Health News Roundup

Black pregnant women fear discrimination and dying, and more in this week’s roundup

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Black women may prefer Black OBs due to fear of discrimination, dying during pregnancy
Claretta Bellamy, NBC News, Feb. 14
A new study suggests that Black pregnant women may prefer to see a Black obstetrician due to fear of discrimination and dying during pregnancy or childbirth. Researchers interviewed women and conducted focus groups about their past experiences with obstetric care and their perspectives about having a Black obstetrician. Some women shared instances of racial stereotyping, feelings of not being heard, and a preference for Black doctors. Experts argue there are very real effects of not paying attention to pregnant Black patients and not investigating their concerns, including death and severe illness.

CT advocates rally for further expansion of HUSKY for immigrants
Katy Golvala and Jenna Carlesso, The Connecticut Mirror, Feb. 14
Supporters of expanding HUSKY coverage for undocumented people in Connecticut, called on state lawmakers to take action. Right now, children ages 12 and under can access the state’s Medicaid program regardless of their immigration status. The eligibility threshold will increase to ages 15 and under on July 1. Pregnant people also have access to prenatal and postpartum care. Nearly 60% of undocumented immigrants in Connecticut are still shut out of coverage, according to the HUSKY 4 Immigrants coalition.

The hidden racial bias in US lung cancer screening policy
Melba Newsome, Undark Magazine, Jan. 31
Though lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer and screening is seen as a critical first line of defense, there are strict criteria for deciding who can receive preventive lung cancer screening, and when. Black Americans tend to develop lung cancer at higher rates and at younger ages than their white counterparts, despite on average smoking fewer cigarettes. Yet researchers found that high-risk Black smokers were being excluded from screening at more than one and a half times the rate of white smokers. When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently revised its lung cancer screening guidelines, it narrowed the racial screening gap, but did not close it.

Nearly half of health care workers have witnessed racism, discrimination, report shows
Ken Alltucker, USA Today, Feb. 15
A new report based on interviews with 3,000 health care workers found that nearly half of them witnessed discrimination against patients in their workplace. Employees at health facilities with a higher percentage of Black or Latino patients witnessed higher rates of discrimination. Researchers collected replies from more than two dozen types of health care workers, including doctors, nurses, and dentists. The report also found that younger and Black or Latino health care workers were more likely than their older or white counterparts to say they noticed discrimination against patients.

GoFundMe has become a health care utility
Elisabeth Rosenthal, KFF Health News, Feb. 12
In the early years, it funded honeymoon trips, graduation gifts, and church missions to overseas hospitals in need. Now GoFundMe has become a go-to platform for patients trying to escape medical billing nightmares. Crowdfunding for medical care is no longer seen as unusual, but rather is normalized as a part of the health system – so much so that in some cases, patient advocates and hospital financial aid officers recommend it. A spokesperson for GoFundMe said medical expenses is the most common category of fundraisers the site hosts.