Health News Roundup

Week of August 28, 2017

Health Equity

Barbershops and churches — ideal places for health news
David Templeton, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 29
A national expert on eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities says churches, barbershops and beauty shops are ideal places to provide African-Americans with health information to help them live longer lives. “Many Americans don’t know what’s available to them,” Stephen B. Thomas said, noting how ethnic and racial groups continue to be divided by ZIP codes when it comes to health care and outcomes. As a result, the stress of poverty, among other socioeconomic factors, leads to chronic illness and earlier death — a situation verified in multiple health studies.

Babies’ race affects quality of care in California neonatal intensive care, study says
Catherine Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, August 27
An infant’s race and ethnicity affect the quality of care they receive in neonatal intensive care units, according to a study by the Stanford University School of Medicine. Asian American and white infants received the highest overall quality of care, according to the study, published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. African American infants had slightly lower scores compared with Asians and whites. Hispanic infants, American Indian and Alaskan Native infants, had significantly lower scores. “Significant racial and/or ethnic differences in quality between and within NICUs are a troubling finding,” the study says.

Federal Health Reform

How to keep ACA stabilization narrow
Drew Altman, Axios, August 31
When Congress returns next week, the health debate will shift from trying to pass sweeping legislation to stabilizing the non-group insurance market. This will be a different debate about a thorny but smaller problem. The weaknesses that need to be fixed are fairly specific, and they don’t affect the majority of Americans. Premiums in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces have been rising sharply. But the non-group market is actually fairly small, covering about 18 million people, with about 10 million of them in the ACA marketplaces which have received so much attention. The rest of the health system where most Americans get their coverage looks very different from the non-group market.

Children’s Health

Congress under deadline pressure to renew health plan for 17,000 Connecticut children
Ana Radelat, The Connecticut Mirror, August 29
The Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, covers children whose families earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, providing health care for children for families of four earning up to $79,458 a year. Authorization for federal funding for the CHIP program, or HUSKY B as it’s known in Connecticut, is set to expire at the end of September. “If CHIP funding is not reauthorized, the impact on the state budget will be dire,” said Connecticut Voices for Children. “Given the ongoing state budget crisis, there are few options for coping with any loss of federal contributions to the HUSKY program.”

In Memoriam

Community mourns passing of Katrina Clark, a giant in local health care
Mary O’Leary, New Haven Register, August 30
Katrina Clark, who lived the dictum that healthcare is a right, not a privilege, was the executive director of the Fair Haven Community Health Center for four decades. The institution, which started as a two-nights a week clinic at the Christopher Columbus School, in 1971, expanded under her direction to a medical facility serving more than 18,000 patients and employing 200 staff members and 62 clinicians at 13 locations. Six of those locations are school-based clinics, of which she was especially proud, as well as innovative programs, such as the collaboration with New Haven Farms, where diabetic patients help out while learning how to control the disease through diet and behavioral changes.