Readers and Tweeters React to Racism, Inequities in Health Care


Letters to the Editor is a periodic function. We welcome all feedback and can publish a variety. We edit for size and readability and require full names.

A Harrowing Story of Racism

I appreciated the article “The Making of Reluctant Activists: A Police Capturing in a Hospital Forces One Household to Rethink American Justice” (Might 10). As a doctor in Texas, I reached out to the senior Dr. Pean the day after the taking pictures. I inspired the Harris County Medical Society to advocate for this household and obtained nowhere. I wrote a number of instances to the then-current president of the medical society and obtained nowhere. Medicare threatened to close down the hospital due to this incident after which the president of the medical society protested the shutdown however not the taking pictures. Though the president of the medical society was Latino, he confirmed no concern for the physician’s part-Latino son getting shot. I’ve stayed in contact with the household and have been happy with their successes.

— Dr. Robert Jackson, Houston

Add hospitals to the lengthy record of locations the place you’ll not be protected from a police taking pictures.

— s. e. smith (@sesmith) May 14, 2021

— S.E. Smith, Fort Bragg, Colorado

The article concerning the Pean household is informative about this pernicious, persistent sort of American racism. As a 70-year-old African American lady, I do know it nicely. My query is, What’s the well being trade doing to alleviate the scourge that destroys the minds and our bodies of individuals of colour? Publishing a significant article on the Pean household just isn’t sufficient.

— Evonnie Gbadebo, Windsor, Connecticut

Care Inequities Prolong Past Race

I’m uninterested in listening to about racial disparities (“Stark Racial Disparities Persist in Vaccinations, State-Stage CDC Knowledge Exhibits,” Might 20). How about some feedback about individuals with disabilities who stay independently and don’t have caretakers to do every thing for them?

I had a destructive expertise at a neighborhood pharmacy getting my covid photographs. The primary shot, I bore with it however complained loudly about lack of accessibility. The second shot, nothing had modified so I made a much bigger scene about it.

I hope they lastly obtained their act collectively, however I can’t go to each single pharmacy within the nation and inform them we want signage to inform us the place to go for accessible service. (On this case, the pharmacy counter might need labored.) Additionally, they should have their questions in writing, prematurely.

I’m not stunned that the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention information is incomplete. I haven’t seen any tales about outreach to deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals both, and given that everybody is sporting masks, I discovered getting a shot disagreeable for lack of communication in the course of the course of. The ready line was wholly audist-oriented with no hand indicators, the questions had been incomprehensibly spoken, and the pharmacy had no signage to assist anybody with disabilities.

— Therese Shellabarger, North Hollywood, California

2/ Why is not this information obtainable on @CDCgov‘s COVID Knowledge Tracker? Why did @KHNews must make a public data request?

— Céline Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA (@celinegounder) May 20, 2021

— Dr. Céline Gounder, New York Metropolis

The Push-Pull of Dentistry

Right here’s one other questionable dental revenue-generating tactic: When many dentists say, “We take all PPOs,” it actually means: “Although we’re out-of-network, we are going to invoice your PPO as an alternative of you having to submit an out-of-network declare.”

It’s a typical enterprise follow in dentistry (“Why Your Dentist May Appear Pushy,” Might 19). Individuals get hit with shock steadiness payments and suppose it’s their “unhealthy” insurance coverage protection as an alternative of the deliberately deceptive (and normally nonexistent) rationalization of their dentist’s out-of-network relationship with their insurance coverage provider. The entrance desk does this, the dentists themselves do that, and their webpages about insurance coverage do it.

And once more, all of it boils all the way down to dentists producing extra income than they in any other case would, both as a result of they’d have to simply accept the decrease contract charge in the event that they had been in-network or they’d outright lose the affected person once they discover out they’re really out-of-network.

Making issues worse, some individuals “love” their dentist and don’t take the time to analysis in-network dentists who they may additionally love in the event that they went to them, so that they pay the additional to stick with their dentist and determine it’s “value it.” The widespread worry of dentistry performs into this, too — the dentists act good, the affected person likes them and believes they’re subsequently a superb dentist as a result of they’re good and the affected person didn’t have a nasty dentistry expertise, ultimately creating loyalty that’s then exploited with the PPO rip-off. Hashtag caveat emptor.

— Jonathan Greer, Rockridge Well being Insurance coverage, Oakland, California

After my earlier dentist retired, he offered his follow to a brand new dentist. The brand new dentist instantly discovered many issues that weren’t an issue earlier than.through @KHNews

— Harry Sit (@TheFinanceBuff) May 20, 2021

— Harry Sit, Reno, Nevada

Dental Care Is Important

I write in response to your article “Why Your Dentist May Appear Pushy” (Might 19). The piece’s lack of empirical or systemic information is troubling and dangerously downplays the vital work accomplished by dental professionals every single day.

