Archive for the ‘Healthcare’ Category

Uninsured rate drops due to health care law, but signups lag among Hispanics

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

(PBS) The share of Americans without health insurance is dropping to the lowest levels since President Barack Obama took office, but sign-ups under his health care law lag among Hispanics — a big pool of potential beneficiaries.

With just three weeks left to enroll on the new insurance exchanges, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, finds that 15.9 percent of U.S. adults are uninsured thus far in 2014, down from 17.1 percent for the last three months — or calendar quarter— of 2013.

Released Monday, the survey based on more than 28,000 interviews is a major independent effort to track the health care rollout. The drop of 1.2 percentage points in the uninsured rate translates to about 3 million people gaining coverage.

Gallup said the proportion of Americans who are uninsured is on track to drop to the lowest quarterly level it measured since 2008, before Obama took office.

“It’s probably a reasonable hypothesis that the Affordable Care Act is having something to do with this drop,” said Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor-in-chief. “We saw a continuation of the trend we saw last month; it didn’t bounce back up.”

The survey found that almost every major demographic group made progress getting health insurance, although Hispanics lagged.

Full story…

AIDS Outreach Declined As Minority Cases Grew

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

(The Root) Dr. Anthony Jones has been an HIV/AIDS specialist for more than 15 years. During that time the Oakland, Calif., primary care physician has become more and more discouraged as he has watched the AIDS epidemic in the San Francisco Bay area become increasingly more of a problem for the African-American community.

“We're really at a crossroads with HIV in the black community,” laments Dr. Jones. "We have the knowledge and the tools to dramatically impact the spread of HIV and extremely effective medications that can fully suppress the virus. People can have a normal life expectancy. But alack of understanding about perceived risk, lack of access to care, fear and stigma are some of the greatest barriers to improving outcomes among for my patients with HIV disease.”

The statistics support Jones’ perception of the disease. Black Americans have been disproportionately affected by HIV since the beginning of the epidemic, and this disparity continues. Today there are more than 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States, including more than 510,004 black Americans. Although black Americans represent only 12 percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for 44 percent of the new HIV infections in the 2010 data. The rate of new HIV infections was nearly 8 times that of whites and more than twice that of Latinos in 2010. The rate for black men was the highest of any group, more than twice that of Latino men.

Full story…

Hispanic Americans shunning Obamacare

Friday, January 31st, 2014

(Pacific Daily News) Hispanic Americans have a rocky relationship with the Affordable Care Act. After years of planning, the Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov opened two months late and was only officially launched in January. But that was the least of the website's problems.

The finished product turned out to be more punchline than health care portal. The glitchy "Spanglish" site is not only a technical disaster; it's also an embarrassment to the Spanish-language and a sign of disrespect to the Hispanic-American community, for whom much is at stake in the health care debate.

According to the Census Bureau, just under 30 percent of the Hispanic community lacks health insurance. This is 50 percent higher than the African-American rate of 19 percent and nearly triple the white rate of 11 percent.

Despite these numbers, the Affordable Care Act isn't exactly incentivizing us to sign up. Beyond the broken and insulting website, the law encourages Hispanics to forgo health insurance in the same way that it alienates the youth: It's prohibitively expensive.

Full story…

As Parents Age, Asian-Americans Struggle to Obey A Cultural Code

Friday, January 17th, 2014

(New York Times) Two thick blankets wrapped in a cloth tie lay near a pillow on the red leather sofa in Phuong Lu’s living room. Doanh Nguyen, Ms. Lu’s 81-year-old mother, had prepared the blankets for a trip she wanted to take. “She’s ready to go to Vietnam,” Ms. Lu said.

But Ms. Nguyen would not be leaving. The doors were locked from the inside to prevent her from going anywhere — not into the snow that had coated the ground that day outside Ms. Lu’s suburban Philadelphia home, and certainly not to her home country, Vietnam.

Ms. Nguyen has Alzheimer’s disease, and Ms. Lu, 61, a manicurist who stopped working two years ago when her mother’s condition worsened, is her full-time caretaker. In Vietnam, children must stay home and care for their aging parents, Ms. Lu said. Elders “don’t want nursing home,” she said: Being in a nursing home creates “trouble in the head.” The family now relies financially on Ms. Lu’s husband, a construction worker.

In a country that is growing older and more diverse, elder care issues are playing out with particular resonance for many Asian-Americans. The suicide rate for Asian-American and Pacific Islander women over 75 is almost twice that of other women the same age. In 2012, 12.3 percent of Asian-Americans over 65 lived in poverty, compared with 9.1 percent of all Americans over 65. Nearly three-quarters of the 17.3 million Asians in the United States were born abroad, and they face the most vexing issues.

