‘Out-of-the-Box’ Thinking Needed To Address Health Disparities on Long Island, Editorial Says
Reducing racial and ethnic health disparities on Long Island, N.Y., "could do with some creative, out-of-the box thinking," a Long Island Newsday editorial says.
A recent report by researchers from Adelphi University indicated that while uninsurance on Long Island is lower than it is nationally, blacks, Hispanics, immigrants and those with low incomes are significantly more likely than others to lack health insurance (Long Island Newsday, 1/22).
In addition, blacks on Long Island had a rate of type 2 diabetes that was twice as high as the region as a whole. One-fifth of Hispanics and 26% of all residents with annual incomes lower than $20,000 said they had major problems paying for necessities such as rent, mortgage or food after covering health costs in the previous year (Kaiser Health Disparities Report, 1/11).
To address the situation, Arthur Gianelli, president of Nassau University Medical Center, and Michael Dowling, president of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, have suggested:
- Finding ways to reduce the cost of prescription drugs at NUMC clinics;
- Enrolling more children in SCHIP;
- Improving outreach in underserved communities; and
- Hiring more interpreters to help patients with low English proficiency navigate the health system.
The editorial concludes, "Narrowing deadly health disparities won't be easy or quick. But the commitment of academics and providers on Long Island is, we hope, a vital sign of better things to come" (Long Island Newsday, 1/22). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.