There are sometimes allegations of fraud and abuse in all industries, sadly together with well being care. Nonetheless, the proportion of complaints has been persistently low within the dental trade. Based on the Nationwide Well being Care Anti-Fraud Affiliation, every year roughly 5% of the $250 billion spent on dental care procedures are related to alleged fraud or abuse, in contrast with as much as 10% in different well being care fields, as famous within the article. Suggesting that dentists repeatedly push pointless procedures to drive up earnings is fake and damaging to the dental career and sufferers’ notion of dentistry. Dentists present important care that retains sufferers wholesome.

On the core of enhancing oral well being is the dentists and their complete crew who play an important function in offering protected and accessible well being look after communities throughout the nation, particularly in underserved areas. Many research have proven that that dental care is important for early detection and prevention of ailments, together with coronary heart illness, stroke and diabetes. Moreover, newer research have proven that elevated dental hygiene additionally tremendously will increase a affected person’s probabilities of surviving covid-19.

Most of the Affiliation of Dental Help Organizations members, in reality, present charitable care and dentistry to 1000’s of sufferers yearly. As government director of the ADSO, I’m happy with our members who all the time put sufferers and their security first. Our members are enabling their supported dentists to give attention to sufferers, develop entry to underserved communities, and keep high-quality requirements for important dental care and enterprise operations.

— Andrew Smith, government director of the Affiliation of Dental Help Organizations, Arlington, Virginia

I recieved a Moderna vaccine, so this tells me, get the vaccine however nonetheless preserve your distance from others. Hey I can try this as a result of I’m not a individuals one that hangs round massive crowds anyway.

— David Hodges (@DavidHo00768274) April 28, 2021

— David Hodges, Portland, Oregon

A Footnote on Breakthrough Covid Circumstances

Concerning Steven Findlay’s article “The Shock and Actuality of Catching Covid After Being Vaccinated” (April 16). Initially, Mr. Findlay, I’m sorry to listen to that you simply obtained covid after your second shot. That’s a drag. However in your article, don’t you suppose you might need given the incorrect impression concerning the chance of this occurring?

You wrote: “A tiny however rising quantity are contending with the disturbing expertise of getting covid-19 regardless of having had one shot — and even two.”

A “rising” quantity, I feel, offers the incorrect impression that the proportion of breakthrough circumstances is rising. That may be worrying. However isn’t the quantity solely “rising” as a result of extra persons are getting vaccinated?

In that case, it’s totally unremarkable that the quantity is rising, so why the “however”?

I’m extraordinarily involved about vaccine hesitancy on this nation, and I’m much more nervous about your article reinforcing that hesitancy than I’m about myself contracting a breakthrough case.

— Jason Hodin, Friday Harbor, Washington

And but…… inform me what it vaccinates towards… 🤷‍♂️

— Chris Collins (@ChrisCollins504) May 2, 2021

— Chris Collins, New Orleans

An Aha Second on Stroke Care

Thanks. I’m extra educated, and fairly horrified, concerning the situation of the state of our state‘s and nation’s well being care predicament (“In Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta, Tens of millions Face Lengthy Drives to Stroke Care,” Might 4). Your insightful investigative reporting needs to be a catalyst for communities to hunt funding for our family members. I plan to share with my county commissioners and state legislators. Once more, many thanks.

— Choose Tammy Jackson Montgomery, Coatopa, Alabama

An unpleasant fact fantastically instructed. You completely should learn this.

— 🟣Jessica Gottlieb (@JessicaGottlieb) May 5, 2021

— Jessica Gottlieb, Los Angeles

My Major Care Doctor Just about Aced It

Actually glorious and insightful cautionary commentary on the “digital medication” phenomenon (“Telemedicine Is a Device — Not a Alternative for Your Physician’s Contact,” Might 6). It’s true that almost all of 1’s interactions with one’s physician are informational (assuming that one doesn’t undergo from a dread illness). However communication through electronic mail is perfect solely when one has a longtime relationship with the doctor over time, and when the doctor has entry to the affected person’s wealthy digital medical document (EMR). The perfect expression of the function of “digital medication” is the usage of multi-modality communication between affected person and first care doctor within the Kaiser Permanente mannequin.

