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Health Equity and Access Weekly Roundup: June 8, 2024

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This week, the Center on Health Equity and Access covered the release of the best US hospitals for equitable access, news from the CMS Health Equity conference, biomarker testing legislation, and insights on improving access for queer communities and the disparities in dermatology.

Top Hospitals for Equitable Access in 2024 Ranked by US News

US News & World Report unveiled its inaugural list of the "Best Regional Hospitals for Equitable Access" at The State of Equity in America meeting, recognizing 53 hospitals across 26 states for their exceptional efforts in providing high-quality care to socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. This acknowledgment highlights the hospitals' commitment to health equity by improving access to care in underserved areas, with notable states like California and North Carolina having multiple institutions on the list. The selection criteria included serving a significant proportion of patients from socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods, having a substantial Medicaid patient base, and treating a diverse racial and ethnic population.

Celebrating Pride Month With Lancaster Pride

In a new episode of Managed Care Cast, celebrating Pride Month 2024, Tiffany Shirley, the president of Lancaster Pride, discusses the organization's history and her personal journey within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ)+ community. The episode highlights the origin of Lancaster Pride's motto, "Hate Has No Home Here," and explores key policy priorities in an election year aimed at promoting inclusivity and understanding. Shirley emphasizes the critical need for equitable health care access, advocating for legislation that ensures comprehensive insurance coverage, affordable mental health care, increased funding for LGBTQ+-specific services, and robust antidiscrimination protections in health care.

Exploring the Importance of Biomarker Testing to Identify Genetic Variants, Correct Treatments

Another recent episode of Managed Care Cast featured Kristine Ashcraft, president and founder of YouScript. She discussed the importance of genetic awareness and the impact of new biomarker testing legislation. Despite the critical role genetic variants play in patient responses to medications, many patients and providers remain unaware of these factors. Recent legislative efforts in several states aim to improve access to biomarker testing, enabling more personalized and effective treatment plans based on individual genetic profiles. Ashcraft emphasizes that such advancements could significantly reduce adverse drug events and enhance patient care.

Dr Thomas Hall Explores How Geographic, Socioeconomic Factors Affect Dermatological Outcomes

Thomas Hall, MD, FAAD, of US Dermatology Partners, discussed significant disparities in dermatological care stemming from the uneven distribution of dermatologists, particularly in rural areas. This geographical imbalance leads to delayed diagnoses, higher health care costs, and worsened patient outcomes. To combat these issues, US Dermatology Partners has established clinics in underserved areas, aiming to improve access and promote health equity. They set a goal to open 30 clinics within 3 years and are on track to surpass this, with over 20 already operational. Hall emphasized the importance of grassroots advocacy for policy changes and systemic reforms, encouraging dermatologists to engage with local communities and professional organizations to address these disparities and support underserved populations.

Equity in Motion at CMS Health Equity: Dr Aletha Maybank Shares AMA Advances for Justice

At the CMS Health Equity conference, Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH, the chief health equity officer of the American Medical Association (AMA), discussed the pivotal strides toward health equity within recent years. She highlighted the AMA's efforts to address its historical complicity in racial injustice and advance health equity by eliminating racial essentialism and integrating equity into medical practices and policies. Maybank underscored the importance of moving beyond mere acknowledgment to committed action despite facing resistance and criticism.

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