Jan 9 2014

Human Capital News Roundup: Demand for minority physicians, ADHD treatment, anxiety and strokes, and more

Around the country, print, broadcast, and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni, and grantees. Some recent examples:

Newly insured patients need time to adjust to not using emergency care as a primary medical service, Sara Rosenbaum, JD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, told the New York Times. A study co-authored by Amy Finkelstein, PhD, MPhil, also a recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award, found that newly insured Medicaid recipients in Oregon went to the emergency room (ER) more often than people without insurance. The finding raises doubts about whether expanded insurance coverage will help control ER costs, at least in the short term. This story was also covered by NPR, NBC News, and CBS News.

Doctors who are Black, Hispanic, and Asian provide the most care to minority patients, and demand for their services may increase as the Affordable Care Act provides health insurance coverage to those who are currently without it, Bloomberg News reports. The story is based on a study co-authored by Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH, an RWJF Health Policy Fellows alumna. It was also covered by WBUR in Boston and The Charlotte Post.

Until recently, boys were nine times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with ADHD, but the gender gap has narrowed to about 2.5 to 1 as part of an overall surge in diagnosis, reports the Chicago Tribune. This and other trends are highlighted in The ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money and Today's Push for Performance. The upcoming book was co-authored by Stephen Hinshaw, PhD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award. In the New York Times, Hinshaw challenged the long-held belief that medication trounces behavioral therapy for children with ADHD. “My belief based on the science is that symptom reduction is a good thing, but adding skill-building is a better thing.” He was also interviewed by CNN.

The New Yorker features a blog post by Lisa Rosenbaum, MD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award, about transparency in health-care pricing for patients. Her blog also cites work by RWJF Investigator Award recipient Peter Ubel, MD.

About one-quarter of adults who have high blood pressure do not know it, according to a study by Uchechukwu Sampson, MD, a Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program alumnus. U.S. News & World Report also notes that Sampson found that many of those who know they have the condition do not have it under control. Sampson’s study was also covered by Health Canal and Philly.com, among other outlets.

Health insurance rates increased last year due to routine medical costs, not requirements of the Affordable Care Act, according to a study co-authored by Mark Hall, JD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award. The findings, reported in USA Today, are that increased medical costs, including more expensive medications, procedures, and exams, accounted for the rate increases in the individual market. Hall’s study was also covered by UPI.

High levels of anxiety increase the risk of suffering a stroke, according to a study co-authored by Rebecca Thurston, PhD, an RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumna, and reported by Headline & Global News. “These findings underscore the importance of also considering anxiety when considering cardiovascular diseases,” Thurston said. Her study was also covered in Health Canal and Medical News Today.

Medical Express provides an overview of two studies led by Michelle Mello, PhD, MPhil, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award, that focus on communication-and-resolution programs in which health systems and their malpractice insurers encourage providers to disclose adverse events to patients and proactively seek resolutions.

New research suggests that living near hydraulic fracking sites is not safe for newborns, reports Bloomberg News. A study co-authored by RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research alumnus Michael Greenstone, PhD, concluded that proximity to fracking increased the likelihood of low birth weight by more than half, from about 5.6 percent to more than 9 percent.

In response to recent media coverage of Black families choosing to sustain life support for patients who are clinically dead, The Root looks at the historical and modern factors that may influence such decisions. “When you understand not just the history but the ongoing way in which Black life is devalued, you begin to understand that asking and expecting any and all medical interventions possible, no matter what, is anything but irrational,” said Dorothy Roberts, JD, recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award.

Tags: Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, Health & Society Scholars, Health Policy Fellows, Human Capital News, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research, Media Coverage, Scholars in Health Policy Research