340B Insight Podcast
Episode Seven: Addressing Healthcare Disparities During the COVID-19 Pandemic
August 3, 2020
In this episode, we spoke with Dr. Jewel Younge, Clinical Pharmacist at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health) and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy. Dr. Younge analyzed how COVID-19 is exacerbating health disparities and 340B’s role in addressing these challenges. In our news update segment, we discussed a new presidential executive order regarding the 340B program. (Transcript)
In this episode, we spoke with Dr. Jewel Younge, Clinical Pharmacist at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health) and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy. We invited Jewel on the podcast after she participated in a panel discussion on health care inequalities during the 340B Coalition Virtual Summer Conference in late July. At the start of the episode, we discussed several news updates including a new presidential executive order regarding the 340B program.
Some key takeaways from the conversation with Jewel Younge include:
- Jewel’s Path to Pharmacy: Jewel took a nontraditional path to become a pharmacist. Originally the Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Olive-Harvey College, Jewel sought to expand her horizons by taking chemistry courses. After years of learning and training, she is now a practicing pharmacist and assistant professor at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy.
- COVID-19 Highlights Health Disparities in the U.S.: Jewel shared data pointing to race and age disparities during the COVID-19 pandemic in Chicago. She notes that the Black and Latinx communities have experienced higher positivity rates and deaths, while deaths for people over the age of 60 are disproportionately high.
- Busting Myths: Jewel emphasizes that communities that lack trust in health care systems are suffering from “COVID-19 myths.” For example, many are skeptical that the costs of seeking hospital care for medical conditions during the pandemic outweigh the benefits. She calls on health care professionals to improve outreach and build relationships with these communities.
- 340B’s Role in Addressing Health Disparities: UI Health provides more than $27 million per year in uncompensated care and has more than $19 million in 340B savings, which in turn is invested in pharmacy services, a medication assistance program, and other services that enhance patient care. Jewel said, “That's really what 340B is all about. Taking a small benefit and turning it into a massive reward for as many people as possible.”
Closing patient care gaps that perpetuate health care disparities in the U.S. will require input and action from safety-net providers. We are fortunate to have leaders such as Jewel who are leading the way toward progress.
Check out all of 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’d like us to cover in this podcast, email us at podcast@340BHealth.org.
- President Trump Signs Executive Order on 340B
- Statement on Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Congressman Chris Stewart on Bipartisan House Legislation to Protect 340B During COVID-19
- Report: The Role of Hospitals in Serving Medicaid and Low-Income Medicare Patients (and accompanying infographic)
- University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System