Thanks to everyone who read and supported the Conn. Health I-Team. Publication of new content stopped as of Dec. 31, 2022. Since 2010 C-HIT has published in-depth public service journalism on a range of topics, including systemic problems within the health care system, health disparities in chronic illnesses, inequities in health care access, barriers to care in under-served communities, including LGBTQ+. C-HIT put a spotlight on the financial relationships between drug and device companies and licensed practitioners, the plight of lead-poisoned children, consistently covered women’s health and veterans’ health, and launched a new feature, Generation Health, aimed at Gen Z and Millennials. To those who allowed us to tell their stories, I’m thankful. Your personal stories enriched ours.
Twenty-five Connecticut hospitals will lose some of their Medicare reimbursement payments starting this month as penalties for having too many readmitted patients. Still, in most cases, the fines are much lower than in previous years, new data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) show. In this year’s evaluation, CMS considered the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on hospitals, excluding data for the first half of 2020 and Medicare patients readmitted with pneumonia, according to a report in Kaiser Health News. Nationally, Medicare is penalizing 2,273 hospitals, the fewest since 2014, with an average payment reduction of 0.43%, Kaiser reported. In Connecticut, 69% of all hospitals in the program face fines, but most are under 1%.
Trinity Ford, a senior year at the Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School in New Haven, writes for her school’s newspaper, is a member of the Journalism Club, and has published a book of short poems.
She also runs the school’s Instagram page. For her project at C-HIT’s multimedia journalism workshop, Trinity opted to try something different – video storytelling. She stopped by the Rainbow Center at the University of Connecticut and interviewed Christopher Richard, the center’s coordinator. https://youtu.be/BS_meOn0QcY
Frank Himmelstein typically works 12 hours a day in the fields of the historic Himmelstein Homestead Farm in Lebanon. Normally, it’s hard work managing fields full of squash, peppers and other vegetables, but July 20 was anything but a normal day. The temperature in Lebanon hit 95 degrees. “It’s not good for people to be working out in this heat,” Himmelstein said on July 21. “Yesterday, well, even I needed to pace myself yesterday.”
The average ‘extremely hot’ day in Connecticut is classified as reaching 90 degrees or above.
Sydnee Assan, a student attending Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Bowie, Maryland, has been interested in politics since the 2016 election and wants to be a broadcast journalist. This December marks the 10th anniversary of the horrific Sandy Hook school shooting where 20 children and 6 adults lost their lives. For her project, Assan decided to look at what has changed since that mass shooting. She interviewed Bill Leukhardt, a veteran journalist and former Hartford Courant reporter, whose step-daughter, Lauren Rousseau, a full-time substitute teacher, was killed that day.
It was hot and humid the week that the Conn. Health I-Team hosted its multimedia journalism workshop in July. So, Lesley Lachman. who is interested in a career as a news anchor and has experience in live broadcasting at News 12, decided to use her skills to create a newscast about the heat. On a 90-degree day, Lachman, a student at Rye High School, ventured outside to do interviews and produced her newscast in two days. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dacy1Ys2oX0
In Connecticut, abortion remains legal after Roe v. Wade was overturned, but there are states that still provide more protection for access to abortion. One of those states is Oregon which is deemed the “Most Protective” state, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Oregon offers abortion without any restrictions based on the gestational age, which is not the same for certain states such as Idaho, Arizona and Utah. In states such as Connecticut, the cutoff for obtaining an abortion is the gestational age of 24 to 26 weeks where there is fetal viability. This means that the fetus can live on its own without help from the womb.
Protests, brought about by the campus’s rates of sexual assault, have swirled around the University of Connecticut since Alexandra Docken’s viral protest in February of her rape investigation. UConn’s subsequent investigation has raised questions and prompted distrust among some prospective students. In the most recent Clery crime report from the university, taken in 2020, there were seven reported cases of rape on the main Storrs campus and five cases of sexual harassment on the UConn Health campus in Farmington. Docken, from Cockeysville, Maryland, told Hearst Connecticut Media that she filed a Title IX complaint with UConn after she was sexually assaulted by a male student at an off-campus party in August 2021. She said she was discouraged by the school’s investigation of her claim and said there should be “major changes” in how these cases are handled.
The number of high school students auditioning for competitive bands has dramatically decreased in Connecticut and the U.S. since the COVID-19 pandemic. Every musician has a predicament– COVID-19 is an airborne virus. They are unable to perform in public. This was a major setback not only for present musicians but also for the generation of high school musicians working to enter the professional world. “From what I’ve gathered from speaking to colleagues across the states, and actually across the nation, our programs have all taken a hit,” said Anne Halloran Tortora, a former music teacher at Saint Bernard High School in Uncasville and the current news editor for the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA).
Avery Santos, a rising senior at Middletown High School, said he felt “isolated” because of COVID-19. The pandemic made it difficult to socialize, and Santos said “my mood went down.”
Covid -19 has affected high school students both mentally and physically. Santos said social distancing “caused a barrier between me and my friends.” Schools implemented social distancing as a safety measure, but students said it limited interactions with their friends. The daily lives of high school students changed dramatically, affecting their education and activities. “I couldn’t go outside without a mask,” Jaikwon Francis, who is going into his senior year at Kennedy High School in Waterbury, said.