Health News Roundup

Everything you need to know about open enrollment, using midwives to improve maternal mortality, and more

maternal health

Midwives could be key to reversing maternal mortality trends
Elizabeth Heubeck, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, October 30
Despite the fact that an estimated 85 percent of women are appropriate for midwife care, midwives attend about 11 percent of births in Connecticut, said Holly Kennedy, professor of midwifery at Yale School of Nursing. By contrast, about half of all babies in England are delivered by midwives, according to National Health Services statistics. Kennedy sees a direct correlation between lower use of midwives and higher maternal mortality.

health care

Taking the pulse of the gubernatorial candidates’ views on health care
Mackenzie Rigg, The Connecticut Mirror, October 30
The three leading gubernatorial candidates all agree that government must protect insurance coverage for pre-existing medical conditions — a key provision of the Affordable Care Act — and that the opioid epidemic is a major public health crisis that must continue to be a top priority. They also all say that more needs to be done to bring down the costs of expensive prescription drugs and support Medicaid expansion — an issue being fought in elections outside of Connecticut — which extended coverage to low-income adults who do not have minor children and were not disabled. But that’s essentially where the agreement ends.

One tiny government office transforming the way health care is delivered
Mattie Quinn, Governing The States and Localities, November 2018
In Ohio, a small office created by Gov. John Kasich has become a truly transformational force in health care, bringing together state agencies, improving access to behavioral health care, shifting payment for health care to reward quality, and getting the private sector to participate in health reform. “When you have an office like this that respects and supports them to think big, it’s incredible — especially as health care continues to cut across so many sectors,” said Trish Riley, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy.

For the disabled, a doctor’s visit can be literally an obstacle course — and the laws can’t help
Rachel Bluth, The Washington Post, October 28
Laws meant to prohibit discrimination against the disabled fall short when it comes to visiting the doctor’s office, leaving patients with disabilities to navigate a tricky obstacle course that not only leaves them feeling awkward but also jeopardizes their care. Despite laws that require ramps and wider doors for access, many medical offices don’t have scales that can accommodate wheelchairs, or adjustable exam tables for patients who cannot get up on one.

FAQs: Health insurance marketplace and the ACA
The Kaiser Family Foundation
Questions about open enrollment? Here are lots of answers.

child health

ER visits for children in crisis up 20% over two years
Martha Shanahan, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, November 1
The number of Medicaid-insured children treated in Connecticut emergency rooms for behavioral health crises rose 20 percent between 2014 and 2016, mirroring a national trend – despite efforts to provide non-ER treatments, according to a study of Medicaid-eligible patients ages 18 and younger commissioned by the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI). Hospital emergency departments are often ill-equipped to handle children experiencing behavioral health crises. Those children may benefit more from treatment at community mental health centers, schools or a pediatrician’s office.