Health News Roundup

How community health centers are addressing the Medicaid unwinding, and more in this week’s roundup

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As CT Medicaid ‘unwinds,’ community health centers help patients
Katy Golvala, The Connecticut Mirror, July 21
Connecticut is in the midst of an immense effort to reevaluate eligibility for thousands of Medicaid enrollees for the first time in three years, following the end of a pandemic policy that prevented states from kicking people off Medicaid. Community health centers are playing a key role in helping patients through the process, reaching out with postcards, text messages, and phone calls. In some cases, the work also includes helping clients who lose coverage get reinstated because they remain eligible.

Asian American doctors, overrepresented in medicine, are largely left out of leadership
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, July 26
For 15 years, orthopedic surgeon Charles S. Day has been working to highlight the striking lack of diversity in his field, publishing studies showing orthopedics had the fewest Black, Hispanic, and female residents of any surgical specialty. Day is Asian American, a group that’s abundant in medicine. But as he dug further, he found that white doctors were more than four times as likely as their Asian American colleagues to be promoted to medical school department chair positions in a wide array of medical specialties. Similar disparities exist in leadership roles in business and tech, as well as in funding for scientific research.

Signature Biden program won’t fix racial gap in air quality, study suggests
Delger Erdenesanaa, The New York Times, July 20
People of color in the U.S. breathe more PM 2.5 pollution – also known as fine particulate matter – than the overall population. Persistent exposure to PM 2.5 can lead to lung cancer, heart attacks or strokes. A White House environmental justice initiative, Justice40, aims to direct 40 percent of the benefits from certain federal environmental investments toward disadvantaged communities. But a new study suggests that the program may not shrink racial disparities in who breathes the most polluted air, in part because of efforts to ensure that it could withstand legal challenges.

First person: Medical debt is making Americans angry. Doctors and hospitals ignore this at their peril.
Noam N. Levey, KFF Health News, July 21
I’ve spent hundreds of hours on the telephone, in the living rooms, and at the kitchen tables of patients who are among the 100 million people in America who have been driven into debt by medical and dental bills. Some of my conversations with patients have been heartbreaking. Some enraging. Many have revealed a deep and disturbing disillusionment with our health care system. Medical providers ignore this at their peril — and at a high risk to Americans’ health.