Health News Roundup

Paying hospitals to keep people out, overlooking autism in minority children, and more in this week’s roundup

health equity

Use of HIV-prevention drug grows, but lags among non-whites
Anna Gorman, Kaiser Health News, March 15
Eric Russell, 24, recently joined a health support group for young Latino and black gay men, where he learned about the HIV-prevention pill known as PrEP. The Los Angeles man started taking the drug this year and now encourages other young minority men to do the same. In 2015, 44 percent of people who could potentially have benefited from PrEP were African-Americans, but only 1.4 percent of those — 7,000 out of about 500,000— had prescriptions for PrEP.

Black and Latino children are often overlooked when it comes to autism
Casey Rentz, NPR, March 19
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a disease that affects people of all races and ethnicities, but research shows that African-American and Latino children with autism are diagnosed at older ages than white children, giving them less of an opportunity for proper intervention and treatment.

health care delivery

Paying hospitals to keep people out of hospitals? It works in Maryland.
Jay Hancock, Baltimore Sun, March 16
In the four years since Maryland implemented a statewide system of pushing hospitals to reduce admissions, such savings are adding up to hundreds of millions of dollars for the taxpayers, employers and others who ultimately pay the bills, a new report shows.

Medicaid is rural America’s financial midwife
Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News, March 12
Started in 1965, Medicaid today is part of the financial bedrock of rural hospitals. As treatments have become increasingly sophisticated — and expensive — health care has become inextricably linked to Medicaid in rural areas, which are often home to lower-income and more medically needy people. Medicaid pays for close to 45 percent of all U.S. births annually, and about 51 percent of rural births, according to research.


Extensive data shows punishing reach of racism for black boys
Emily Badger, Claire Cain Miller, Adam Pearce, Kevin Quealy, New York Times, March 19
Black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds, according to a sweeping new study that traced the lives of millions of children. Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America. And the gaps only worsen in the kind of neighborhoods that promise low poverty and good schools.