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Combating human trafficking in San Diego—yes, it’s a local issue.

Becker’s Hospital Review recently published an article I wrote with Dr. Hanni Stoklosa, founder of HEAL Trafficking, titled: “The role of health systems in combating human trafficking.” Though they’re often viewed as issues overseas, both labor and sex trafficking are present in San Diego as well.

Research from Point Loma Nazarene University found that “sex trafficking in San Diego County represents an estimated $810 million in annual revenue and impacts more than 1,766 commercially sexually exploited persons a year, mostly teenage girls with an average age of entry below 15 years old.”

In addition, San Diego State University researchers estimate that up to “31% of undocumented, Spanish-speaking migrant workers interviewed in San Diego County had experienced labor trafficking.”

Health system leaders can help combat human trafficking by implementing a protocol and educating staff on the signs of trafficking. HEAL Trafficking offers various resources for organizations, such as a human trafficking protocol toolkit. For more information, contact me and read our article here.

Christopher K. Lee, MPH, CPHQ is Clinical Solutions Marketing Manager at Family Health Centers of San Diego.

In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.

MACRA, Medicare, health policy

Last month Modern Healthcare published an article titled: “Many Medicare ACOs would quit rather than face risk next year.” In fact, 71% of ACOs surveyed said they would disband if forced to assume risk. Six years after the program began, we’re reminded that policy is one thing—implementation is another.

In April, SOHL hosted a panel on translating policy into practice.

Dr. Ashby Wolfe, Chief Medical Officer of CMS Region IX, gave a special presentation on MACRA and the Quality Payment Program (QPP). She showed how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI)’s initiatives fit together toward a unified vision. There is, in fact, a method behind the madness.

Joining her were Vanessa Schatzberg from UC San Diego Health and Jan Sebring from Family Health Centers of San Diego. Nick Macchione, Director of San Diego County HHSA, moderated the panel.

Vanessa manages UCSD’s physician ACO and clinically integrated network. She shared lessons learned from the health system’s journey—tying together policy and practice from an operational standpoint.

A nurse practitioner by background, Jan works with providers to build order sets and decision aids in the clinic’s homegrown EHR system. Jan gave the boots-on-the-ground clinical perspective. She paraphrased a quote from The Martian (2015) to characterize implementing change in healthcare: You do the math, then work the problem, then do the math… and so on.

Judging from providers’ reactions to taking downside risk, it seems that the CMS needs to do the math and work the problem some more.

Christopher K. Lee, MPH, CPHQ is Clinical Solutions Marketing Manager at Family Health Centers of San Diego.