Health News Roundup

Busier hospitals widen care disparities for Black patients, and more in this week’s roundup

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Busier hospitals widen care disparities for Black patients
Shooshan Danagoulian, Tradeoffs, Oct. 4
New research finds that racial bias may be magnified when a hospital is at capacity. Black patients are more likely to access care at under-resourced hospitals, and this study’s results suggest that such chronic capacity strains may be driving the disparity in the quality of care provided to these communities.

Emergency room patients are waiting hours in hallways, studies report. ‘It’s a crisis,’ says a CT doctor
Ed Stannard, Hartford Courant, Oct. 4
More patients who come to hospital emergency departments are waiting for hours to be admitted, often on gurneys in the hallways, and more are leaving before they even get seen by a doctor, according to two new studies. The long delays in moving a patient from the ED to a hospital bed, or even in getting an ambulance to bring them home or to another facility, is creating the major backup.

On the Texas-Mexico border, a bold plan to diversify Alzheimer’s research takes shape
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, Sept. 28
For decades, Alzheimer’s researchers have recruited patients for clinical trials who were overwhelmingly privileged, well-insured, and white. It’s an approach that’s been increasingly criticized for its lack of inclusion. Hispanic people, for example, make up more than 18% of the U.S. population, are among groups more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease, yet accounted for only 2% of participants in Alzheimer’s clinical trials as of 2019. A researcher and her team traveled to Texas’ Rio Grande Valley to change that.

CT state workers more likely to get preventive health care than other groups, but disparities exist
Sujata Srinivasan, Connecticut Public Radio, Sept. 28
The Office of the State Comptroller has released the first health equity report on the state employee health plan. The report finds that the state plan outperformed other insurance plans across all racial groups for cancer screening and chronic disease management. However, there are disparities for Black and Hispanic members of the plan; they were more likely to seek emergency care and less likely to make preventive visits.

In Fort Myers, Black residents fear hurricane aid will bypass their neighbors
Margo Snipe, Capital B, Sept. 30
More than 2 million Floridians lost power due to Hurricane Ian last week, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the U.S. Across Lee County, which bore the brunt of the storm, there is a significant income disparity between Black and white families. About 26% of Black families are living in poverty, double the rate for white families. The disparity suggests that recovering from a natural disaster – which requires significant resources, time, and money – may disproportionately burden Black residents.