5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: January 20

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience.

1. Insulin Capped at $35 for People on Medicare

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act, those 65 and over who are on Medicare won’t have to pay more than $35 for insulin starting this year. While this is a step in the right direction, there are millions of people with diabetes who won’t benefit from this, which is the result of Republican senators blocking a revision that would have capped the cost of the drug for most Americans with private insurance back in August.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 21 million people in the United States who have diabetes are under the age of 65. The average cost of insulin in the U.S. is over $98, and this number can reach the hundreds for people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who need more than one vial of the drug per month. When people don’t have insulin because they can’t afford it, they try to ration it, which could lead to being hospitalized or even death.

While there are people on insulin who have insurance, things can come up when more than one vial is needed or a replacement is needed. For example, NBC News reported that Anita Brown, a 41-year-old Chicago resident with Type 1 diabetes, usually pays $60 to $70 for a three-month supply of insulin through her insurance. But a couple of years ago, she needed a replacement supply because hers was stolen from her bag during practice for her bowling league.

At first, the pharmacy she went to said her insurance wouldn’t cover the replacement and she might have to pay $1,000 to get more. Her insurance ended up allowing her to use emergency coverage and pay $60 to replace her medication, but that benefit can only be initiated once a year.

2. City National Bank to Pay DOJ $31 Million Over Redlining Allegations

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that City National Bank will pay $31 million in the largest redlining settlement in the DOJ’s history.

City National Bank is headquartered in Los Angeles and is one of the largest banks in the country. The settlement agreement is part of the DOJ’s Combat Redlining Initiative launched by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in October 2021.

“Fifteen months after I vowed that the Justice Department would be aggressively stepping up our efforts to combat discriminatory practices in the housing market, we have today secured the largest redlining settlement in Department history,” Garland said in a statement.

Through the initiative, $75 million has been secured “in relief for communities that have suffered from lending discrimination,” the Attorney General added.

Subscribe to DiversityInc Best Practices to read “The Ongoing Impact of Environmental Racism and Redlining.”

3. DiversityInc CEO Carolynn L. Johnson Participates in Healthcare Symposium

DiversityInc CEO Carolynn L. Johnson spoke and led a panel discussion titled “Building a Diverse Healthcare Workforce: Best Practices for Recruiting, Hiring & Promoting Professionals of Color,” at the Center for Healthcare Innovation’s Diversity, Inclusion & Health Equity Symposium – East Coast, in New York City this week.

During the discussion, Johnson talked about how employers have the responsibility of building health equity, which was a major topic of discussion at the symposium.

“To build health equity, you have to build trust,” she said.

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is a major component with health equity, and along with building trust, healthcare providers and institutions need to be intentional with their DEI strategies, Tracey Volz, Assistant Vice President of Sponsored Research Operations at NYU Langone Health, said during the panel.

After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, diversity “all of a sudden became a thing,” Volz said.

“I think we have to be intentional about not it being a thing, but it being the way that we operate,” she said.

Check back to DiversityInc next week to hear more from the panel discussion.

4. KPMG Supports HBCU Showcase Track & Field Meet

KPMG (No. 11 on DiversityInc’s 2022 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) sponsored the 2023 HBCU Showcase track & field meet at the New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City on January 14. The event included 30 or more HBCU track and field programs from schools across the country.

As part of the event, KPMG hosted a meet and greet with professionals from its organization and athletes from the schools who participated. KPMG’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Elena Richards, also spoke at the event.

Richards said the event was “a rewarding way to kick off MLK Day weekend” in a post on LinkedIn.

“As a former track and field athlete who spent many of my weekends here during high school, it’s full circle to see the firm support diverse collegiate athletes and expose high school students to more than 30 HBCUs,” she said.

5. Diversity of Outside Legal Counsels Not as High as Anticipated

Research from the Association of Corporate Counsel and the General Counsel Oath Initiative shows that while some outside law firms have incorporated initiatives to increase DEI, “the value legal chiefs place on outside counsel diversity may not be as high as anticipated,” Legal Dive writes.

Spanning 28 countries, the ACC and GC Oath survey was completed by 232 general counsels. Of those surveyed, 31% of legal chiefs said they ask for measures and metrics from law firms related to DEI at a basic level.

According to the report, organizations with 50,000 or more employees are five times more likely than organizations with less than 1,000 employees to request information related to DEI from organizations that are smaller, “a 75% to 16% disparity. Of those organizations with more than 50,000 employees, 20% ask for more advanced DEI data.

“The use of KPIs does not guarantee immediate progress but those general counsels who have requested that KPIs be tracked at an advanced level do rate significantly higher progress in achieving their DE&I objectives,” the report states.

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