Health News Roundup

Health care for formerly incarcerated people, and more in this week’s roundup

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Reentry programs to help formerly incarcerated obtain health care are often underused
Renuka Rayasam, Kaiser Health News, March 8
More than 600,000 people are released from state and federal prisons every year in the U.S., and the majority have health conditions. Yet, despite official policies, people regularly leave prison or jail lacking medications, medical records, a provider appointment, or health insurance. California recently received federal approval of a waiver to allow incarcerated people to get services through Medicaid 90 days before release. More than a dozen other states are also pursuing similar waivers.

Living with diabetes, finding support for her healthier lifestyle
Cris Villalonga-Vivoni, Record-Journal, March 5
Diabetes is a chronic condition that disproportionately affects people of color. Treatment for the condition often requires a village of support that can help to provide resources, education, and clinical management. For Maritza Hernandez of New Britain, her village included Leo Ortiz, who is a community health worker and diabetes educator for Meriden’s Community Health Center.

Data measuring the health of Greater Hartford communities finds increasing economic, racial disparities
Susan Dunne, Hartford Courant, March 14
The latest research compiled in the 2023 Community Wellbeing Indexes paints a bleak picture of life for the state’s less well-off residents and people of color. The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the widening of these longstanding disparities, particularly as pandemic relief programs rolled back. Data from the report shows that food insecurity in Black and Hispanic homes statewide increased and that renters in urban areas were significantly more likely to face eviction.

National Academies calls for transforming use of racial and ethnic labels in genetics research
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, March 14
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issued a new report that calls for changing how racial and ethnic labels are used in attempting to capture the complex patterns of human genetic variation. While categories such as Black, Asian, or Hispanic may be needed for record-keeping, the report said they are not appropriate to study genetic variation. Such methods of grouping people are outdated and may result in poor scientific results and misguided interpretations.

Black patients dress up and modify speech to reduce bias, California survey shows
Annie Sciacca, Kaiser Health News, March 10
recent study from the California Health Care Foundation called attention to the effort that Black patients must exert to get quality care from health providers. More than a quarter of respondents avoided medical care simply because they thought they would be treated poorly. For those who sought medical care, it often required a burden of additional energy, including: Bringing a companion into the exam room with them, modifying their speech or behavior, or signaling to providers that they are educated, knowledgeable, and prepared.