Health News Roundup

CT mulls Medicaid payments for community health workers, and more in this week’s roundup

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CT mulls Medicaid reimbursement for community health workers
Katy Golvala, The Connecticut Mirror, April 18
Community health workers are frontline staff who build relationships with people to better connect them to health care or social services. They often are a part of the communities they serve, like Monya Saunders, who is a CHW at Transitions Clinic Network in New Haven. She is a formerly incarcerated person who helps others who are leaving prison navigate re-entry. Legislators are considering ways to allow for Medicaid reimbursement for CHW services, meaning that these services would be more sustainable or could be expanded.

Some say Biden’s expansion of health care for DACA doesn’t go far enough
Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie, April 14
Connecticut advocates and lawmakers applauded a recent move by President Biden that would expand health care coverage to DACA recipients, but said it doesn’t go far enough. The federal DACA program provides protection of thousands of young immigrants, but the program is no longer taking new applications. In addition, current DACA recipients make up only a small percent of Connecticut’s immigrant population. Advocates say that’s why Connecticut needs to make sure that all immigrants regardless of their status have access to health coverage.

In counties with more Black doctors, Black people live longer, “astonishing” study finds
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT, April 14
Black people in counties with more Black primary care physicians live longer, according to a new national analysis that provides the strongest evidence yet that increasing the diversity of the medical workforce may be key to ending deeply entrenched racial health disparities. While other studies have shown that when Black patients are treated by Black doctors they are more satisfied and receive better care, this study is the first to make the link to longer life expectancy and lower mortality.

Black pregnant women are tested more frequently for drug use, study suggests
Roni Caryn Rabin, The New York Times, April 14
Hospitals are more likely to drug test Black people during pregnancy than white people, regardless of a documented history of substance use, suggests a new study of a health system in Pennsylvania. The study found that such excessive testing was unwarranted: Black people were less likely than white people to test positive for drugs. The study authors urged hospitals to examine their drug testing practices to address racial biases.

As pandemic emergencies end, people battling long COVID feel ‘swept under the rug’
Jackie Fortiér, KFF Health News, April 18
The CDC recently estimated that 6% of all U.S. adults, or about 16 million people, were experiencing long COVID, or ongoing health problems that continue or emerge after a COVID-19 infection. Facing the end of the federal public health emergency in May, many people experiencing the lingering effects of the virus say they feel angry and abandoned by policymakers eager to move on.