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Center on Health Equity and Access Weekly Roundup: March 30, 2024

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The Center on Health Equity and Access shares up-to-date news, research progress, and ongoing initiatives dedicated to tackling health care disparities and enhancing overall access to quality care.

The Pivotal Role of Payers in Improving Health Equity, Maternal Health Care in the US

At the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH) 2024 Women’s Health Summit, Randa Deaton emphasized the crucial role of payers, like employers, in improving maternal health and equity in health care purchasing. She highlighted investing in primary care, prioritizing maternal health, and advocating for better postpartum care as strategies to address this. Deaton further urged employers to use their purchasing power to address the alarming rates of maternal mortality and disparities in the United States.

Pat Van Burkleo: Feeding Louisiana Helps Address Underutilized SNAP Benefits in Community

In this interview, Pat Van Burkleo, the executive director of Feeding Louisiana, discusses the organization's outreach efforts and the role of food banks in providing access to resources. Van Burkleo spoke about the importance of connecting individuals with local food banks, highlighting outreach programs such as SNAP outreach to increase enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Additionally, he mentioned efforts to address food deserts and provide education on SNAP benefits, emphasizing the role of food banks in providing emergency assistance to those in need.

Homelessness Compounds Hospital Stay Challenges: Study Reveals Prolonged Discharge Struggles

The analysis, published in JAMA Network Open, explored the impact of homelessness on hospital stays after traumatic injury. It revealed homeless patients experience higher morbidity and longer hospital stays compared with housed individuals. The study stated the need for interventions addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) to reduce disparities and health care costs.

Health Equity Adjustments in Medicare HVBP Program Will Benefit Safety Net Hospitals, Study Says

The upcoming Health Equity Adjustment (HEA) in Medicare's Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (HVBP) program, effective in fiscal year 2026, will benefit safety net hospitals and those serving high proportions of Black patients. This policy change aims to address disparities in care and financial penalties faced by hospitals serving disadvantaged populations. The adjustment predicts substantial changes in payment adjustments, particularly benefiting safety net hospitals and those caring for a greater proportion of Black patients, marking a step toward addressing the regressive nature of value-based payment programs.

Addressing the Gap in Mental, Physical Health Care for Caregivers

In another presentation from the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health (GPBCH) 2024 Women’s Health Summit, Julia Cohen Sebastien, CEO of Grayce, spotlighted the often-overlooked role of caregivers, particularly women, and the significant impact on physical and mental health. Sharing her personal experiences, Cohen Sebastien highlighted the economic challenges faced by caregivers, including higher medical costs and reduced access to preventive care. She called for increased support and advocacy for caregivers, proposing workplace initiatives and increased awareness.

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