Health News Roundup

Why one hospital changed its mission, and more in this week’s roundup

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Wealth, not health: For this hospital, closing Chicago’s alarming ‘death gap’ didn’t mean more clinics
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, May 2
Physician David Ansell saw two different Americas, and two very different health care delivery systems. People living near his hospital, Rush University Medical Center, lived an average of 14 years less than residents of Chicago’s Loop just a few miles away. Ansell realized that his work to improve care quality wasn’t addressing the life expectancy gap. He helped convince the hospital board to pursue a new approach. The health system changed its mission from being best in patient care to improving the health of the diverse communities it serves and made equity one of its critical strategies.

This group of young women is seeing a staggering rise in uterine cancer. Experts don’t know why. 
Nada Hassanein, USA Today, April 26
Uterine cancer is generally more common in older women and is long known to disproportionately affect Black women. Now, new research adds to growing evidence that uterine cancer is also rising rapidly among reproductive-aged Hispanic women, adding to the alarming pattern of the disparity among women of color.

For Spanish-speaking Latinas, language gaps — real or perceived — tied to discrimination during labor 
Ambar Castillo, STAT, May 2
A recently published study found that being a primarily Spanish-speaking woman makes you much more likely to experience discrimination during labor — but much less likely to feel pressured to get certain medical interventions. Researchers were surprised by the finding that primary Spanish speakers were much less likely to perceive clinicians pushing them to induce labor or get a cesarean section. Experts offered several theories about why this might be the case.

Report on medical access finds one-third of Black Americans live in ‘cardiology deserts’ 
Elaine Chen, STAT, May 2
Many Black Americans would have to travel across county lines just to find an open spot with a cardiologist, a new analysis found. About 16.8 million Black Americans — roughly 1 in 3 — live in counties with little or no access to heart specialists, according to the report. When zooming in on counties that have sizable Black populations, the analysts found that 72% of these counties are “cardiology deserts.” The findings illustrate the barriers to accessing care for a population that already faces a disproportionate burden from cardiovascular disease.

Over 1 in 5 skip health care due to transportation barriers 
Adriel Bettelheim, Axios, April 28
More than 1 in 5 U.S. adults without access to a vehicle or public transportation missed or skipped a medical appointment in the previous year, according to a new study that sheds light on a key driver of health equity. Though 91% of adults said they had access to a vehicle, the figure was substantially lower for Black adults (81%), those with low family incomes (78%) or a disability (83%) and for individuals with public health insurance (79%) or no coverage (83%).