Health News Roundup

The link between health, air quality, and climate change, and more in this week’s roundup

To get these headlines delivered to your inbox every week, sign up for our weekly health news roundup.

Air quality can affect health. Climate change is worsening both.
Jan Ellen Spiegel, The Connecticut Mirror, Jan. 22
Air quality is both cause and effect when it comes to the nexus with climate change. Emissions from motor vehicle tailpipes and burning fossil fuels cause the bad air. Those emissions also contribute to global warming, which can in turn cause or exacerbate air quality degradation. Either way – the results manifest squarely as health issues in ways that may not always be obvious.

6.8 million expected to lose Medicaid when paperwork hurdles return
Alan Yu, NPR, Jan. 24
The Medicaid measure known as “continuous enrollment” – originally included in the federal public health emergency declaration – will end on March 31. The federal government expects 6.8 million people to lose their coverage even though they are still eligible, based on historical trends looking at paperwork and other administrative hurdles. Research shows that disruptions in Medicaid coverage can lead to delayed care, less preventative care, and higher health costs associated with not managing chronic conditions.

Latino teens are deputized as health educators to sway the unvaccinated
Heidi de Marco, Kaiser Health News, Jan. 24
Seventeen-year-old Alma Gallegos was often approached by her peers with questions about COVID-19 testing, vaccine safety, and the value of booster shots. Community health groups across the country are training teens like Alma, many of them Hispanic or Latino, and deputizing them to serve as health educators at school, on social media, and in communities where COVID vaccine fears persist.

A deadly epidural, delivered by a doctor with a history of mistakes
Joseph Goldstein, The New York Times, Jan. 23
Inspectors recently found that an anesthesiologist at a public hospital in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Brooklyn made numerous errors in administering epidurals. For Sha-Asia Semple, Dr. Shelchkov’s mistake was fatal. Although mistakes like this are rare, the inspectors’ report paints a larger picture about the quality of care at a hospital that predominantly serves low-income people of color. Research has identified hospital quality as a factor that contributes to the stark racial disparities in maternal mortality.

Unmet needs: Critics cite failures in health care for vulnerable foster children
Andy Miller and Rebecca Grapevine, Kaiser Health News, Jan. 25
Even though nearly all children in foster care are eligible for Medicaid, gaps in health care for these children are widespread across the country. Regardless of a state’s Medicaid structure, getting timely access to the appropriate level of physical and mental health care for many children in foster care is a problem. Advocates recommend creating a larger benefits package for foster kids, coordinating better care, and raising Medicaid reimbursement rates.