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Health News Roundup

Women and minorities are more likely to be misdiagnosed, and more in this week’s roundup

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Women and minorities bear the brunt of medical misdiagnosis
Liz Szabo, KFF Health News, Jan. 18
Each year, 12 million adults in the U.S. are misdiagnosed. Women and racial and ethnic minorities are at the highest risk, about 20-30% more likely than white men to experience a misdiagnosis. A new study found that nearly 1 in 4 hospital patients who died or were transferred to intensive care had experienced a diagnostic error. Researchers call misdiagnosis an urgent public health problem. “The vast majority of diagnoses can be made by getting to know the patient’s story really well, asking follow-up questions, examining the patient, and ordering basic tests,” said Hardeep Singh, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine who studies ways to improve diagnosis.

New York’s new doula plan will cover services for anyone on Medicaid
Anika Nayak, STAT News, Jan. 12
As of January 1, doula services are covered for any New Yorker on Medicaid. The presence of a doula during pregnancy can improve health outcomes related to labor and delivery, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Doula care is often unaffordable for low-income women and women of color in the U.S., who face higher risks of birth-related complications and postpartum-related mental health conditions. New York is one of 11 states plus Washington D.C. that reimburse doula services through Medicaid.

Cancer deaths declining overall, but troubling increase for colon and breast cancer in younger adults: Report
Aishwarya Thakur, ABC News, Jan. 17
The American Cancer Society expects that in 2024, the number of new cancer diagnoses in the United States will top two million for the first time ever. That is nearly 5,500 cancer diagnoses a day. A new report reveals that while cancer deaths are declining, more people are being diagnosed and at an earlier age. Colon and breast cancer now exceed lung cancer as leading causes of cancer death for those under the age of 50. Uterine cancer was the only cancer for which death rates across all age groups have been increasing over the past 40 years. Experts suggest that is likely due to racial disparities.

Black and Latino Connecticut residents face greater chances of losing their homes, new report says
Eddy Martinez, Connecticut Public Radio, Jan. 17
According to a new report by Connecticut Voices for Children, Black and Latino residents in Connecticut face higher chances of losing their homes and getting evicted across the state. The report found that Black and Latino homeowners had higher rates of delinquencies on their mortgage payments than the state average. Researchers said high home prices due to low housing stock are correlated to higher rates of subprime mortgages, where money is lent to people who would otherwise not qualify for traditional mortgages, resulting in higher interest rates.

As she drives research on structural racism in health care, Rachel Hardeman faces a painful reckoning
Usha Lee McFarling, STAT News, Jan. 12
Rachel Hardeman examines the many ways in which structural racism contributes to poor health for Black people. She’s published research including findings that Black newborns are less likely to die when cared for by Black physicians. Hardeman is a professor at the University of Minnesota and the head of the Center for Antiracism Research for Health Equity in Minneapolis. Hardeman’s argument is clear: To end the deep inequities that underlie health disparities, society must transform and dismantle the effects of unjust practices, like redlining of neighborhoods, restricted educational opportunities, and environmental racism.