429: New Fall Prevention Guide, Debt Debate Drags On

Katherine Palm, Senior Program Analyst for Injury and Violence Prevention with the National Association of County and City Health Officials, details a new clinical fall prevention guide; Carolyn Mullen, ASTHO Senior Vice President, Government Affairs...

Katherine Palm, Senior Program Analyst for Injury and Violence Prevention with the National Association of County and City Health Officials, details a new clinical fall prevention guide; Carolyn Mullen, ASTHO Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Relations, explains frustrations with the ongoing debt ceiling debate; Maggie Davis, ASTHO Director of State Health Policy, takes part in an ASTHO webinar to discuss the need to preserve laws that enable agencies to protect communities; and Kimberly Henderson, Harris County Public Health Department Deputy Chief of Staff, shares advice in a new ASTHO blog article. 


NACCHO: Developing the Capacity to Support Clinical Older Adult Fall Prevention

ASTHO Webinar: Protecting Public Health Authority: Law, Equity & the Public Health Workforce

ASTHO: Four Questions with Public Health Communications Expert Kimberly Henderson


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This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Friday, May 26, 2023. I'm Robert Johnson. Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.



Falls among older adults are extremely costly. They cost about $50 billion every year on medical costs, and one in three older adults experience a fall.


Katherine Palm is with the National Association of County and City Health Officials. With money from the CDC, she and others at NACCHO have created a guide to fall prevention for older adults. Their work began with input from local health and fire departments.


From there, after drafting the guide, we met with eight local health departments who were wonderful in this process and also subject matter experts in geriatrics. And we created this multidisciplinary team that reviewed our guide and essentially provided feedback about what is feasible, what we should consider to further develop our guide, what is important to include.


The guide is an exhaustive resource intended to help agencies plan and implement a fall prevention program in their communities.


So we're hoping that local health departments will be able to meet with other community partners who address the needs of older adults within their communities and essentially take this guide to lead them through conversations and different considerations that they can take to essentially make programs and healthcare referrals a little bit more accessible for older adults, and create this referral based system so that they can access as much as they can to prevent falls.


You can download the NACCHO guide using the link in the show notes.


The debate over the federal debt ceiling continues in Washington. ASTHO's Carolyn Mullen is tracking the negotiations to reach an agreement. Her update this week comes to us from the sidelines of the ASTHO TechXpo in Chicago.

Carolyn Mullen, it feels like Groundhog Day a little bit. Here we are again, another week has passed, and we are still talking about the debt ceiling. What is the latest?


That is right, Robert. It is like Groundhog Day. And it's very unfortunate that our leaders of this great country cannot get their act together, to be frank. And if you sense the frustration of my voice, that is because I am indeed frustrated, as an advocate, that we are here once again waiting til the last minute to get a deal done.


The deadline is coming up—it's the first of June. What happens if no deal is done by then?


So first and foremost, we really would prefer a bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling. That is the preferred route. However, there are a number of options on the table, such as a short term extension of the debt ceiling, or there could be a discharge petition in the House that would require 218 signatures. There are 213 Democrats in the House, 211 have signed thus far; so we still have a ways to go if there's to be a discharge petition, which means the House could bring up a Senate-approved bill by the minority, which is the Democratic Party.

Another option that's been talked about in the press is pursuing a Social Security trust fund. Another option is bonds, or the President could use the 14th Amendment, or they could mint the coin. Each one of those—beyond just the short-term extension—has never been done in our nation's history, and we're not sure about the legal footing of all of those options. So ideally, we really want President Biden and the leaders to come to a deal so that we don't get to this point of brinksmanship next week.


ASTHO's members clearly know what is at stake, but what is your message to them right now as they watch all of this happening here in Washington?


My top message to my members is to remain calm, to not make any decisions right now until we see a deal in writing. And second of all, I am an optimistic person; so I have great faith in the leaders of this great country, that they will come together and come up with a deal to raise our debt ceiling.


Well, Carolyn Mullen, as you know, we'll have a chance to talk about this again. So let's hope that when we do, that topic will be different.


I certainly hope so. We'll see you then.



Also today, ASTHO's resident expert on public health authority, Maggie Davis, will discuss the need to preserve laws that enable agencies to protect communities during a webinar planned for Tuesday, May 30. You can sign up using the link in the show notes.


Finally this morning, a familiar face in public health communications is moving to a new position away from Washington D.C. Dr. Kimberly Henderson offers ASTHO members some parting advice in a new ASTHO blog article. Read it now using the link in the show notes.


That'll do it for today's newscast. We're off Monday for Memorial Day, but back Tuesday morning with more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great holiday weekend.

Katherine Palm MSW

Senior Program Analyst, Injury and Violence Prevention, NACCHO

Carolyn Mullen

Senior Vice President, Government Affairs & PR, ASTHO