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Old 11-16-2020, 05:36 PM
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Default 3 major New York City hospitals to be probed for racial bias


3 major New York City hospitals to be probed for racial bias
By Gabrielle Fonrouge
November 16, 2020 | 12:19pm | Updated

The New York City Commission on Human Rights will investigate three of the Big Apple’s top hospitals to see if their drug testing policies of new moms and newborns is racially discriminatory, the agency announced Monday.

Advocacy groups brought concerns to the commission over drug testing practices at Mount Sinai, Montefiore and New York-Presbyterian hospitals that could be disproportionately targeting “Black and Latinx” parents and infants, the commission said in a news release.

“Studies show that Black women are far more likely than white women to be drug tested before or immediately following childbirth despite similar rates of drug use in both populations. These 2 factors can lead to mistrust of medical providers, fear of medical settings, and elevated stress levels, as well as act as a deterrent in seeking necessary medical treatment,” the commission wrote.

“The investigations examine the hospitals’ policies and practices regarding drug testing of pregnant people and newborns to assess whether those policies and practices demonstrate discriminatory racial bias against Black and Latinx families. The Commission-initiated investigation seeks to root out and end any such discriminatory practices.”

Advocates “have consistently reported” hospitals are using a “single unconfirmed positive screen” as a reason to report a parent to the State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment, even though it is not required.

If the child abuse agency accepts the report, the local child welfare agency is required by law to launch a child protection investigation into the new parent, which can have devastating consequences.
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“Achieving racial justice requires systemic change across all aspects of daily life, not least of all in the medical system,” Sapna V. Raj, the commission’s deputy commissioner of the law enforcement bureau, said in a statement.

“The Commission is seeking to root out any discriminatory policies or practices and prevent further harm to these communities. The manifestation of anti-Black racism in medical settings is a well-known and entrenched problem, and, under the leadership of Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis, confronting such racism has been, and continues to be, a top priority.”

Mount Sinai, Montefiore and New York-Presbyterian did not return requests for comment.
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