Health News Roundup

Week of August 7, 2017


Blacks looking within their communities to bridge health disparities
Deborah Barfield Berry, USA Today, August 7
In a small room down the hall in the Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, about two dozen people listened as Donald Solomon rattled off ailments ravaging African-American communities. “We’re a sick crowd … Whatever is wrong in the country, we have it worse. We need to get health into the church,” said Solomon, a founder of Congregations for Public Health and co-author of Body and Soul, a healthy living guide for church leaders. The conference was one of several efforts nationwide aimed at helping close the health gap between blacks and whites.

‘Bureaucratic ninjas’ slice red-tape to battle health disparities
Kristian Foden-Vencil, Oregon Public Broadcasting, August 7
When a receptionist hands out a form to fill out at a doctor’s office, the questions are usually about medical issues. But some health organizations are now asking much more general questions: Do you have trouble paying your bills? Do you feel safe at home? Do you have enough to eat? Research shows these factors can be as important to health as exercise habits or whether you get enough sleep.


Bipartisan health policy coalition urges Congress to strengthen the ACA
Amy Goldstein, The Washington Post, August 9
An unlikely coalition of liberal and conservative health-policy leaders is calling on Congress to strengthen the existing health-care law in a variety of ways to help Americans get and keep insurance. The group is urging the government, in particular, to continue paying all the federal subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act and to help Americans enroll in coverage. In a five-point set of principles issued Wednesday, the coalition lays out a potential bipartisan path forward after a Republican strategy to tilt federal health policies in more conservative directions failed in the Senate last month.

Congress revamps housing program to benefit areas where HIV Is spreading
Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, Kaiser Health News, August 7
Shyronn Jones, 39, has struggled financially since she was diagnosed with HIV. She was once a homeowner in New York, but when she moved to Atlanta several years ago, the only housing she could afford was an apartment in a crime-ridden pocket of the city. She was having trouble getting medical care, her white blood cell count dipped to dangerously low levels, and her mental health deteriorated. But then, a housing assistance organization connected Jones to HOPWA, which helped her to move into a better neighborhood with a nearby grocery store, post office and park, where her daughter can play.


Connecticut gets mixed reviews for cancer prevention
Jack Kramer, CT News Junkie, August 3
Connecticut was one of only two states that put no money toward a tobacco prevention and cessation program in fiscal year 2017. New Jersey was the only other state that failed to allocate any funds to their program. “Comprehensive, adequately funded tobacco control programs reduce tobacco use and tobacco-related disease, which in turn reduces tobacco-related health care costs,” said Bryte Johnson, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Connecticut. Since the state has yet to adopt a budget for the next two years, it’s not too late for Connecticut to consider funding these programs.