Health News Roundup

A simple intervention to keep Black moms healthier, and more in this week’s roundup

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The simple intervention that may keep Black moms healthier
Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, NPR, March 28
Blood pressure is just one way to measure a person’s health, but during pregnancy and soon after, it’s a critical metric. Unchecked, high blood pressure can contribute to serious complications for the pregnant person and baby, and increase the risk of death – particularly for Black women. A program at Boston Medical Center that allows pregnant people to track their blood pressure at home daily allows doctors and nurses to spot issues early and act sooner.

End of COVID emergency will usher in changes across the US health system
Rachana Pradhan, Kaiser Health News, March 22
The Biden administration’s decision to end the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration in May will institute sweeping changes across the health care system that go far beyond many people having to pay more for COVID tests. This includes changes to both nursing home and hospital staffing leniencies, rolling back access to medication for people in recovery from opioid addiction, and the end of infectious disease reporting requirements.

What the COVID-19 pandemic and mpox outbreak taught us about reducing health disparities
Margo Snipe and Kenya Hunter, Capital B News, March 27
Across the country, communities are discussing ways to apply lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and mpox outbreak to other health disparities, from the flu to cardiovascular disease. Communities in Massachusetts, California, and Georgia recount strategies in slowing COVID-19 and mpox’s impact on Black communities. The approaches largely included free access to testing, vaccination, and trustworthy information from community leaders.

CT’s health costs increasing twice as fast as goal set by Lamont
Mark Pazniokas, The Connecticut Mirror, March 28
Connecticut is one of nine states trying to benchmark health costs and spending on primary care. The first benchmark report found that health costs in the state rose by 6% in 2021, double the goal set by Governor Ned Lamont to limit cost growth to 2.9% in each of the next three years. Only 5% of the total $34 billion in health costs went to primary care, which is crucial to preventing or stabilizing chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Cleaner air helps everyone. It helps Black communities a lot. 
Elena Shao, The New York Times, March 24
The Environmental Protection Agency is considering new standards for the maximum amount of fine particulate matter in outdoor air. A recent study found that implementing stricter limits could reduce mortality rates by up to 7% for Black and low-income Americans over 65. Some environmental justice advocates say the standards should be even stricter to protect the most vulnerable communities.