News & Updates

Resources for Dealing with Substance Abuse in PA is a community organization dedicated to empowering people suffering from substance abuse addiction with tools and resources to start their personal journey toward recovery.  You can learn more at

Public Health curated a series of guides that delves into earning a degree in public health, scholarship opportunities, and career pathways. Take a look below:

New Toolkit from AHRQ Can Help Determine the Best Location for Everything from Isolation Rooms to Sinks

A new safety risk assessment toolkit from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) can help organizations design new or renovated facility environments that “support workflow, procedures, and capability while keeping patients and staff safe from harm.” The toolkit targets six areas of safety—infections, falls, medication errors, security, behavioral health, and patient handling—that are required by the Facility Guidelines Institute. It also addresses more than 200 potential environment considerations to take into account while constructing a building environment. AHRQ said the toolkit can also function as a quality check tool to prioritize risk and look for potential budgetary issues. An example of how the toolkit could be used, AHRQ said, is to help a design team examine staff workflow, patient treatment protocols, and room location when deciding where to place isolation rooms or sinks.

Engaging Patients and Families to Improve Patient Safety in Primary Care

The Guide to Improving Patient Safety by Engaging Patients and Families in Primary Care is a compilation of evidence-based best practices for improving patient safety through patient, family, and caregiver engagement. This comprehensive guide provides primary care practices with four strategies they can adopt to improve patient safety. The strategies have pair-tools for clinicians, practice staff, and patients and their families. A practice may choose to adopt one or all the strategies, which include: Teach-Back, Be Prepared to Be Engaged, Medication Management, and Warm Handoff. To learn more on these strategies and to access the guide, click here

Revision on Use of Hormonal Contraception Among Women at High Risk of HIV

Based on new scientific evidence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) is revising its recommendations on the use of hormonal contraceptives among women at high risk for HIV.  It includes progestin-only injectable users. The CDC has updated it from a US MEC Category 1 (no restrictions) to Category 2 (benefits outweigh theoretical or proven risks) medication.  You can read the full report and learn more about US Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2016 (US MEC) and get downloads and other resources.  Continuing education is available for this report

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has published“Use of Silver Diamine Fluoride for Dental Caries Management in Children and Adolescents, Including Those with Special Health Care Needs.”
This manuscript presents evidence-based guidance on the use of 38 percent silver diamine fluoride (SDF) for dental caries management in children and adolescents, including those with special health care needs.  A guideline workgroup formed by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry developed guidance and an evidence-based recommendation regarding the application of 38 percent SDF to arrest caveated caries lesions in primary teeth.

AMA Article on Value of Free Clinics

The July 26, 2017 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association includes an article entitled “Half-century After “Summer of Love,” Free Clinics Still Play Vital Role” which describes the development of the first free clinic in 1967 in San Francisco and how, despite the efforts of the Affordable Care Act, the free clinic model is still a much needed part of our nation’s health care safety net.

Rubin, free clinics, JAMA, 2017

Allowable Fees for Medical Charts or Records

December 2016

In the notice published on December 5, 2015, the PA Department of Health published the guidelines and fees that a health care provider or facility may charge in response to a request for production of medical charts or records. This notice updates the notice. Under 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 6152, 6152.1 and 6155 (relating to subpoena of records; limit on charges; and rights of patients), a health care provider or facility is allowed to charge a fee in response to a request for medical charts or records. The Secretary of Health is directed to adjust annually the amounts which may be charged by the health care provider or facility. The Secretary is directed to base these adjustments on the most recent changes in the Consumer Price Index reported annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor. For the annual period of October 31, 2015, through October 31, 2016, the Consumer Price Index was 1.6%. Accordingly, effective January 1, 2017, the following fees may be charged by a health care facility or health care provider in response to a request for production of medical charts or records.
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