In the past year, the United States has faced compounding challenges as it struggled to control the COVID-19 pandemic and grappled with significant civil unrest. The American pandemic response has been primarily determined by the guidance—or lack thereof—of elected officials and enacted policies at the local, state, and federal levels. Now, with the development of vaccines to combat COVID-19, the interconnectedness of civic health and public health is increasingly clear. ...

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There is a strong push for health care to move towards greater value-based care (VBC) arrangements. The prospect of VBC holds the opportunity to re-create partnerships designed to increase health care sustainability by strategically improving processes, care delivery, and patient outcomes to achieve higher quality output at a decreased cost. Furthermore, the held potential will not be optimized until providers, payers, patients, and communities are connected in this common goal ...

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In 2018, then-Senator Kamala Harris introduced the Maternal CARE (Care Access and Reducing Emergencies) Act and added the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2020.  Collectively, both pieces of legislation would create a task force to study sobering disparities in medical care based on race, combat racial implicit biases in the medical field, and close gaps in access to quality medical care for pregnant African American mothers.  The impetus ...

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The initial wave of vaccinations is underway, but let’s not forget that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the epidemic of precarious access to health care, an issue that the U.S. uniquely faces in the developed world. In 2018, a survey found that 44% would skip a doctor’s visit because they could not afford it. 33% reported delaying care for them ...

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The health care circumstances of President Biden’s ascent to the Oval Office are unprecedented. He is inheriting responsibility for the American response to a pandemic that has taken more than 400,000 American lives and will take office just months after the Supreme Court heard a case challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which if repealed will threaten the insurance status of tens of ...

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When the federal government executed Corey Johnson at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, on the 14th of January, 2021, he was COVID-19 positive. He was executed while suffering from a highly contagious respiratory illness that is killing over 4,000 Americans each day. Despite his positive diagnosis for COVID-19 and his risk for infecting those around him with this respiratory illness, Corey Johnson’s execution was not postponed. Who ...

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This week at work, I had a patient in the hospital who had been through a pretty challenging illness, and he was going to have to be discharged to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) to rehab for a few weeks. Sadly, SNFs in my area do not currently allow any visitors due to the pandemic. The patient is very close to his daughter, who lives out of state, and she ...

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I am at a loss.  While trying to explain the events to my children since January 6, I feel profound sadness and fear.  Our country is built on freedom, yet the latest in a parade of crisis’ is being used by those in power to remove our freedoms at an alarming pace and divide our country further. Less than one percent of the people who went to Washington, DC for a ...

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Sometimes structural racism surfaces in a way that even those of us who would like to be “color-blind” cannot help but see. In the spring of 2020, the video-recorded death of George Floyd (who was Black) at the hands of a law enforcement officer (who was white) brought millions of witnesses to the kind of hostility that is all-too-familiar to individuals of color.  Individuals, many non-white, took to our nation’s capital ...

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As a young and optimistic business school graduate, I recall when the consulting firm I worked for was retained to evaluate “USA Hospital and Medical Clinics” (pseudonym). “USA” had grown quickly and was struggling to manage the recent expansion. We interviewed doctors, nurses, and medical assistants, and they told us about the problems they faced every day: They were pressured to get patients in and out quickly to keep average visit ...

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