Full story…

Study links racism-related factors and cellular age

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

(Medical News Today) A new study reveals that racism may impact aging at the cellular level. Researchers found signs of accelerated aging in African American men, ages reporting high levels of racial discrimination and who had internalized anti-Black attitudes. Findings from the study, which is the first to link racism-related factors and biological aging, are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Racial disparities in health are well-documented, with African Americans having shorter life expectancy, and a greater likelihood of suffering from aging-related illnesses at younger ages compared to Whites. Accelerated aging at the biological level may be one mechanism linking racism and disease risk.

"We examined a biomarker of systemic aging, known as leukocyte telomere length," explained Dr. David H. Chae, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the study's lead investigator. Shorter telomere length is associated with increased risk of premature death and chronic disease such as diabetesdementiastroke and heart disease. "We found that the African American men who experienced greater racial discrimination and who displayed a stronger bias against their own racial group had the shortest telomeres of those studied."

Full story…

Obamacare Removes Barriers For Women, Latino Entrepreneurs

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

(Tech Crunch) Two months ago Luz Rivas walked away from her job to work full-time on her startup, DIY Girls. As the founder and executive director of the group that is teaching girls about engineering and technology, Rivas had to solve for many variables as she transitioned to her dream job. Health insurance was at the top of the list.

On October 1 open enrollment for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare,” began. A studypublished in May predicted that the ACA would have the effect of creating 1.5 million more entrepreneurs nationwide, but how many of those will come from populations that traditionally are under-represented in the entrepreneurial world?

Full story…

African American women have a harder time losing weight

Monday, January 6th, 2014

(Reuters Health) – African American women who follow the same diet as white women and exercise just as much tend to lose less weight because they burn fewer calories, a new study suggests.

"Many large and well done studies have demonstrated that African American women tend to lose fewer pounds than their Caucasian counterparts," Dr. Ann Smith Barnes told Reuters Health by email.

Smith Barnes studies obesity at Baylor College of Medicine and is the medical director of Weight Management Services and Disease Prevention for the Harris Health System of Houston. She was not involved in the new study.

Scientists haven't been sure what explains those differences in weight loss. One suggestion is that African American women are less likely to adhere to weight loss programs. Another possible explanation is that their bodies need fewer calories.

Full story…

Beverage sugar tax targets minorities’ health

Friday, December 27th, 2013

(Medical News Today) Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages is likely to decrease consumption, resulting in lower rates of diabetesand heart disease, and these health benefits are expected to be greatest for the low-income, Hispanic and African-American Californians who are at highest risk of diabetes, according to a new analysis led by researchers at UC San Francisco.

Over the course of the next decade, lowered incidence of these diseases would save over half a billion dollars in medical costs, concluded the research team, which includes members from Oregon State University and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

The researchers previously modeled the national health effects of a penny-per-ounce tax over the course of 10 years and found that it would reduce consumption among adults by 15 percent, modestly lower the prevalence of diabetes and obesity and prevent tens of thousands of coronary heart events, strokes and premature deaths. The new study considered a range of reductions in sugary beverage consumption among Californians.

In the new study, assuming a decline of 10 to 20 percent in the consumption of soda and other sugary beverages from the tax, researchers concluded that new cases of diabetes and coronary heart disease would drop statewide, and those health benefits would be greatest in poor and minority communities. The analysis, published in the online journal PLOS ONE, predicted that overall, one in 20,000 Californians would avoid diabetes. This estimate would double for Hispanics and poor Californians and triple for African Americans.

Full story…

Six-of-10 uninsured African-Americans helped by government

Friday, December 20th, 2013

(UPI) — Six-of-10 uninsured African-Americans may be eligible for subsidized health insurance, Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, officials say.

A report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calculated the uninsured rates by state and provided several examples of what premiums might look like for African-Americans living in major metropolitan areas.

One-fifth of uninsured African-Americans and permanent residents live the greater Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Detroit metropolitan areas, the report said.

A 27-year-old individual in Atlanta with an income of $25,000 can pay as little as $105 a month for a bronze plan after applying the tax credit, while a family of four with an income of $50,000 could pay $148 a month for a bronze plan after applying the tax credit, the report said.

"The healthcare law is working to address long-standing disparities in healthcare coverage and improve the health of the African-American community," Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of HHS, said in a statement. "Through the health insurance marketplace, 6.8 million uninsured African-Americans have new options for affordable health coverage that covers a range of benefits, including important preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs."

Full story…

First Hispanic and female honored by American Heart Association for volunteerism

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

(NBC) Dr. Ileana L. Piña was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to Miami with she was six in 1959.

