Empire State Medical Association’s top ten recommendations to help eliminate the racial and ethnic disparities. This will help reduce the millions of dollars of healthcare costs to government and hospitals.
Create and enhance preventive public service announcements, public health education protocols:
Rationale: Educational advertisements regarding diet, exercise, substance abuse, smoking, sexually transmitted diseases, will help prevent premature death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, homicide, HIV and diabetes as the leading causes of death. This will also help reduce health care expenditures on many of these preventable diseases (including TB, sexually transmitted diseases including Hepatitis C). Advertisements via radio, television, billboard posters and press conferences are very effective toward educating the people about the latest health alerts, issues and action initiatives.
Expand the healthcare safety net and create policy to increase access to health insurance for New Yorkers that do not have it.
(Tax deductions to persons who live in zip codes with the highest health afflictions, Tax incentives to hospitals and health care providers in those zip codes). Pariety in insurance coverage for mental illness. Increase the elibibility of the Family Health Program to for a single childless adult with an income (instead of the current $8,910, increased to $25,00 with a sliding scale fee to the state) and increase for a family for four (from $24,140 to $40,000 with a sliding scale fee to the state). These measures would single adults as well as parents will be able to receive access to quality health care.
Repeal the New York Medicaid cuts for healthcare for those patients with dual Eligibility with Medicare.
Rationale: These cut backs have reduced these patient’s access to private physicians in these poorer and underserved neighborhoods. The cutback also discourages physicians from setting up practices in poor communities since they will be receiving less reimbursement than physicians whom practice in wealthier communities.
Tort reform with caps on malpractice awards.
Rationale: This will ensure more funds available for healthcare instead of trial lawyers that on many occasions file frivolous law suits costing healthcare providers millions of dollars depleting monies for healthcare.
Regulate and investigate health insurance companies:
Rationale: To make sure insurance companies use monies from the government and the people they serve to provide health care for patients and pay physicians and hospitals appropriately for their services. The government must make sure the insurance companies do not fleece the money to pay millions of dollars to CEO’s and executives and other fleecing activities.. Legislation must be created to prevent Health Maintenance Organizations from denying access to care and heavy fines for organized racketeering denial of payments to hospitals and physicians for services provided. Consider moving to an efficient one payer system to ensure money for healthcare is spent on healthcare. In New York hospitals lose approximately $750 million dollars annually and the HMO’s profit over 750 million dollars.
Create violence reduction, conflict resolution, and preventive law education protocols for junior high school students and public:
Rationale: This will help reduce prevent and reduce incarceration and disenfranchisement. The state does not allow religion to be taught in schools. Thus there is a void in the teaching of morals and principles of right and wrong. Children coming from poorer families often have parents away from the home working 2 and 3 jobs to make ends meet and maybe deprived of this nurturing. The educational system must participate in educating students about the consequences of criminal activity.
Improve educational protocols in the zip codes with the highest health disparities:
Rationale: This will help fee the pipeline for young people to become highly trained for careers, including physicians, scientists and allied health professionals. NY GME Council has been complacent with maintaining the level of Blacks enrolled in medical schools at 10%. This number needs to be increased and programs put in place to insure that the pool from K-12 are developed. Teaching youth how to manage their finances is vitally important. Not having this skill is a major stressor leading to all sorts of problems including hypertension and exacerbating most chronic diseases. Also, not having this skill leads them to behaviors that may lead to criminal activity to obtain money.
Immediately develop job training programs for men in NYC:
Unemployment leads to poverty, substance abuse, and crime. Not only are the men affected but also the women and children of the family. Recently it was announced that 51% of Black men in NY are unemployed. This is a catastrophe. This should be considered a city, state, and federal emergency requiring federal aid. Failure to act upon this crisis and appropriating billions of American tax dollars to rebuild communities in Iraq without adequately addressing this is nothing short of institutionalized racism.
Reduce the cost of prescription drugs:
Globally US drug companies make 50% of their profits off of the American consumer alone. Pharmaceutical cost reduction protocols such as those used in Canada and other countries will reduce the cost the medications particularly to those whom are the most sick and poor who may not be able to afford them to reduce health disparities.
Stop the targeting of waste disposal facilities that have high levels of pollution to poor neighborhoods.
Rationale: Pollution increases the risk of asthma, cancer and death rate. Newer methods that are less toxic must be carefully researched and utilized to safeguard the communities near these facilities.
All of the above recommendations should be targeting the zip codes in New York that are clearly known to have these disparities in health, education, and unemployment.