340B Insight Podcast
Episode Twenty: Pursuing Health Equity
February 10, 2021
This week, we begin a two-part series focused on how 340B hospitals are pursuing health equity. The COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the significant racial and ethnic disparities in health care and patient health outcomes. Today, we focus on three hospitals featured in 340B Health’s recently released health equity report and hear more about how they’re working to eliminate health disparities in their communities. Before we launch into the episode, we answer a member question about the many lawsuits that have been filed related to disputes over 340B contract pharmacies.
We sit down with representatives from three hospitals: Dr. Cheryl Clark, director of health equity, research and intervention at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Rukiya Curvey Johnson, director of community health and engagement at Rush University System for Health in Chicago; Julia Bassett, manager of health and community benefit at Rush; and Greta Todd, executive director of diversity inclusion and community affairs at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. (Transcript)
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- Why Health Equity Matters 340B hospitals are integral elements in the movement to reduce health disparities in the U.S. Dr. Clark explains why health equity is essential and defines the concept as the ability for all people to reach their optimal health without barriers such as reduced access to care and lack of affordability. Curvey Johnson discusses that 340B hospitals serve vulnerable, underinsured, and uninsured populations and should be part of a multi-sector collaboration to address health equity. Todd references health care’s core mission to “do no harm” and affirms that all hospitals should be working to prevent the harm of health disparities.
- COVID-19’s Disproportionate Effect on People of Color African Americans and Hispanic people experience higher infection rates and deaths from COVID-19. Brigham and Women’s Hospital acted on this by creating the COVID-19 Equity, Diversity and Community Health Response team. The team’s efforts included ensuring equity in participation for the hospital’s remdesivir research trial. Dr. Clark believes recruiting clinicians and staff from diverse backgrounds to create trustworthy, culturally sensitive environments was critical to ensuring that trial participants represented the same patient demographics as the community Brigham and Women’s serves.
- The Connection Between Health Equity and Social Determinants Identifying and addressing social determinants are critical to the pursuit of health equity. Brigham and Women’s Hospital participates in the Massachusetts Accountable Care Organization, serving patients with public insurance. As part of its participation, the hospital places a strong focus on the need to screen patients for social determinants and then connect them to needed services. Brigham and Women’s implemented best practices during the pandemic that it learned prior to COVID-19, including by screening for social determinants at COVID testing sites. Rush University System for Health screens patients for food insecurity and uses some of their 340B savings to deliver healthy meals to community members. St. Louis Children’s is using mobile pediatric units to remove barriers to transportation that make it difficult for families to travel to clinics for services that include hearing and vision screenings, immunizations, asthma treatment, diabetes services, and dental care.
Stay tuned for our next episode as we explore other key trends in 340B Health’s new equity report.
Check out all our episodes on the 340B Insight podcast website. You also can stay updated on all 340B Health news and information by visiting our homepage. If you have any questions you would like us to cover in this podcast, email us at podcast@340BHealth.org.