I’ve been a KP Medicare Benefit member for over eight years, and my well being standing is managed as a collaboration with my KP major care doctor. In our preliminary consumption doctor examination, I instructed him I’ve a boring EMR, however I’m a whiner, so he might anticipate to listen to from me repeatedly. I requested him to make it possible for I continued to carry out nicely on the tennis court docket. He responded by saying that it’s a mutual accountability. So, over the previous eight years, we now have communicated nearly completely by electronic mail. He all the time responds inside 24 hours, and normally by the tip of the day. Twice throughout this era, I reported signs that would have indicated a critical scientific subject. In every case, the response was instant, with a referral to a specialist(s) inside KP who, in fact, had entry to my full EMR.

After I acquired a covid vaccination exterior the KP community, we made positive that documentation was added to my EMR. So, throughout the KP mannequin, “digital medication” is clinically environment friendly and cost-effective, as a result of affected person and doctor are speaking inside a really high-quality well being care supply system. Speedy entry to well-informed clinicians is assured. That is very completely different from the numerous rising for-profit ventures that promote providers of doubtful high quality or scientific effectiveness — actually, most are little greater than rebranded, app-enhanced “nurse recommendation traces.” Thanks for an awesome op-ed.

— Tony Pfannkuche, Los Angeles

Now could be the time to replicate on how telemedicine will proceed, in order that we’re not including to/recreating the present challenges in well being care (e.g. entry, inequity, price, high quality). #Telemedicine #TelemedNow

— Torshira Moffett (@torshira) May 6, 2021

— Torshira Moffett, Washington, D.C.

Public well being methods all around the world had been overwhelmed by #COVID19, even the best-funded ones. @GavinNewsom made the correct strikes. Which is why CA is a world chief in vaccination success. Single-payer international locations? Not a lot.

— Steven Maviglio (@stevenmaviglio) May 6, 2021

— Steven Maviglio, Sacramento, California

The Pandemic Demanded Workarounds

This text’s implicit conclusion of wrongdoing on the expense of a public company is sort of egregious and short-sighted (“Salesforce, Google, Fb. How Massive Tech Undermines California’s Public Well being System,” Might 6). This unprecedented well being disaster wanted fast, decisive actions and insurance policies. The present paperwork has persistently confirmed itself to be too gradual in response as a result of its many layers of administration’s accountability. The governor’s working relationship with excessive tech was instrumental in conserving California’s well being disaster beneath management.

Why individuals complain after the actual fact is consultant of what’s incorrect at present in society, creating pointless division. I’m not saying unbridled reward needs to be heaped upon Gov. Newsom, however to search for negativity or wrongdoing for the sake of an article was fairly shallow.

— Warren Younger, San Francisco

We sadly noticed this to a level in Utah as nicely. Now, experimentation could be a good factor however solely occur after tried-and-true public well being infrastructure has been correctly funded. H/T: ⁦@StephMBurdick#utpol #utleg

— Tom Merrill (@SaltLakeTom) May 14, 2021

— Tom Merrill, Salt Lake Metropolis

CHL hyperlink, Might 18:

Bolstering Medicare Protection to Maintain Seniors Sturdy

As you rightly level out, after 15 months of sheltering in place, older Individuals are more and more being negatively impacted by the oblique well being results of covid-19 — together with lack of power, mobility and independence (“As Pandemic Eases, Many Seniors Have Misplaced Energy, Might Want Rehabilitative Companies,” Might 21). For a lot of seniors, this extended interval of “bodily deconditioning” has put them at critical danger of long-term incapacity, accidents and falls, which trigger 2.8 million emergency room visits yearly.

Recognizing the long-term well being impression of the pandemic on America’s seniors, bodily remedy providers will solely develop in significance. That’s why it’s troubling that Medicare has chosen to push ahead with vital fee cuts for bodily, occupational and speech remedy providers. Although Congress briefly lowered the cuts final 12 months, our specialty confronted one of many steepest declines in Medicare spending — a whopping 34% — in the course of the first six months of 2020. As demand for our providers grows, it’s important for Medicare to guard seniors’ entry to the medically needed remedy providers they want. As an alternative of implementing these devastating cuts in 2022 and past, Medicare ought to rethink its method to make sure stability to the system and, finally, enhance the well being and independence of older Individuals.

— Nikesh Patel, government director, Alliance for Bodily Remedy High quality and Innovation (APTQI), Washington, D.C.

