Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws (PDF)
Source: Catalyst for Payment Reform and Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute
Some states have robust price transparency laws and regulations, requiring them to create a publicly available website with price information based on real paid claims information; but in reality, the public can’t readily access that information because the website is poorly designed, or poorly functioning. Given that so many state-mandated websites are inadequate, once we included websites into our review and grading, no state received an “A” in this year’s Report Card. Unfortunately, New Hampshire—a state that received an A in last year’s Report Card—dropped to an F this year, because its website is inoperative and may remain so for an extended period.
Several states have “voluntary price transparency websites,” hosted by hospital associations, foundations, or nonprofits. While these sites can be a valuable resource to consumers, if they are not legislated they can be short-lived, dependent on the good will and resources of the organization that hosts them. For this reason, we did not factor in these websites when awarding the 2014 state grades; however, we did provide a review of them in Appendix I for comparison purposes.
Mental Health Professionals’ Attitudes and Expectations About Adoption and Adopted Children
Source: National Council for Adoption
Many researchers have documented heavy use of clinical services by adoptees, but little is known about how much training mental health professionals actually receive about adoption, or their beliefs about adoption and adopted people. It is important to understand mental health professionals’ expectations for their adopted clients.
Previous research has shown that teachers treat students differently if they have high expectations for those students. In other studies, some adoptive parents have told us it was necessary to educate their child’s counselor about issues related to adoption. We have therefore investigated adoption-related expectations and training on adoption issues among mental health professionals. In this article, we will review some of the most current published information about the adjustment of adopted children, and present our own findings regarding clinicians’ beliefs and expectations for their adopted clients.
Aimed at exploring the U.S. Boomers’ perceptions and behavior around physical health and fitness, this survey was conducted via telephone by AARP Research, on behalf of the AARP Bulletin, in January 2014, among a national representative sample of 760 Boomers (ages 49-67 years).
Key findings include:
- Over four-in-ten (43%) Boomers rate their physical health excellent or very good while three-in-ten (29%) rate it fair or poor.
- Two-thirds (67%) of Boomers say physical fitness exercise is a priority for them today.
- “It keeps me mobile, not dependent on others (48%), “I enjoy it/it’s fun” (30%), “I have always had this as a priority” (26%), “Doctor recommended it as a must” (26%), and “It makes me feel younger” (25%) are the top-five reasons why physical fitness exercise is a priority for them today.
- While asking the reasons to those who say physical fitness exercise is not a priority for them today, the highest proportion reported “I don’t have time” (30%), followed by “I am disabled/physically impaired” (22%), “I have chronic illness/I am sick” (21%), and “I have other more important priorities” (20%).
- About one-in-six (16%) Boomers are currently a member of a health, fitness, or exercise club. Use of personal fitness mobile apps is infrequent among Boomers – only 7% reported using them over the past five years.
AARP Online Travel Study
Source: AARP Research
Those who are 50 or older take about six non-business related overnight trips of at least 50 miles from home per year.
2013 Open Doors Report
Source: Institute of International Education
From press release:
The 2013 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, released today, finds the number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by seven percent to a record high of 819,644 students in the 2012/13 academic year, while U.S. students studying abroad increased by three percent to an all-time high of more than 283,000.
In 2012/13, 55,000 more international students enrolled in U.S. higher education compared to 2011/12, with most of the growth driven by China and Saudi Arabia. This marks the seventh consecutive year that Open Doors reported expansion in the total number of international students in U.S. higher education. There are now 40 percent more international students studying at U.S. colleges and universities than a decade ago, and the rate of increase has risen steadily for the past three years. International students make up slightly under four percent of total student enrollment at the graduate and undergraduate level combined. International students’ spending in all 50 states contributed approximately $24 billion to the U.S. economy.
The number of U.S. students who studied abroad for academic credit increased by three percent to 283,332 students in 2011/12, a higher rate of growth than the one percent increase the previous year. More U.S. students went to Latin America and China, and there was a rebound in those going to Japan as programs reopened in Fall 2011 after the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Study abroad by American students has more than tripled over the past two decades, from approximately 71,000 students in 1991/92 to the record number in 2011/12. Despite these increases, fewer than 10 percent of all U.S. college students study abroad at some point during their undergraduate years.
Discipline Disparities Series – Briefing Papers
Source: Discipline Disparities Research-to-Practice Collaborative
Disparities in the use of school discipline by race, gender, and sexual orientation have been well-documented, and continue to place large numbers of students at risk for short- and long-term negative outcomes. In order to improve the state of our knowledge and encourage effective interventions, the Discipline Disparities Research to Practice Collaborative, a group of 26 nationally known researchers, educators, advocates, and policy analysts, came together to address the problem of disciplinary disparities. Funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and Open Society Foundations, the Collaborative has spent nearly three years conducting a series of meetings with groups of stakeholders – advocates, educators, juvenile justice representatives, intervention agents, researchers, and policymakers–in order to increase the availability of interventions that are both practical and evidence-based, and to develop and support a policy agenda for reform to improve equity in school discipline.
The project has funded eleven new research projects to expand the knowledge base, particularly in the area of intervention, and commissioned papers from noted researchers presented at the Closing the School Discipline Gap Conference. A culminating report of the Collaborative’s work is the formal release of the Discipline Disparities Briefing Paper Series three papers on policy, practice, and new research summarizing the state of our knowledge and offering practical, evidence-based recommendations for reducing disparities in discipline in our nation’s schools.
