Health News Roundup

A new tool helps CT residents compare the costs of medical procedures, and more in this week’s roundup

Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie, October 8
The Office of Health Strategy rolled out a new medical procedure cost estimator now available on The new public database draws on information from the state’s All-Payer Claims Database and allows consumers to compare the cost of about 46 outpatient and inpatient procedures across Connecticut’s hospitals. The Office cautioned that the cost data is complex and should serve as a starting point for discussion about why costs are what they are and why they vary so much between hospitals.
Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, October 7
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) nationwide campaign to land jobs for one million formerly incarcerated people made a stop in New Haven with a pitch focused on encouraging hospitals to step up as “second chance” employers. Hospitals are many of Connecticut cities’ largest employers. The NAACP has prioritized this jobs campaign because of the disproportionate impact that mass incarceration has had on black and brown communities. Now that states like Connecticut have been working toward reducing their prison populations and shutting down prisons, civil rights organizations have to work more closely with the government and with employers to make sure that those returning home from prison aren’t barred from the workforce because of their criminal history.
Shraddha Chakradhar, STAT, October 10
Ever since a 2011 study supported the long-held notion that black scientists were significantly less likely than white researchers to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health, researchers have sought to better understand why. A recent study found that clinical research that focused on population-level interventions and socioeconomic disparities is less likely to be funded than research on cellular and molecular mechanisms. At the same time, black researchers are more likely to be working in areas that focus on patient- and community-level interventions, making these scientists less likely to receive NIH funding. Another key takeaway from the study is that the number of black applicants is very small; out of the 160,000 applications, only 0.5% were from black scientists.
Nicole Leonard, WNPR, October 7
While the ACA has done much to revolutionize parts of the health care system in the U.S., the health law isn’t perfect and the system remains fragmented with more needing to be done to realize its full potential. After it was signed into law, the ACA expanded health insurance coverage to millions of people in the United States, especially low- and middle-income residents. It also helped young adults keep their parent’s insurance up to age 26, it required insurers to cover pre-existing conditions, eliminated lifetime limits, expanded coverage for preventative services and more. With all that the ACA has done to provide coverage, some issues remain like few carriers in rural and other areas as well as rising deductibles and premiums that are making it hard for patients to afford or use their health insurance.