Health News Roundup

Measuring patients’ administrative burden, and more in this week’s roundup

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Forms and phone calls and faxes, oh my! Measuring patients’ admin burden
Ishani Ganguli, Tradeoffs, Sept. 24
A new study explored the effects of administrative tasks that make accessing health care difficult. About a quarter of those surveyed said they had delayed or skipped care as a result of an administrative task, but white adults and adults with higher incomes were less likely to delay or forego care. Solutions to reduce the administrative burden must prioritize equity or such gaps may widen.

Expert panel recommends against use of race in assessment of kidney function
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT News, Sept. 23
New recommendations from an expert task force opposed the use of race-based algorithms in the assessment of kidney disease. Although Black Americans are four times more likely than white Americans to have kidney failure, using race-based tools perpetuates the message that skin color drives biology, and such assumptions may even cause additional harm. Advocates and health care professionals applaud this revised approach as one step toward health equity in kidney assessment and treatment.

These schools use weekly testing to keep kids in class – and COVID out
Christine Herman, Kaiser Health News, Sept. 27
Almost half of Illinois’ 2 million students grades K-12 attend schools rolling out regular testing for COVID-19. As students under 12 remain unvaccinated, regular testing has added a layer of protection and ease of mind for students and staff alike. Despite being a big lift to coordinate and implement, administrators at one Illinois school reported that the school might have avoided more than a dozen potential outbreaks because of testing.

Many unvaccinated people are not opposed to getting a shot. The challenge is trying to get it to them.
Meryl Kornfield, The Washington Post, Sept. 23
A recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services revealed that about 44% of unvaccinated people are willing to get a shot or remain unsure. Some face barriers, such as a lack of transportation, while others wish to wait and see or don’t know coronavirus vaccines are free. Several clinics are relying on grant funding and other resources to get the vaccine to as many people as possible.

‘Health equity tourists’: How white scholars are colonizing research on health disparities
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT News, Sept. 23
As research about health equity gains more attention, a recent STAT investigation revealed that many of the scholars publishing health equity research are white, well-funded, and have little background in the topic. Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic researchers who have long contributed to the field of health equity research see this as a microcosm of larger structural racism, and seek to gain the credit they deserve and use this time as a teachable moment.