Report: Nearly 300,000 New Yorkers Flooded in Sandy Lived Outside FEMA Flood Zones
Source: Natural Resources Defense Council
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood maps for New York City did not identify that nearly 65 percent of the area inundated during Hurricane Sandy—home to nearly 300,000 people—was at risk from coastal flooding, according to a new analysis from the Natural Resources Defense Council. The report tallies the human toll and impact to critical infrastructure like schools and hospitals.
40% of Children Miss Out on the Parenting Needed to Succeed in Life
Source> Sutton Trust
Four in ten babies don’t develop the strong emotional bonds – what psychologists call “secure attachment” – with their parents that are crucial to success later in life. Disadvantaged children are more likely to face educational and behavioural problems when they grow older as a result, new Sutton Trust research finds today.
The review of international studies of attachment, Baby Bonds, by Sophie Moullin (Princeton University), Professor Jane Waldfogel (Colombia University and the London School of Economics) and Dr Liz Washbrook (University of Bristol), finds infants aged under three who do not form strong bonds with their mother or father are more likely to suffer from aggression, defiance and hyperactivity when they get older.
Few Americans Know Where Elected Officials and Candidates Stand on Government Support for Research and Innovation, New Polling Booklet Reveals
Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say it’s important for candidates running for office to assign a high priority to funding medical research, according to America Speaks, Volume 14, a compilation of key questions from public opinion polls commissioned by Research!America. Polling shows that Americans place a high value on U.S. leadership in medical innovation, yet only 12% say they are very well informed about the positions of their senators and representative when it comes to their support of medical and scientific research. www.researchamerica.org/poll_summary.
To help close this knowledge gap, Research!America and partner organizations are launching a national voter education initiative, Ask Your Candidates! Is Medical Research Progress a Priority? Through online and grassroots activities, social media strategies and on-the-ground events, congressional candidates will be urged to share their views on government policies and support for medical innovation conducted in both the public and private sectors. www.askyourcandidates.org.
NRDC Report: Potentially Unsafe Chemicals in Food Threaten Public Health
Source: Natural Resources Defense Council
Federal protections to keep potentially unsafe chemicals out of our foods are woefully inadequate and may be putting the health of Americans at risk, a Natural Resources Defense Council investigation found.
The food safety protection system is marred by minimal supervision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, rife with apparent conflicts of interest in safety evaluations, and rendered all but toothless by a gaping loophole that allows companies to simply declare as safe hundreds of chemicals added to our foods—without any notification to the FDA or the public, according to an NRDC report released today.
Death Sentences and Executions 2013
Source: Amnesty International
2013 was marked by some challenging setbacks on the journey to abolition of the death penalty. Four countries – Indonesia, Kuwait, Nigeria and Viet Nam – resumed executions and there was a significant rise in the number of people executed during the year compared with 2012, driven primarily by increases in Iraq and Iran.
Executions were recorded in 22 countries during 2013, one more than in the previous year. As in 2012, it could not be confirmed if judicial executions took place in Egypt or Syria. The overall number of reported executions worldwide was 778, an increase of almost 15% compared with 2012. As in previous years, this figure does not include the thousands of people executed in China; with the death penalty treated as a state secret the lack of reliable data does not allow Amnesty International to publish credible minimum figures for China.
Boomers and Finances: An AARP Bulletin Survey
Source: AARP Research
With an interest in learning more about what American Boomers perceive about their financial performance and situation, on behalf of the AARP Bulletin, in November 2013, AARP Research conducted a short telephone survey among a nationally representative sample of 714 individuals age 49-67 years old.
Key findings include:
- Two-thirds (67%) of Boomers say they are doing at least somewhat well financially, with one-in-five (21%) doing extremely or very well and about half (46%) doing somewhat well.
- Regarding how well Boomers thought they would be doing financially at their age, the majority (56%) say they are doing either better than expected (20%) or about the same as expected (36%).
- About four-in-ten (39%) Boomers perceive they are doing better than their parents were doing financially, and over a quarter (26%) perceive they are doing the same as their parents were doing at the same age.
- Over four-in-ten (43%) Boomers expect their children will be doing better financially and about one-fifth (18%) of them expect their children will be doing about the same as they are doing today when their children reach the age they are today.
Fiduciary Duty and Investment Advice: Attitudes of Plan Sponsors
Source: AARP Research
This AARP survey of employers that sponsor retirement savings plans (“plan sponsors”) examines a range of issues related to investment advice available to plan participants from the financial institutions that provide their plan (the “DC provider”). It reveals widespread support for holding advice to a “fiduciary” standard; that is, requiring advice offered by DC providers to individual plan participants to be in the best interest of the participants.
2013-2014 Winter Heating Costs for Older and Low-Income Households
Source: AARP Research
Record breaking cold weather this heating season will leave many older American households facing higher heating costs than last year. While heating costs continue to be higher for households heating with fuel oil than those heating with natural gas or electricity, costs to heat with natural gas, electricity, and propane have risen for many households across the United States.
This report analyzes data from the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Surveys and the February 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook. It examines heating-related energy consumption and expenditures among consumers age 65 and older based on income, heating fuel used, and geographic location. Winter heating costs are likely to be a greater burden on older low-income households than on similarly aged higher-income households, even though low-income households tend to use less heating fuel than other groups. This report will be updated monthly through March 2014 as new data are released.