In this week's News Roundup:
- Creating Financial Success at a Small Rural Hospital
- Gender Bias Hinders Research in Chronic Disease
- The Business Case for Racial Equity
Creating Financial Success at a Small Rural Hospital
An in-depth piece from Politico Magazine explores how a small, rural hospital in Kansas has become an economic powerhouse by serving the local refugee/immigrant population and specializing in labor and delivery. Ben Anderson, the hospital's CEO, relies on community partnerships, infrastructure grants, and targeted recruiting. His recruiting model is especially interesting: He attracts young physicians who are interested in helping Third World populations. "You can do that work right here in Kansas," he says. Having a staff that actively seeks to work with diverse populations improves patient experience and outcomes.
From the article:
Erin Keeley, a 27-year-old physician assistant, is fluent in Spanish and has befriended many of the local refugees. She’s counseled a first-time mom from Somalia about the safest way to deliver her baby after female genital mutilation, and listened sympathetically to a woman, pregnant with her third child, who had to leave her two older daughters behind in Cuba. “There’s just a sense of medicine as mission here,” Keeley says.
And that mission changes the way patients are treated. Some women told me they feel more welcome in Lakin than they do in Garden City hospitals and clinics. They don’t have to sit for hours in the waiting room, and if they are uninsured, it’s easier to get service. “They don’t make the patients feel like you’re the outsider,”Ahmed says. “More like, ‘How can I help you? What can I do for you?’”
How a Tiny Kansas Town Rebooted Its Struggling Hospital into a Health Care Jewel, from Politico Magazine
Gender Bias Hinders Research in Chronic Disease
A new memoir, Sick by Porochista Khakpour, illuminates the gender bias that surrounds chronic Lyme disease—and other mysterious ailments characterized by subjective symptoms, such as fatigue or general malaise. Many of these chronic illnesses are associated more with women than men, and are met with skepticism by researchers and practitioners.
From the article:
Some of the symptoms of “chronic Lyme”—headaches, exhaustion, and cognitive dysfunction—have been dismissed as too vague or too similar to those of other conditions to be accorded diagnostic weight. Given these vagaries, it’s impossible to say for sure whether chronic Lyme actually does affect a greater number of women than men. But there’s a sense in which the condition itself has been feminized. In a 2009 paper, Gary Wormser and Eugene Shapiro, two of the authors of the Infectious Diseases Society of America guidelines on Lyme treatment, concluded that “illnesses with a female preponderance, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or depression” might be receiving a false diagnosis of chronic Lyme. That conclusion seems preordained by the authors’ starting assumption that chronic Lyme—“a vaguely defined term that has been applied to patients with unexplained prolonged subjective symptoms”—doesn’t really exist. Yet even those in the field who discount the phenomenon of chronic Lyme concede that there are people who suffer “prolonged subjective symptoms” long after they have resolved the initial infection—a “severe impairment” often labelled post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. To begin from the premise that a condition is imaginary is to prejudice efforts to provide a physiological explanation. In the nineteen-nineties, the Centers for Disease Control was found to have used millions of dollars in research funds intended for myalgic encephalomyelitis / chronic-fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) for other purposes, in the belief that the disorder was not worth exploring.
The Business Case for Racial Equity
A new report makes an economic argument for racial equity in Michigan. Authors found that the state could see significant economic improvement by investing in programs to reduce racial disparities in income, education, healthcare, and more.
From the article:
The report found that Michigan could see a $92 billion gain in economic output by 2050 if racial disparities in health, education, incarceration, and employment were addressed and eliminated. For example, reducing health disparities would impact productivity and profitability and reduce excess medical costs.