In ache and disaster, when somebody w/SUD is prepared for assist, she might not be capable to analysis a facility’s high quality. We’d like requirements & accountability. “Dependancy Remedy Suppliers in Pa. Face Little State Scrutiny Regardless of Hurt to Shoppers through @khnews

— Kristin Gourlay (@kristingourlay) April 30, 2021

— Kristin Gourlay, Oak Park, Illinois

Altering Mindsets on Dependancy

Though I haven’t been personally affected by the habit/overdose disaster, I nonetheless perceive the callous politics concerned with this most critical social subject (“Dependancy Remedy Suppliers in Pa. Face Little State Scrutiny Regardless of Hurt to Shoppers,” April 30). The mere point out of presidency funding to make correct remedy obtainable to low- and no-income hard-drug addicts, nevertheless a lot it could alleviate their nice struggling, generates agency opposition by the overall socially and fiscally conservative voters.

The response is essentially as a result of preconceived notion that drug addicts are however weak-willed and/or have one way or the other dedicated an ethical crime. Ignored is that such intense habit normally doesn’t originate from a bout of boredom, the place an individual repeatedly consumed recreationally however grew to become closely hooked on an unregulated often-deadly chemical that ultimately destroyed their life and even that of a cherished one. The better the drug-induced euphoria or escape one attains from its use, the extra one needs to repeat the expertise; and the extra insupportable one finds their sober actuality, the extra pleasurable that escape needs to be perceived. By extension, the better one’s psychological ache or trauma whereas sober, the better the necessity for escape from actuality, thus the extra addictive the euphoric escape-form will seemingly be.

Regardless, we now know pharmaceutical firms deliberately pushed their very addictive opiate painkillers (maybe the actual ethical crime), for which they obtained off comparatively frivolously, contemplating the ensuing immense struggling and overdose dying numbers.

— Frank Sterle Jr., White Rock, British Columbia

@aneripattani @edmahonreporter @SpotlightPA @PhillyInquirer What you each uncovered is the disparity is the depth of corruption inside PA Dept of Human ServicesThe fact: When nothing makes sense-something extra heinous is taking placeThere is not any accountability inside PA DHS

— Angela Biesecker (@Abiesecker) May 7, 2021

— Angela Biesecker, Philadelphia

Going to Bat for Nurse Anesthetists

Because the covid-19 outlook improves, the toll on well being care suppliers attributable to the virus is unprecedented. Nurses have risked their lives as they handled shortages of protecting gear, medicines and personnel — all whereas infections, hospitalizations and deaths from the illness soared.

But nurses have risen to the challenges, courageously caring and offering life-sustaining providers to thousands and thousands of sufferers. So, why do some query a nurse’s proper to follow to the total extent of their schooling and coaching?

Nurses do most of their demanding work out of the general public eye. And even much less understood by the general public is the variety of specialties in nursing, notably these of superior follow registered nurses. Contemplate the “nurse anesthetist” or Licensed Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNAs). Except you could have had surgical procedure and/or delivered a child, chances are high you could have by no means heard of the extremely educated, expertly skilled CRNA.

Surveys present that greater than 70% of CRNAs report treating covid sufferers. We’ve got seen these well being care professionals journey to scorching spots to offer lifesaving care. Due to a CRNA’s experience in airway and air flow administration and different important care expertise, CRNAs have turn into a extremely sought-after well being care supplier — capturing the eye of the federal authorities. Recognizing the necessity for CRNAs to be working to the highest of their coaching, the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Companies waived the federal doctor supervision necessities for nurse anesthetists. Due to the non permanent modifications to the regulation, CRNAs have been in a position to safely fill important well being care wants in the course of the nationwide disaster.

A brand new report from the Nationwide Academy of Drugs, “The Way forward for Nursing 2020-2030,” prioritized a number of alternatives within the nursing career for eliminating well being care disparities, together with the everlasting elimination of limitations to nursing care that had been enacted in response to the pandemic. It additionally requires permitting nurses to follow to the total extent of their schooling and coaching in addition to making certain that they’ll invoice for these providers.

So, why snatch again a CRNA’s full follow rights, after tons of of 1000’s of sufferers acquired protected, distinctive, life-sustaining care earlier than and in the course of the pandemic?

Some particular curiosity teams argue that the federal doctor supervision requirement is important, asserting that the waiver lowers the usual of care and dangers sufferers’ lives. This type of fearmongering lacks true proof and makes an attempt to confuse the general public. Nurse anesthetists are extremely educated practitioners whose affected person security data stand for themselves. The truth is, 42 U.S. states don’t require doctor supervision of a CRNA of their state nurse follow act.

Now could be the time to place an finish to any sort of pronouncement that questions the function, worth and security of CRNA-delivered care.

— Steven M. Sertich, president of the American Affiliation of Nurse Anesthetists, Park Ridge, Illinois


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