Hearing aids might reduce dementia risk says research by Elham Mahmoudi, a 2019 Health Policy Fellow

“The new study also suggests using hearing aids might help delay the onset of dementia in some people, and it’s the largest study to date to look at this possible connection.”

CHRT Health Policy Fellow Dr. Elham Mahmoudi

Research by Elham Mahmoudi, a 2019 CHRT Health Policy Fellow, is cited in “Research into the health effects of hearing loss suggests hearing aids might reduce dementia risk” by Consumer Reports.

“For people with hearing loss, using a hearing aid is associated with a reduced risk of three common health problems of aging — dementia, depression and falls — according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

This study adds to the growing body of research that links hearing loss to memory issues and dementia. “Cognitive decline is much higher among people with hearing loss,” says study author Elham Mahmoudi, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Michigan.”

Read more of this Consumer Reports story…

Rheingans in “Michigan finds some success fighting opiate crisis on front line: emergency rooms”

“The biggest challenge that ER docs have is that if somebody is ready for treatment, there’s not a place for them to go. Treatment can be different things for different people.”

Carrie Rheingans, acting human services director, CHRT

Carrie Rheingans, acting human services director, is quoted in this Bridge Michigan article by Ted Roelofs.

“A couple of months ago, Detroit resident Juanita Gross was desperate to turn her life around. She had a $200 a day opioid habit. She had already overdosed three times – and feared the next one might be her last,” writes Ted Roelofs in Bridge Michigan.

“So she had her two adult children drive her to the Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace Hospital emergency room, still in withdrawal from a mix of cocaine and the opioid oxycodone. Doctors there stabilized her and contacted Team Wellness Center Detroit, a mental health and substance abuse treatment agency….A day later, Gross was given an addiction medication that contained buprenorphine, considered by experts a potential life-saving treatment for opioid addiction when linked to comprehensive therapy….”

“Without this, I would be still using or dead or OD’d. It definitely saved my life,” Gross told Roelofs, who describes the effort as “part of a broader movement in Michigan and nationally to attack the opiate crisis on its frontline: the emergency room. The effort comes as opiate-related deaths reached a record high of 2,033 in Michigan in 2017, the last year of available data.”

Read more at Bridge Michigan…

Riba in “Michigan is facing a shortage of primary care doctors. Where does that leave patients?”

“… the length of time it takes people to get in to primary care. I think that’s a real issue.”


Melissa Riba


Carol Thompson of the Lansing State Journal notes that according to CHRT Research and Evaluation Director Melissa Riba, “over 80 percent of Michigan’s primary care physicians indicated they could take new patients” and 87 percent of patients “said they could get primary care fairly easily.” However, Thompson notes “physicians might say they can accept new patients, but that doesn’t mean they can accept them soon.”

Riba has heard similar anecdotes of patients who say they struggle to find a doctor to suit their health care needs, and “[W]hatever shortage patients feel now likely will get worse within the decade.,” writes Thompson. The article goos on to point out “In CHRT’s Michigan Physician Survey, about 45 percent of the physicians surveyed indicated they would retire and close their practices within 10 years.”

Read more at Lansing State Journal…


Subscribe to your doctor? A new model for medical care is catching doctors’ attention

“How do we better support primary care so we have viable numbers of primary care physicians for the future?”


Marianne Udow-Phillips


“Before insurance companies, and co-pays, and filing claims, the relationship between doctors and patients was simple,” notes Michigan Radio. “Those who needed medical care would visit their doctor’s office or request a house call. Once that care was provided, the doctor was paid directly. Some physicians are bringing that model into the 21st century by offering direct primary care to their patients on a subscription basis.”

On Michigan Radio’s Stateside with Cynthia Canty, “Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the Center for Health and Research Transformation at the University of Michigan, notes that this model isn’t affordable for everyone, particularly because direct primary care doesn’t replace insurance….”

Hear more at Michigan Radio…


Budget fight looms over changes in Medicaid mental health in Michigan

“How we should deliver mental health services in Michigan is really a crucial issue. It’s a core question that is still on the table.”


Marianne Udow-Phillips

September 27th, 2019

“Mental health advocates are pressing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to veto budget provisions they say could “irreparably damage” care for 300,000 low-income people in Michigan with serious mental illness or developmental disabilities,” writes Ted Roelofs for Bridge Michigan.

“While overshadowed by other budget showdowns, their warnings are the latest in a long-simmering skirmish over who should manage care for these individuals.

Under a plan first proposed by GOP Gov. Rick Snyder in 2016, Michigan was to privatize its $2.4 billion public mental health system by turning over state funding to Medicaid physical health plans as part of a plan to integrate physical and mental-health services for low-income patients.

Proponents said that merger would save millions of dollars while improving care. Critics said the switch would leave care for mentally ill and disabled in the wrong hands.”

Read more at Bridge Michigan…

CHRT Board member named University Distinguished Professor

John Z. Ayanian, Alice Hamilton Distinguished University Professor of Medicine and Healthcare Policy. He also is the Alice Hamilton Collegiate Professor of Medicine, director of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and professor of internal medicine, Medical School; professor of health management and policy, School of Public Health; and professor of public policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

July 18th, 2019

Six faculty members have received one of the University of Michigan’s top honors as Distinguished University Professors.

The Board of Regents approved the appointments on July 18. They are effective Sept. 1.

Recently appointed DUPs are invited to give an inaugural lecture.

Read more at The University Record…

To improve health, boost Medicaid dental reimbursement rates, by CHRT Fellow Dr. Romesh Nalliah

“Michigan’s outdated, 29-year-old Medicaid reimbursement rates are a vestige of a different time, and a significant factor in a structure that can encourage inefficient use of healthcare resources and result in costly, suboptimal dental care for many people.”


Dr. Romesh Nalliah

June 25th, 2019

We know that preventive dental care services are highly valued and sought after by consumers. Nevertheless, every year about 440,000 Americans covered by Medicaid end up in the Emergency Room with a dental complaint, costing Medicaid over $310 million annually. The average ER charge for a dental emergency is $760, the average charge for a dental examination, routine x-rays and cleaning is a little less than $235.

While research shows that there are far fewer medically-related hospital admissions for those who regularly receive preventive dental care, and that individuals having insurance are much more likely to seek preventive care and have better clinical outcomes, too few dentists participate in Medicaid to resolve this imbalance. So, despite overwhelming evidence that preventive dental care costs less and keeps patients healthier, the overreliance on costly, taxpayer-funded emergency room dental care continues nationally, and in Michigan.

Read more at Bridge Michigan…