Health Equity and Access Weekly Roundup: February 3, 2024

Health Equity and Access Weekly Roundup: February 3, 2024

Housing stability and adequate health care are essential for physical and mental health

Serena Sloane, a CNA and single mother in Pittsburgh, was initially skeptical, but she shared her positive experiences with Fabric Health and UPMC health plans. In her laundromat, she emphasizes the connection between stable living conditions and overall health, emphasizing the impact of stress on well-being. Serena encouraged others in similar situations to seek help and expressed a desire for improved, possibly free, health care in the United States, advocating for accessible services to benefit those facing financial hardship.

Health disparities in the criminal justice system are intrinsically linked to public health

This feature article explores how incarceration, considered a social determinant of health by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, exacerbates health inequalities in the United States, which has the largest incarcerated population in the world. Prisoners are at higher risk of contracting communicable and non-communicable diseases due to factors such as poor ventilation and inadequate diet. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the public health impacts, with incarcerated individuals experiencing higher rates of morbidity and mortality. The need for policy changes, improved testing and harm reduction programs for diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS was highlighted, while the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, which are influenced by factors such as chronic stress, was also discussed.

Certain behavioral and social factors associated with hospitalization for DKA in T1D patients

A recent study found that 26% of patients with type 1 diabetes admitted to the hospital for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) had multiple admissions over a 2-year period. Substance use disorders, particularly marijuana use, were independently associated with these repeat admissions. This study highlights the need for targeted interventions to reduce DKA recurrence in specific patient groups. There were no significant differences in psychosocial factors, diabetes diagnostic laboratory values, or length of stay between patients with single and multiple DKA admissions.

Study shows mental health disparities among trans, non-binary communities

A Lancet public health analysis shows that non-binary transgender people are at significantly higher risk of long-term mental health problems than cisgender people. Non-binary trans people face a staggering 47.2% risk. Discrimination and barriers to health care are thought to be possible contributors to these disparities. The authors highlight the urgent need for inclusive healthcare practices, professional training and wider social and legal improvements to support the mental health of trans and non-binary communities.

The Path to Health Equity in 2024: The Evolution of Accountability

Part 1 and Part 2

In 2024, The Joint Commission (TJC) and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) are implementing measures to address health disparities and improve health equity, with a focus on social determinants of health (SDOH). CMS has introduced equity-centered process measures, including screening for social drivers of health, while NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) is expanding measures and introducing stratification by race and ethnicity. The TJC established new requirements to reduce health care disparities, and CMS adopted a 10-year framework of health equity priorities. These standardized measures are designed to contribute to greater health equity by increasing transparency, setting benchmarks for health care quality, and incentivizing SDOH data collection.

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