Question: Do you ever look at all of the health news out there and think “where do I start?” Turns out you are in luck because Community Health Round Up is here for another week to serve as your starting point in this vast news landscape. This week we have a bevy of health news that I think will make you go “Wow! That second sentence was right, Community Health Round Up is a good starting point.” So what do we have this week? Lots of stuff, but I don’t want to give it all away in the introduction, you will just have to read on.

This week I stumbled across a story that really highlights the determination community health centers possess to service their community. To do this, we will have to take a trip to California (in our minds) and visit a health center that is part of the Santa Rosa Community Health system.
The clinic: Vista Family Health Center.
The issue: Smoke and water damage to clinic forces closure.
The cause: Wildfires.
With the clinic closed and  people requiring medical assistance, the staff at Vista Family took creative means to provide space for visits. No wildfire was going to stop them from providing assistance to their community, so they started converting offices, vans, shipping containers, etc. into usable clinic space and kept providing care under difficult circumstances. This story is a must read.

Health care in rural communities is rife with difficulties. Often times if there is a facility it’s a small one that cannot always provide the needed care in an emergency and patients have to travel by ambulance, plane, or helicopter to the nearest city with the appropriate medical facility. Physicians and researchers at Texas Tech understand the difficulties facing rural communities and in response started a pilot program to provide telehealth to rural clinics in west Texas. The pilot project is to run for four years and will focus on trauma, cardiac, and stroke EMS calls. Read more about Texas Tech’s telehealth pilot program.

We all know there is a lot of uncertainty and confusion surrounding the ACA: from constant repeal and replace efforts, new bills, CBO announcements, etc. etc. etc. It’s a situation that is more confusing than a David Lynch film or a Salvidor Dali painting. So to help provide clarity, Health Affairs Blog has kindly rounded up the best articles (a round up inside a round up!) from the week to help you know the current state of this ever changing situation.

Let’s end this post with a call to action from those stalwarts at Health Affairs Blog. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Health care is more than just your physical body. Last week I said you need to provide whole person care by also taking into account a person’s mental health, but there are other factors we need to consider: what’s happening in a person’s everyday environment. The social determinants of health are those factors we live with everyday that impact our health: transportation accessibility, food options, neighborhood characteristics, social interactions, economic stability, etc. These play a huge role in shaping our health and Health Affairs Blog knows it and they want to talk about it. Read this fantastic piece on social determinants of health and why we need a national standard of data collection that includes these factors to begin addressing them.

About the Author

William Jacob Amadeus Pinnock is a Research Coordinator at OCHIN where he assists with the creation, execution, and dissemination of research projects. He graduated with an MS in Communication from Portland State University where he focused on health communication, rural mass media, and qualitative research methods. He has experience working in commercial health insurance, healthcare research, and radio broadcasting. In his spare time, he is an Adjunct Instructor at Portland State University helping students master the art of public speaking.