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Health Disparities Round-Up – April 24, 2015

Medical building flatJust in case you missed it, here’s some of the latest health disparities news, posts and reports from this past week.

Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut: CT Ranks Near Bottom in New Hospital Rating – “Medicare released the new Hospital Compare system, a five-star rating system for hospital quality reports. Kaiser Health News and NPR report that the federal government awarded the first star ratings based on patient surveys. Connecticut ranked near the bottom of all states, with an average hospital rating of 2.9 stars. 63% of our hospitals received three stars, while 22% were rated with two stars, and 15% receiving four. No Connecticut hospitals received one or five stars.” >> Read more

Kaiser Health News: Relying On The Health Care Safety Net: Choosing Between Dinner And A Medical Test – “Although at times in the past she had been covered by private insurance through her employer, she no longer had that option. And she discovered that while more than 1.5 million Floridians now have insurance through the Affordable Care Act, she falls into a category of healthcare have-nots called the coverage gap. Too poor to qualify for financial aid to make insurance more affordable under the health law commonly known as Obamacare, Louis and some 850,000 Florida residents were supposed to have been covered under Medicaid — if the state had chosen to expand the program as provided under the ACA.” >> Read more

Huffington Post: As We Celebrate National Minority Health Month, Let’s Challenge Stigma and Shame – “April is dedicated to focusing on health care needs and disparities within communities of color in the United States. This month, the Office of Minority Health, a part of the Department of Health and Human Services joins with its partners in raising public awareness about health and health care disparities that continue to affect racial and ethnic minorities and efforts to advance health equity. Latinos in the U.S. have important health care needs that we must make visible, and in April we have the perfect opportunity. One of the issues that rarely gets the attention it deserves is our community’s access to reproductive health care. This month, let’s look together at the advancements as well as the ongoing reproductive health care needs of Latinos in the U.S.” >> Read more

Science 2.0: Racial Disparity In Cancer Mortality Continued To Narrow After 2000 – “Cancer mortality remains significantly elevated among African-Americans but if recent trends continue, cancer outcomes will disappear over time, according to a new analysis of “Health Equity” – defined by the US Department of Health and Human Services as the highest level of health for all people. Between 2000 and 2010, overall mortality from cancer decreased faster among African American women and men than among Caucasians but they are still not equal. In 2010, for example, the total mortality rate from cancer was approximately 20 percent higher among African-Americans than among European-Americans. The causes of this disparity are complex, but risk factors for cancer that disproportionately affect African-Americans are assumed to be low education and income, and living in less healthy neighborhoods with reduced access to quality health care.” >> Read more

Diabetes Insider: Study Finds Obesity Linked With Cancer Risk More often in African American Males – “And a new study certainly indicates this; that while obesity is a major problem in the United States, certain cancers seem to prefer African American males who are obese (over other races and even over the other gender).” >> Read more

Think Progress: The Difficulties With People Of Color Using Their New Health Insurance – “Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more than 16.5 million people — particularly low-income Americans and people of color — have enrolled in an insurance plan for the first time, giving proponents of the health care law reason to praise it as a tool in protecting marginalized populations. A new study, however, points out that will take much more than Obamacare itself to close the persistent racial and socioeconomic disparities in health care access.” >> Read more

CTPost.com: For next president, a way out of the health care fights? – “WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican or Democrat, the next president will have the chance to remake the nation’s health care overhaul without fighting Congress. The law signed by President Barack Obama includes a waiver that, starting in 2017, would let states take federal dollars now invested in the overhaul and use them to redesign their own health care systems.” >> Read more

SaludToday: Latino Kids Experience 2x More Tooth Decay – “Did you know Latino kids have more cavities than other kids? Latino kids experience tooth decay at higher rates and are twice as likely as their White and African American peers to experience untreated tooth decay, the nation’s top chronic childhood illness, research indicates. “Our Latino youth are experiencing disproportionate levels of dental cavities,” says Dr. Leslie Renee Townsend, regional director of Texas-based Jefferson Dental Clinics. “It is clear that is time to intervene on advancing oral health initiatives aimed at creating good dental health habits from an early age.”” >> Read more

The Clinical Advisor: Inequality kills — but what can providers do about it? – “While I was working on creating a health equity resource toolkit for providers, I came across a wonderful Ted Talk from 2011 by British public health researcher Richard Wilkinson. The talk focused on the wide-ranging impact of income inequality on individuals. Wilkinson identifies health as one of the biggest areas affected by income inequality. Wilkinson’s body of research is fascinating, and it’s really helped me build a framework for understanding how health disparities occur, and why they persist.” >> Read more

NPR Shots: What’s At Stake If Supreme Court Eliminates Your Obamacare Subsidy – “The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty. To help coax people to buy a health plan, the federal government now subsidizes premiums for millions of Americans. Supporters of the Affordable Care Act celebrate outside the Supreme Court in 2012, after a divided court upheld the law as constitutional by a 5-to-4 vote. The latest battle, which the Supreme Court hears Wednesday, is over whether people who buy insurance through federally run exchanges are eligible for subsidies. In just a couple of months, the Supreme Court will rule on a major case concerning those subsidies. The question to be decided is whether the law authorized that financial help nationwide or just in the minority of states that set up their own insurance exchanges. A decision to take away those subsidies could leave millions without insurance.” >> Read more

The Register Citizen: Pew research: Connecticut share of Medicaid spending increased 5.1% from 2000 to 2013 – “Connecticut spent 5.1 percent more of its own money on Medicaid coverage for low-income residents in fiscal year 2013 than in fiscal 2000, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report. This state was one of 49 that spent an increased percentage of its own revenues on the joint federal-state health care program.” >> Read more

CBS Connecticut: Affordable Care Act Linked To Increase In Food Stamp Signup – “CHICAGO (AP) _ President Barack Obama’s health care law has had a surprising side effect: In some states, it appears to be enticing more Americans to apply for food stamps, even as the economy improves. New, streamlined application systems built for the health care overhaul are making it easier for people to enroll in government benefit programs, including insurance coverage and food stamps. In most affected states, the enrollment increases were not huge, ranging from 1 percent to 6 percent over two years, according to an Associated Press analysis. The sole exception was Nevada, where enrollment shot up 14 percent.” >> Read more

About Gina Hernandez

Gina Hernandez is a Program Director at the Society for New Communications Research and has worked 7+ years in the digital communications field. Prior to joining the Society for New Communications Research, Gina worked at re: Imagine group, where she where she led media and blogger outreach and agency research.

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