National Adolescent Drug Trends in 2017: Findings Released

In the annual Monitoring the Future study by the University of Michigan, now in its 43rd year, about 45,000 students in some 380 public and private secondary schools have been surveyed each year in this U.S. national study, designed and conducted by research scientists at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Students in grades 8, 10 and 12 are surveyed.

 

Highlights:

This increase in marijuana drove trends in any illicit drug use in the past year. Marijuana use among adolescents edged upward in 2017, the first significant increase in seven years. Overall, past-year use of marijuana significantly increased by 1.3% to 24% in 2017 for 8th, 10th, and 12th graders combined.

The 2017 survey also reports first-ever national, standard estimates of nicotine vaping, marijuana vaping, flavoring-only vaping, and any vaping. Previously, no national study has published estimates for vaping of specific substances for the standard time periods of past 30 days, past year, and lifetime.

Cigarette smoking by teens continued to decline in 2017. For the three grades combined, all measures (lifetime, 30-day, daily, and half-pack/day) are at historic lows since first measured in all three grades in 1991. Since the peak levels reached in the mid-1990s, lifetime prevalence has fallen by 71%, 30-day prevalence by 81%, daily prevalence by 86%, and current half-pack-a-day prevalence by 91%.

Smokeless tobacco also showed a continuing decline this year with 30-day prevalence reaching a low point for the three grades individually and combined.

In general, alcohol use by adolescents has been in a long-term decline that actually first began in the 1980s and was interrupted for a few years during the relapse phase in the substance use epidemic in the 1990s.

In 2017, however, lifetime prevalence, annual prevalence, 30-day prevalence, and daily prevalence all showed little or no change with no significant changes for any grade or for the three grades combined. This is the first time this has happened in many years and may herald the end of the long-term decline in adolescent alcohol use.

Use of inhalants significantly increased among 8th grade students in 2017. Inhalant use includes sniffing glue, gases, or sprays, and is an unusual type of substance use because it is more common among younger than older adolescents.

The opioid epidemic among adults has received much attention in recent months, and MTF offers the opportunity to see what is happening with opioid use among adolescents. Heroin use by adolescents has always been low, and did not significantly change in the 8th, 10th, or 12th grades in 2017, with annual use levels at 0.4% or lower in all three grades.

Read More

United Health Foundation releases annual America's Health Rankings reports

United Health Foundation's America’s Health Rankings annual report is out, one of the longest-running assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis.

According to the 2017 report, the analysis looks at 35 measures covering behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care and outcomes data. The report also serves as a benchmark for states – and the nation – to measure progress, identify emerging trends and drive action for improving public health.

The nation is facing public health challenges, including rising rates of premature death and an uneven concentration of key health care providers.

Read More

Are hospital readmission penalties a good idea?

According to a report in StatNews, the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program has achieved its primary goal: It has reduced readmissions. A wide body of evidence shows that readmissions began to fall in 2012, when financial penalties took full effect. They have since declined several percentage points in each of the three conditions originally included in the program, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of Medicare data.

Read More

Leapfrog releases its 2017 top hospitals list

The Leapfrog Group on Thursday released its 2017 Top Hospitals list, recognizing 109 hospitals for excellence in hospital quality, patient safety, and efficiency.

Leapfrog President and CEO Leah Binder in a release said, "The Top Hospital award highlights American hospitals that are providing the highest quality of care to their patients." She added, "We're encouraged to see hospitals across the country and within diverse communities earn this distinction."

Read More

America's Largest Safety-Net Health System Built A High-Performing Medicare ACO

In a recent article in the Health Affairs blog,  the NYC Health + Hospitals ACO (NYCHH ACO) reduced costs by 4–12 percent annually compared to benchmark, while continually improving quality in its first four years.  It is the only ACO in New York State to achieve shared savings in all four Medicare SSP performance years. Overall costs to Medicare have been reduced by more than $31 million, generating shared savings incentive payments of nearly $14 million.

Read More