Health News Roundup

Lawmakers eye expanding maternal health care, and more in this week’s roundup

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Legislation would expand access to maternal health services
Cris Villalonga-Vivoni, Record-Journal, March 16
Lawmakers are considering ways to address access to maternal health services. A proposal by Gov. Ned Lamont would address the harrowing racial disparities in maternal mortality by creating a license category for birthing centers, establishing a state certification process for doulas and midwives, and opening a universal nursing visitation program for new parents.

COVID worsened a health crisis among pregnant women
Roni Caryn Rabin, The New York Times, March 16
The National Center for Health Statistics reported recently that 1,205 pregnant people died in 2021, representing a 40 percent increase in maternal deaths compared to 2020. A separate report cited COVID as a contributing factor in at least 400 of those deaths. The deaths tell only part of the story: For each person who died of a pregnancy-related complication, there were many others who experienced severe illness that can lead to premature birth, long-term health issues, lost wages, medical bills, and psychological trauma.

The US remains a grim leader in preterm births. Why? And can we fix it?
Sarah Varney, Kaiser Health News, March 16
In its 2022 report card, the March of Dimes found that preterm birth rates increased in nearly every US state from 2020 to 2021. Studies have documented the stressful effects of racism that can heighten the risk for premature labor. With an increase in abortion bans after Roe v. Wade was overturned, many maternal-fetal specialists worry that the incidence of premature births will soar.

CT Hispanic population faces risk of Medicaid coverage loss
Edwin J. Viera, Public News Service, March 17
The state will soon begin checking people’s eligibility for their Medicaid coverage, a practice that was paused at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This shift may put people at risk for losing their coverage, and some are at greater risk. Hispanic groups are calling for an effort that ensures information is easy to understand, culturally competent, and shared in multiple languages.

Connecticut health inequality: DataHaven report exposes stark disparities
Sujata Srinivasan, Connecticut Public Radio, March 20
New data featured in the 2023 Community Wellbeing Index shines a light on longstanding health disparities in our state. The study underscores how different social factors impact health: For example, people in Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven said they missed doctor appointments due to a lack of transportation at a rate more than double the statewide average in 2022.