Michael Ejercito wrote:
> HeartDoc Andrew, in the Holy Spirit, boldly wrote:
>> Michael Ejercito wrote:
>>> A 'staggering' number of people couldn't get care during the pandemic,
>>> poll finds
>>> Updated August 8, 2022·11:59 AM ET
>>> Heard on Morning Edition
>>> RHITU CHATTERJEE
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>>> Tomeka Kimbrough-Hilson was diagnosed with uterine fibroids in 2006 and
>>> underwent surgery to remove a non-cancerous mass. When she started
>>> experiencing symptoms again in 2020, she was unable to get an
>>> appointment with a gynecologist. Her experience was not uncommon,
>>> according to a new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and
>>> the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
>>> Nicole Buchanan for NPR
>>> When the pandemic started, Tomeka Kimbrough-Hilson knew she had a small
>>> growth inside her uterus. She was first diagnosed with uterine fibroids
>>> back in 2006 and had been able to have the non-cancerous mass removed
>>> through outpatient laser surgery. Over the years, she'd also been able
>>> to manage her symptoms with medication and changes in her lifestyle.
>>> But when those symptoms – a bloated belly, irregular periods, nausea –
>>> returned in 2020, Kimbrough-Hilson was unable to get an appointment with
>>> a specialist.
>>> "March 27th came and everything got shut down," says Kimbrough-Hilson,
>>> 47, of Stone Mountain, Georgia. "I wasn't at the tier of care that
>>> needed [immediate attention], because of all the precautions that had to
>>> be taken."
>>> But even after the lockdown in spring of 2020 was lifted,
>>> Kimbrough-Hilson, a mother of five who works in the health insurance
>>> industry, was unable to see a gynecologist.
>>> She left message after message with providers. But her calls went
>>> unreturned, or providers were booked for months at end. "I couldn't get
>>> the appointments," she says. "I couldn't follow up."
>>> These days, her belly is swollen, and she says she often feels fatigued
>>> and nauseous: "It makes me want to throw up a lot."
>>> She also struggled to get appointments for other members of her family.
>>> Her 14-year-old daughter underwent brain surgery before the pandemic,
>>> but then couldn't get follow-up appointments until recently.
>>> Kimbrough-Hilson's family's experience isn't uncommon, according to a
>>> new poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H.
>>> Chan School of Public Health.
>>> Among households that had a serious illness in the past year, one in
>>> five respondents said they had trouble accessing care during the pandemic.
>>> That's a "staggering" number of people unable to access care, says Mary
>>> Findling, the assistant director of the Harvard Opinion Research
>>> Program. "From a health and a good care standpoint, that's just too high."
>>> Other recent studies have found significant delays in cancer screenings,
>>> and disruptions in routine diabetes, pediatric and mental health care.
>>> While it's still early to know the long-term impacts on people's health,
>>> researchers and physicians are concerned, especially as the disruptions
>>> continue with the country's health care system struggling to bounce back
>>>from the pandemic.
>>> The new poll also found that disruptions in care hit some racial and
>>> ethnic groups harder. Among households where anyone had been seriously
>>> ill in the past year, 35% of American Indian and Alaska Native
>>> households and 24% of Black households had trouble accessing care for
>>> serious illness, compared with only 18% of White households.
>>> Among Black respondents who had seen a provider in the past year, 15%
>>> said they were disrespected, turned away, unfairly treated, or received
>>> poor treatment because of their race and ethnicity, compared with only
>>> 3% of White respondents who said the same.
>>> "What's really sad is the racial gaps in health care between Black and
>>> White Americans has remained," says Findling. "And looking across a
>>> broad range of measures, it's better to be a White patient than a Black
>>> patient in America today. And when you just stop and think about that,
>>> that's horrible."
>>> Health insurance wasn't a barrier to access
>>> The vast majority of people – across racial and ethnic groups – who
>>> experienced delays in care reported having health insurance.
>>> "One thing it tells us is that just the provision of more health care
>>> insurance is not going to plug some of these gaps and holes that we're
>>> seeing in terms of individuals getting more care," says Loren
>>> Saulsberry, a health policy researcher at the University of Chicago, who
>>> worked closely with Findling on the poll.
>>> "There are broader issues at play here," says Findling, like the
>>> historic workforce shortages among health systems. "The pandemic
>>> continues and it's wreaking havoc on everyone."
>>> Saulsberry, who studies health disparities in vulnerable populations,
>>> says that the pandemic has exacerbated those disparities because of a
>>> range of barriers, including a person's zip code.
