The following list of web sites should provide you with ample state-level news for your chapter newsletter.

 

CMS Directories

State and Federal Medicaid Contacts

CMS Intermediary and Carrier Directory

State Government Directories

State and Local Government on the Net  provides convenient access to a wide variety of links to government information. Very handy for those chapters who serve members in more than one state!

TIP: Besides the departments of health and insurance, take a look at what's available from elected officials on the state, city, or and county level. These web sites vary wildly in quality and amount of political bias, but some do provide useful information. They can also useful for getting comments on current issues, when both sides of an issue need to be represented.

State Insurance Department Contacts  from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Federal Agencies and Research Organizations

All of these organizations produce statistics and reports that are relevant to HFMA members. Many of these reports provide information on the state level.

Bureau of Labor Statistics  provides statistics on employment and unemployment, consumer expenditures, wages and benefits, and occupational illnesses and industries.

Census Bureau  provides national and state-level statistics on population, poverty, area profiles, and more.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Statistics  provide data about health expenditures and CMS's programs.

Center for Studying Health System Change  offers reports on healthcare costs, coverage, emerging market trends, and more.

Kaiser Family Foundation  funds research to help inform policymakers and the public on key healthcare issues. Includes State Health Facts Online, a free resource that will be especially useful in identifying other key state resources.

National Center for Health Statistics  provides a wealth of healthcare-related data, including life expectancy, leading causes of death, hospital utilization, and key national indicators of well-being. Some data are available at the state level.

NCHS publishes Health, United States, with chartbooks on trends in the health of Americans (updated annually).

The Urban Institute is a nonprofit nonpartisan policy research and educational organization that examines the social, economic, and governance problems facing the nation.

TIP: To create a quick, effective newsletter story, use the agency's press release for the body of the story, then supplement it with state-specific data. If state-level data isn't readily available on the source's site, send a quick inquiry to their public relations person-many are helpful and will pull the information for you, if it's available.

The Local Scene

Bookmark the web sites for the predominant businesses in your region, such as insurers, health plans, and major employers. Check their web sites or call their media relations staff and get on their mailing lists for announcements of business news that affect your members. Such news could include:

Payers

Changes in staffing
Annual reports
Leadership changes
Changes in products and services

Employers
Corporate expansions or layoffs
Changes in healthcare insurance policies
Labor relations

Colleges and Universities
News of programs related to the study of healthcare finance and accounting

TIP: When reviewing these press releases, it's important to remember that these companies are trying to put themselves in the best light possible. Be skeptical of superlatives, and feel free to edit information down to just the facts. Check to see if there is another side to the story that should be represented.

Publication Date: Sunday, April 11, 2010