Health News Roundup

Medicaid expansion decreasing disparities in early breast cancer detection, and more in this week’s roundup

Medicaid expansion tied to early breast cancer detection 
Cara Rosner, The Connecticut Health Investigative Team, July 1
In states where Medicaid was expanded under the Affordable Care Act, women are more likely to receive breast cancer diagnoses at an early stage, compared with women in other states, new research shows. Nationally, the decline in late-stage detection rates was even more notable among Black women: diagnoses dropped from 25% to 21% in expansion states, with no significant difference in non-expansion states.

Study highlights worsening disparities amid COVID-19 pandemic
Jenna Carlesso, The Connecticut Mirror, July 6
Inequities in health care, education, economic stability and housing have persisted for years in Connecticut, fueling disparate health outcomes, life expectancies, employment opportunities and personal wealth. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought these disparities into sharp focus, amplifying problems that have long festered. researchers with New Haven-based DataHaven concluded in a new report about social inequity and the impact of coronavirus. In the study, DataHaven examined how discrimination and other social factors led to the disparate outcomes.
Related: The fullest look yet at the racial inequity of coronavirus, Richard A. Oppel Jr., Robert Gebeloff, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Will Wright and Mitch Smith, The New York Times, July 5

Opinion: Community health workers are essential in this crisis. We need more of them. 
Shreya Kangovi, Uché Blackstock, The Washington Post, July 3
In Jacksonville, Fla., where the novel coronavirus is surging quickly, a community health worker named Maribel Santos talked with a Latinx line cook who had been exposed to COVID-19. The cook had not responded to calls and texts from the county health department contact tracers for fear that he would lose his job if he had to quarantine. Santos listened to the cook’s concerns, discussed the matter with his employer and then referred him for testing. The cook and his elderly mother tested positive; they both quarantined and recovered, and he went back to work a few weeks later.

In the COVID-19 death of a hospital food worker, a microcosm of the pandemic
Eric Boodman, STAT, June 30
The first employee to die of COVID-19 at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital was a Haitian kitchen worker named Marie Deus. The clinicians who cared for her knew her from the halls and knew she didn’t have all that much patient contact. If a hospital food worker was this sick, what did that mean for them? But it turned out that her illness was part of a pattern. Among the 25,000 or so people who staff the hospitals and clinics of Brigham Health, certain units that didn’t have much patient contact were testing positive more than their bedside colleagues.

New Haven’s effort to help the hardest hit: minority-owned small businesses
Mark Pazniokas, The Connecticut Mirror, July 7
With businesses owned by minorities and women suffering disproportionately during the COVID-19 pandemic, philanthropists and the city are underwriting a $1.5 million emergency loan program that targets small businesses owned by women and minorities.