A Norwalk-based exterminator was called to an apartment building in the New Haven area and, entering one unit, he found the walls “dripping with bed bugs.”
The same company, Bliss Pest Control of Connecticut, answered a call from a Greenwich resident who had recently returned from one of his frequent business trips. His family was regularly waking up with bites. The culprit? Bed bugs. “Bliss gets calls all the time for that very story,” Michael Lawrence, area district manager of Bliss, wrote in an email.
Struggles with unemployment, food insecurity and unstable housing can take a serious toll on individuals’ health, and stronger social supports could play a key role in improving their well-being, according to an advocacy group. While national health reform and the Affordable Care Act have focused largely on improving access to and the quality of health care, socioeconomic factors – like housing, employment and food security – play a larger role in someone’s overall health than clinical factors, according to the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut. “Health is affected by many other things, not just whether you have access to a doctor, access to health care,” said Jill Zorn, senior policy officer at the foundation. “If you’re really interested in improving health, it’s not just about clinical care.”
In fact, just 20 percent of a person’s health is attributed to clinical are, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another 10 percent is attributed to physical environment, 30 percent to health behaviors and 40 percent – the largest share – is tied to socioeconomic factors, according to the CDC.
Governors in some of the states with the highest rate of uninsured people – including Louisiana, Texas, and Florida – insist they’ll opt out of the Medicaid expansion offered under the Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare. One political website (Politico.com) calls them the “hell-no” states.
Local public health officials and health care providers are zeroing in on health disparities by using the “health equity index,” an online tool to measure the correlation between health and the socioeconomic factors that define a community.
E.O. Manufacturing, a West Haven company specializing in industrial machinery, has been violating toxic waste laws for at least a decade, despite fines and legal action—a record that has earned it a spot on a national hazardous waste ‘watch list.’
The state claims that the Horton Place facility, which is adjacent to a middle school, was handling and managing hazardous wastes improperly. Although the state Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Attorney General’s office initiated action against E.O. more than three years ago, the company continues to dodge penalties and remediation orders.
Multi-million dollar initiatives to help at-risk and parenting teens across Connecticut call for “evidence-based” and “culturally appropriate” approaches – the mantra of experts assisting Hispanic youth, who have the highest number of teen births in the state.
While teen pregnancy rates have declined nationwide and in Connecticut, statistics and interviews show an intergenerational cycle of children-bearing-children puts Hispanic teens in Connecticut at risk of giving birth once, or even twice, before their twenties.
The state legislature has adopted a provision that will make it easier for the Connecticut Medical Examining Board to discipline doctors who have faced license suspension or disciplinary action in other states.