Health News Roundup

The lifelong consequences of growing up homeless in Connecticut, and more in this week’s roundup

Nicholas Bakalar, The New York Times, January 27
African-American men with prostate cancer are almost twice as likely to die from the illness as white men with the same disease. Disparities in medical care, rather than racial differences in the course of the cancer, may be a large part of the explanation, a new study suggests.
Serena Gordon, U.S. News & World Report, January 27 
A new study shows that having black men tested for diabetes at barbershops could be a way to ensure more timely diagnoses. Previous studies have shown that because barbershops are a trusted community place among black men, they can be ideal settings to screen for high blood pressure by removing the usual barriers to care. A new study offered customers diabetes screenings at eight New York City barbershops. Among those who took the test, 10 percent learned they had average blood sugar levels that indicated type 2 diabetes. And almost 30% appeared to have prediabetes.
Peggy McCarthy, Connecticut Health Investigative Team, January 29 
The repercussions of being homeless as a child younger than age six can be lifelong, and the strain often shows in their speech, behavior, development and health, according to child-care workers and experts. They may be nonverbal, or act out. They’re often sick, but may not have a pediatrician. They may not even know how to brush their teeth. Now, for the first time, the state, children’s advocates and housing organizations are participating in an initiative that focuses specifically on pregnant women and children under 6 who are homeless or housing unstable. The three-year, $1 million collaborative intends to prevent homelessness and collect data, with the hope of avoiding lifelong problems and costly remedies.
Christine Stuart, CT News Junkie, January 30 
Federal funding for a state-run health information exchange expires in September 2021, and Connecticut officials are working to get that system up and running before the money runs out. Currently, many providers have their own electronic record systems, but aside from some small networks in the state, there’s no way to share that information across networks or health systems. The Health Information Exchange will be a place for all Connecticut health care providers to share patient data electronically.
>>> To learn more about what’s happening with the health information exchange in CT, read our policy brief 

Anna Almendrala and Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News, January 24
A high-profile effort in Camden, New Jersey, to reduce health spending by identifying high-cost patients and giving them more coordinated and preventive medical care has been copied around the country. Many of those groups are pushing forward with their efforts, despite a recent critical study of the Camden initiative.