In July 2011, Dr. Piña joined Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Centeras professor of medicine and epidemiology and population health, and vice chief for academic affairs, respectively. Her primary role is to reduce re-admission rates for heart failure patients. She also serves as a principal investigator for 11 ongoing research projects and presented on several topics at this year’s American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

Most recently, Dr. Piña was the first Hispanic and female to win the Chairman’s Award for volunteerism from the American Heart Association for her dedication to educating the community about heart health across diverse populations.

How does it feel to be recognized for your long-time dedication to heart health?
Humbling. Blessed. I think there are so many people that deserve this award more than me. I’m humbled to take it especially because I am an immigrant.

At what age did you realize you wanted to study medicine? And what pulled you towards studying cardiology specifically?
I have always loved the smell of hospitals. I was very poor, and my father died when I was nine – he had a heart attack at 49. He took me to school that morning and was dead by 3pm. After he died, my mother and I moved into the projects in Miami. When he died, we didn’t have education [about heart disease] – the American Heart Association had been founded, but that education didn’t get to immigrants like us. My mother died when I was 19 of cirrhosis of the liver.

Full story…

Dr. Ileana L. Piña was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to Miami with she was six in 1959.

In July 2011, Dr. Piña joined Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Centeras professor of medicine and epidemiology and population health, and vice chief for academic affairs, respectively. Her primary role is to reduce re-admission rates for heart failure patients. She also serves as a principal investigator for 11 ongoing research projects and presented on several topics at this year’s American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

Most recently, Dr. Piña was the first Hispanic and female to win the Chairman’s Award for volunteerism from the American Heart Association for her dedication to educating the community about heart health across diverse populations.

How does it feel to be recognized for your long-time dedication to heart health?
Humbling. Blessed. I think there are so many people that deserve this award more than me. I’m humbled to take it especially because I am an immigrant.

At what age did you realize you wanted to study medicine? And what pulled you towards studying cardiology specifically?
I have always loved the smell of hospitals. I was very poor, and my father died when I was nine – he had a heart attack at 49. He took me to school that morning and was dead by 3pm. After he died, my mother and I moved into the projects in Miami. When he died, we didn’t have education [about heart disease] – the American Heart Association had been founded, but that education didn’t get to immigrants like us. My mother died when I was 19 of cirrhosis of the liver.

Dr. Ileana L. Piña was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to Miami with she was six in 1959.

In July 2011, Dr. Piña joined Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Centeras professor of medicine and epidemiology and population health, and vice chief for academic affairs, respectively. Her primary role is to reduce re-admission rates for heart failure patients. She also serves as a principal investigator for 11 ongoing research projects and presented on several topics at this year’s American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

Most recently, Dr. Piña was the first Hispanic and female to win the Chairman’s Award for volunteerism from the American Heart Association for her dedication to educating the community about heart health across diverse populations.

How does it feel to be recognized for your long-time dedication to heart health?
Humbling. Blessed. I think there are so many people that deserve this award more than me. I’m humbled to take it especially because I am an immigrant.

At what age did you realize you wanted to study medicine? And what pulled you towards studying cardiology specifically?
I have always loved the smell of hospitals. I was very poor, and my father died when I was nine – he had a heart attack at 49. He took me to school that morning and was dead by 3pm. After he died, my mother and I moved into the projects in Miami. When he died, we didn’t have education [about heart disease] – the American Heart Association had been founded, but that education didn’t get to immigrants like us. My mother died when I was 19 of cirrhosis of the liver.

Dr. Ileana L. Piña was born in Havana, Cuba and moved to Miami with she was six in 1959.

In July 2011, Dr. Piña joined Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Centeras professor of medicine and epidemiology and population health, and vice chief for academic affairs, respectively. Her primary role is to reduce re-admission rates for heart failure patients. She also serves as a principal investigator for 11 ongoing research projects and presented on several topics at this year’s American Heart Association Scientific Sessions.

Most recently, Dr. Piña was the first Hispanic and female to win the Chairman’s Award for volunteerism from the American Heart Association for her dedication to educating the community about heart health across diverse populations.

How does it feel to be recognized for your long-time dedication to heart health?
Humbling. Blessed. I think there are so many people that deserve this award more than me. I’m humbled to take it especially because I am an immigrant.

At what age did you realize you wanted to study medicine? And what pulled you towards studying cardiology specifically?
I have always loved the smell of hospitals. I was very poor, and my father died when I was nine – he had a heart attack at 49. He took me to school that morning and was dead by 3pm. After he died, my mother and I moved into the projects in Miami. When he died, we didn’t have education [about heart disease] – the American Heart Association had been founded, but that education didn’t get to immigrants like us. My mother died when I was 19 of cirrhosis of the liver.

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