The racial disparity between white and black cancer patients in accessing timely treatments has virtually disappeared in states where Medicaid expanded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a new study. Yale Cancer Center researchers analyzed more than 30,000 health records and found that, prior to Medicaid expansion, black adults with advanced or metastatic cancer were 4.8 percentage points less likely than white adults to begin treatments within 30 days of being diagnosed. But in states where Medicaid was expanded, in 2014 or later, the percentage of black patients getting timely treatment rose from 43.5 percent to 49.6 percent. There also was a small improvement in expansion states among white patients receiving timely treatment – from 48.3 percent to 50.3 percent – bringing the post-expansion difference between the two racial groups to less than one percentage point. “Our results suggest that Medicaid expansion led to improved health equity,” said study author Amy Davidoff, a senior research scientist at Yale School of Public Health and in Yale Cancer Center’s Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research Center (COPPER).
The legislative session began with Democratic lawmakers, advocates and state Comptroller Kevin Lembo all confident that a series of long-sought big ticket health care reforms — including a public option for small businesses — were finally within reach. When the session ended at midnight Wednesday, however, virtually their entire agenda had failed to pass, with several major initiatives dying in the final hours. It was a bitter pill for health care proponents, particularly the death of the public option. In the end, the state’s powerful insurance and hospital interests proved too big an obstacle to overcome, advocates said. As of May 10, the most recent date for which records are available, the biggest and most powerful among them had spent nearly $3 million on lobbying during the session, including $480,079 by the Connecticut Hospital Association and $191,021 by Yale New Haven Hospital.
While the American theocracy tightens its stranglehold on the wombs of women in Georgia, Alabama, Missouri and elsewhere, how safe are the women of Connecticut, which has some of the country’s least restrictive abortion laws? As always, your safety may depend on your income. Women with means will always be able to get abortions, whether that means spending money to travel where they are available, and finding (and paying) a doctor willing to perform the operation. But women who live in poverty are always vulnerable to the vagaries of politics, said Sarah Croucher, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut executive director. Connecticut is good for women, but women who are poor may have some significant challenges if abortion is restricted nationally.
The most permanent decision of Kelsey’s life began when she walked into the saloon-style Lucky Soul Tattoo shop in Woodbridge, Connecticut, on a Thursday afternoon. Kelsey, an 18-year-old high school senior, was grieving over the loss of her beloved black cat, and wanted to memorialize their companionship. “I want to do something of sentimental value but I’m scared of it not coming out the way I like,” said Kelsey, 18, who did not wish to give her last name. She’s part of a growing trend. Body modification, especially professional tattooing, has become more popular in recent years.
After being rejected twice, a Connecticut Army veteran has been awarded federal disability benefits for terminal brain cancer he contends was caused by exposure to open burn pits in Afghanistan. Peter Antioho, 33, of Berlin, had to walk daily through heavy smoke emanating from burn pits as he performed his job as second in command on his base in 2012. A variety of items, including human and animal waste, plastic, ammunition and batteries were burned with diesel fuel 24 hours a day in open pits. He was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer two years ago. (The Conn.
The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday disciplined five doctors, including fining a West Hartford psychiatrist $7,500 for prescribing excessive doses of Xanax and fining a Hamden ophthalmologist $7,500 for having a consensual relationship with an adult patient. The board also reprimanded the medical license of the psychiatrist, Dr. Dale Wallington, for performing an inadequate diagnosis of the patient and for failing to implement strategies between 2008 and 2017 to prevent the patient’s abuse of Xanax and Vyvanse, a consent order Wallington agreed to said. Vyvanse is used to treat attention deficit disorder. The board also placed Wallington’s license on probation for 18 months, during which he must take a course in prescribing practices and hire a physician to review a portion of his medical records, the order said. In a letter to the state Department of Public Health, the patient’s parents complained about Wallington’s care of their son and objected to the consent order.
Getting to the hospital quickly after suffering a stroke improves your chances of survival, but in Connecticut there are areas where access to the top level of stroke care is limited, health experts say. Two hospitals, Yale New Haven Hospital’s main campus and Hartford Hospital, are nationally certified as Comprehensive Stroke Care Centers, providing the highest level of stroke care available, which includes 24-hour access to neurological practitioners and the ability to perform complex endovascular therapies, including thrombectomies and endovascular coiling of an aneurysm, among other surgeries. Yale and Hartford hospitals are two of only 178 certified nationally as comprehensive stroke centers, according to The Joint Commission, which certifies hospitals. But when time is critical, traveling to New Haven or Hartford can be a risky commute from the northwestern and northeastern parts and other parts of the state, where hospitals certified in stroke care are sparse. In all, the state has 23 hospitals that are certified in some level of stroke care, up from 16 in 2013.
Slowly—but perhaps surely—the country is beginning to address maternal mortality, both through legislation and through initiatives on the part of health care providers. This is critical. We have lost countless women to pregnancy and childbirth, and the majority of those deaths didn’t have to happen. This holds true especially for mothers of color. Black and American Indian/Alaska Native women are about three times as likely to die from pregnancy as white women, according to a study released earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Board of Examiners for Nursing on Wednesday disciplined 10 nurses, including revoking the licenses of three nurses and imposing fines on two others. The board revoked the licensed practical nurse license of Laurie Davidson of Bolton after finding that she failed to properly document medical records while working in 2015 as a nurse at Walnut Hill Care Center in New Britain. Davidson has an 18-year history of substance abuse and was suspected of taking “excessive” amounts of drugs from Walnut Hill, the board’s memorandum of decision said. The board revoked the registered nurse license of Amanda Alarcon of Shelton for failing to attend therapy sessions or submit to drug tests, its memorandum of decision said. Those were violations of a four-year probation that the board imposed in 2017 because she had abused heroin between 2011 and 2014, state records show.
Every day for 10 months in 2012, Peter Antioho walked through dense, black smoke from an open burn pit on his Army base in Afghanistan. Human and medical waste, plastic water bottles, ammunition and chemicals were among the materials burned with diesel fuel 24 hours a day. Five years later, Antioho was diagnosed with an aggressive, terminal brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme. The West Point graduate and Berlin resident was 31 when he was diagnosed, young for this cancer. He was second in command at his base, but now, with symptoms that include memory loss and impaired vision, speech and motor function, he can’t work.