Health News Roundup

Disparities in access to long-term services and supports, and more in this week’s roundup

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Study uncovers racial, geographic disparities in LTSS access
Adam Healy, McKnights Home Care, Dec. 19
Disparities in access to long-term services and supports (LTSS) create greater financial and health-related challenges for people of color. A new study found that Black and Hispanic adults aged 55 years old and living in home or community-based settings were far more likely to experience LTSS needs than white adults. Those whose needs were not being met had a nearly 20% higher mortality rate. Many also saw financial impacts. The negative outcomes disproportionately affected people of color.

A Black woman was criminally charged after a miscarriage. It shows the perils of pregnancy post-Roe
Julie Carr Smith, The Associated Press, Dec. 16
A Black Ohio woman who suffered a miscarriage at her home after seeking care has been charged with abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony. Brittany Watts made multiple trips to the hospital after learning her fetus was nonviable before miscarrying. Her case has set off a national conversation about the treatment of pregnant women, especially Black women, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. Even before then, previous studies showed Black women who visited hospitals for prenatal care were 10 times more likely than white women to have child protective services and law enforcement called on them, even when their cases were similar.

CT hits highest level of homelessness on record. A baby was born in a shelter; people are dying
Alison Cross, The Hartford Courant, Dec. 20
The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness said more than 1,000 people are currently living without shelter in the state. The coalition said that is the highest level ever recorded and includes more than 260 adults over the age of 55, and 65 children. Advocates warned the actual number is likely even higher. “When I heard the numbers in a call just last week, I gasped because I was shocked that we would have this many people facing the cold winter,” said Sarah Fox, CEO of The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness. “It’s an inhumane challenge that we’re facing that we need solutions for immediately.”

A new study bolsters evidence that severe obesity is increasing in young kids in the US
Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press, Dec. 18
A new study adds to evidence that severe obesity is becoming more common in young U.S. children. The study looked at children ages 2 to 4 enrolled in the Women, Infants and Children program and found that the percent of kids who were severely obese had increased from 2016 to 2020. The highest rate, about 2.8%, was in Hispanic children. According to experts, severe obesity at a very early age is nearly irreversible and is strongly associated with chronic health problems and an early death.

New doula benefit ‘life-changing’ for California mom
Molly Castle Work, KFF Health News, Dec. 19
When Mia Bloomer found out she was pregnant with her fourth child, she wanted a different birth experience. She wanted to feel empowered, informed, and heard. Six months into her pregnancy, the 26-year-old found a doula who helped her achieve that. In California, the Medicaid program for low-income residents began offering doula services in January. “The fact that I didn’t have to pay anything out-of-pocket was life-changing,” Bloom said. Doulas are being enlisted around the country to combat rising maternal mortality rates. They often act as advocates for birthing parents. In 2021, Black women died at more than 2.5 times the rate of white women.