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Health Equity and Access Weekly Roundup: May 4, 2024

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This week, the Center on Health Equity and Access highlights a variety of gaps that exist in health care, spanning women's health, the rising rate of metabolic disease, and policy for LGBTQ+ and immigrant populations. The consensus among featured experts points to comprehensive care models.

Tackling Health Inequality: The Power of Education and Experience

In the final episode of a special month-long podcast series celebrating National Minority Health Month produced in partnership with UPMC Health Plan, Janine Jelks-Seale, MSPPM, director of health equity, draws from her background in R&D and economic development to emphasize the urgent need for strategies to address health disparities and promote inclusion. Highlighting initiatives such as UPMC Health Plan's LGBTQIA+ Affirming Provider designation, she underscores the importance of an intersectional approach that considers member characteristics and geography to identify at-risk populations vulnerable to adverse outcomes from social determinants of health.

Joanne Mizell: Lifestyle Modification Programs Take Holistic Aim at Metabolic Disease

The prevalence of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, has dramatically increased over the last two decades, creating significant financial burdens and health challenges for individuals and society. In an interview with The American Journal of Managed Care® (AJMC®), Joanne Mizell, chief operating officer of Banner|Aetna, discusses the limitations of traditional clinical approaches focused solely on pharmacologic management and makes a compelling case for holistic strategies like lifestyle modification programs in addressing these disorders. Mizell outlines the interconnectedness of metabolic diseases and the need for tailored multidisciplinary approaches. Sustained engagement and peer support are crucial components, though she strongly advocates for systemic changes in health care incentives to prioritize preventive measures and address social determinants of health effectively.

Shelly Lanning on How Employers Can Reduce Costs by Bridging Gaps in Women's Health Care

Shelly Lanning, cofounder and president of Visana Health, stresses the critical need for comprehensive approaches to women’s health care and coverage options in a presentation at the Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health Women’s Health Summit. Addressing the significant repercussions of neglecting women's health concerns, Lanning emphasizes the economic rationale for prioritizing women's health care, citing data indicating that many women do not receive adequate treatment for their conditions, leading to increased costs for patients and payers. By detailing data collected from patients at Visana, Lanning demonstrates the importance of making care accessible and affordable, advocating for virtual-first care options to reduce costs and improve outcomes for both patients and payers.

Dr Chris Pagnani: Bridging Gaps in Mental Health Care With Telemedicine

Chris Pagnani, MD, PC, founder of Rittenhouse Psychiatric Associates, explains how telemedicine is revolutionizing mental health care in an interview with AJMC. Serving approximately 10,000 patients across 5 states, telepsychiatry eliminates barriers to access for those in underserved areas. Pagnani highlights the convenience of remote consultations, particularly for patients in rural regions, while acknowledging the imperative of maintaining care quality. He emphasizes the importance of personalized treatment and addresses limitations such as the inability to monitor vital signs remotely, advocating for diligence in adapting strategies to ensure patients receive comprehensive care.

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