HJ News and Resource Roundup 8/30/13

Welcome back to our second installment of the HJ News and Resource Roundup! Every week we will be posting the latest news and resources to keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in the struggle for health justice. This week, we’ll be discussing health reform, immigrant access to health care, the NYC hospital closures, and more.

Immigrant Access to Health Care

Wladyslaw Haniszewski, an undocumented immigrant who had lived in the United States for 30 years, was recently deported back to Poland–not by the US government, but by a hospital in New Jersey. Not wanting to cover the cost of Haniszewski’s care after he suffered a stroke, the hospital flew Haniszewski back to Poland without contacting the Polish consulate, arranging for his medical care once in Poland, or even waiting for him to regain consciousness.

Eleven million undocumented immigrants in the United States are excluded from participation in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but improving access to care for this population could benefit all Americans.

Over 400 advocacy groups and organizations support immigrant inclusion in health care.

Hospital Closures

North Central Bronx Hospital has closed its labor and delivery, nursery, and neonatal care units. Responsible for 1,500 births in the last year, NCBH was a critical health resource and many worry its closure will adversely impact the health of mothers and infants in the North Bronx, particularly within communities of color. Sign a petition to save NCBH’s labor and delivery services here!

A judge has agreed to allow Interfaith Hospital in Brooklyn to remain open for 16 more days. Advocates hope the delay will allow them to stave off permanent closure of the bankrupt hospital, which serves some of central Brooklyn’s poorest residents. Many of its financial woes began with the slashing of the state Medicaid budget in 2009.

Meanwhile, immunization clinics that provide free and low-cost services in the Bronx and Queens also face closure. You can sign a petition to keep them open here.

Health Disparities

The Texas Health Institute has released a report highlighting key provisions of the ACA that advance racial and ethnic health equity and protect the health care safety net. The report also identifies priority areas in ACA implementation going forward.

Millions of Americans live in food deserts, a low-income area where there is limited access to grocery stores, making it expensive, difficult, and time-consuming to obtain fresh and nutritious food. Food deserts and food swamps–areas with a high number of junk food-peddling convenience stores and fast food chains in place of traditional grocery stores–are particularly prevalent in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods.

Meet the women of color who are revolutionizing the approach to addressing health disparities, gentrification, and environmental degradation in their communities: through biking.

Racial disparities in health care are considered the new frontier for civil rights. As popular discourse on racial health disparities typically focuses on Black and Latino populations, other marginalized communities–such as Native Americans–are often overlooked. Yet a large minority of Native Americans live on reservations in rural areas with limited access to quality health care, leading to disproportionately high negative health outcomes.

Miscellaneous:

Conservatives both on the state and national levels are still working to block the implementation of the ACA.

This week was the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington. Check out his speech, accompanied by beautiful animation, here. Our own HJ team member Jenn Swayne reflected on the anniversary of this pivotal moment in history–and where we have left to go as a nation–here.

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