>>> For example, the state of Georgia, where Kimbrough-Hilson lives, has had
>>> one of the lowest numbers of OB-GYNs in the country for years. Now,
>>> she's having a harder time getting an appointment with one than ever before.
>>> "I've been able to get my teeth done, my eyes checked," she says. "But I
>>> can't get to women's health."
>>> She has a referral from her primary care provider, she says, but it's
>>> for a practice "30 to 40 miles away."
>>> Health systems too overwhelmed for routine care
>>> While the pandemic exacerbated disparities in care, it also overwhelmed
>>> the health care system, causing delays and disruptions across the board,
>>> says Cassie Sauer, CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association.
>>> And it's also taken a huge financial toll, says Dr. Arif Kamal, chief
>>> patient officer at the American Cancer Society. "Some of that is related
>>> to actually taking care of patients who are very complex, who have very
>>> serious illnesses due to COVID-19," he says. "But also during that time
>>> there was also loss of revenue because other activities had to be
>>> stopped, for example, elective surgeries."
>>> As a result, preventive services and early detection activities – not
>>> the "highest margin activities" for health systems – have taken a back
>>> seat, he adds.
>>> "Over the last two years we estimate about 6 million women, for example,
>>> have missed routine cancer screening," says Kamal. That includes missed
>>> mammograms for breast cancer detection, and Pap smears to check for
>>> cervical cancer.
>>> Kamal is concerned that in a year or two, providers will start to detect
>>> cancers at later stages because of missed screenings, which makes them
>>> harder to treat or cure.
>>> In the meantime, health systems are continuing to feel the repercussions
>>> of the pandemic, causing continuing delays in what was once routine care.
>>> Sauer has experienced this at work and in her personal life.
>>> "In my own family, we have struggled to get access to health care for my
>>> kids and my parents," says Sauer.
>>> Her 80-year-old father, who has Parkinson's disease, had a fall over the
>>> winter holidays and was hospitalized. "I was with him, caring for him in
>>> the hospital. My mom had COVID at the time, so she wasn't able to be
>>> there," she says. "And I couldn't figure out how to get him out of the
>>> He needed to go to a skilled nursing facility, but she couldn't get him
>>> into one. "I found two nursing homes that seemed like good fits," says
>>> Sauer. "And they both shut down because they had COVID outbreaks the
>>> same day."
>>> This is still one of the biggest problems that the state's hospitals are
>>> facing right now, she adds. "We can't get people out of the hospitals
>>> right now. There's no back door, but the front door is wide open to the
>>> emergency room."
>>> There are patients who spend as many as 90 days in a hospital, she says,
>>> when the average hospital stay is three days. "So they've taken the
>>> space of 30 patients who needed care."
>>> This is why, more than two years into the pandemic, she says, people are
>>> still unable to schedule regular procedures, everything from knee and
>>> heart valve replacements, to cancer treatments.
>>> These procedures may be considered "elective," but postponing them can
>>> have major repercussions on a patient's health and quality of life, she
>>> "You have a chance of falling, you are probably going to gain weight,"
>>> says Sauer. "You're going to lose flexibility. You know, all those
>>> things contribute to a potential decline, cardiac issues, respiratory
>>> issues." Which can in turn also increase someone' risk of serious
>>> illness from COVID.
>>> "I think that the toll of this delayed care is tremendous," she says.
>> The only *healthy* way to stop the pandemic, thereby saving lives, in
>> the U.S. & elsewhere is by rapidly ( http://bit.ly/RapidTestCOVID-19
>> ) finding out at any given moment, including even while on-line, who
>> among us are unwittingly contagious (i.e pre-symptomatic or
>> asymptomatic) in order to http://tinyurl.com/ConvinceItForward
>> 15:12) for them to call their doctor and self-quarantine per their
>> doctor in hopes of stopping this pandemic. Thus, we're hoping for the
>> best while preparing for the worse-case scenario of the Alpha lineage
>> mutations and others like the Omicron, Gamma, Beta, Epsilon, Iota,
>> Lambda, Mu & Delta lineage mutations combining via
>> slip-RNA-replication to form hybrids like
that may render current COVID
>> vaccines/monoclonals/medicines/pills no longer effective.
>> Indeed, I am wonderfully hungry ( http://tinyurl.com/RapidOmicronTest
>> ) and hope you, Michael, also have a healthy appetite too.
>> So how are you ?
> I am wonderfully hungry!