by Lori Caloia, MD, medical director for Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness)

Map of confirmed hepatitis A cases shows where outbreaks of the virus are most prevalent.

The hepatitis A outbreak continues to grow in Louisville and throughout Kentucky. To date, 392 cases have been identified, and there have been two deaths within Jefferson County. The majority of people in these cases have the common risk factors of recreational drug use – any drug use, not just injection drug use — homelessness and insecure housing. However, about 10% of our cases have no identifiable risk factors. To complicate matters, cases of hepatitis A may go unrecognized. Some people who are infected may not show symptoms, especially early in the disease, and some may not seek medical care when they do.

Hepatitis A is a liver virus found in the stool of people with the infection and spreads when trace amounts of stool are ingested. The two best ways to protect yourself from hepatitis A are to:

  1. Practice good hand washing with warm water and soap, especially after using the bathroom and before you prepare food or eat; and
  2. Get vaccinated

The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW) recommending community members protect themselves by getting vaccinated. Just one dose gives you almost complete protection in the outbreak setting! Consider how your organization can help in our community and state-wide efforts to reduce barriers to vaccination for both the general community and for the at risk groups in particular. We can all work together to end to this outbreak!

Two other important things to know and share about the hepatitis A virus:

  • Hand sanitizer is not as effective at preventing the virus as handwashing
  • A person with hepatitis A can be contagious for up to two weeks before they ever show signs or symptoms of illness

There is more information and educational materials about hepatitis A on the LMPHW website. Additionally, answers to frequently asked questions about the hepatitis A vaccine can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent website.