By Khiara M. Bridges
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Extra resources for Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy as a Site of Racialization
This chapter will attempt to continue to explode notions of doctors’ personal privacy—notions that have functioned to hide the racism that may contribute to health disparities in the United States. Chapter 5 investigates the use of the term “Alpha patient population” to refer to the individuals who received Medicaid-subsidized prenatal care from the clinic. ” The chapter then juxtaposes “Alpha patient population” with a ﬁgure that staﬀ, providers, and administrators oﬀered when speaking about the imagined “average” Alpha patient: that of the undocumented, uneducated immigrant.
Even if a woman has no interest in applying for Medicaid (instead opting to use her own private insurance or pay outof-pocket for her prenatal care) she must still meet with all the people before being scheduled to see a provider for a medical examination. This policy is in eﬀect because the hospital apparently chooses to err on the side of ﬁscal caution, presuming that every patient receiving health care within the obstetrics clinic will eventually become a Medicaid recipient. In the event that a patient ultimately receives Medicaid coverage, the hospital can be reimbursed for its services as it has satisﬁed all the PCAP requirements for Medicaid reimbursement for that patient.
She was later photographed handcuﬀed to a gurney in the hospital—what may be standard procedure for those who resist treatment (People 2004). Yet one does not have to be a celebrity to be granted entry to Alpha’s psychiatric ward. “If you’re in Manhattan and you happen to be unfortunate enough to decompensate in a manner that involves an imminent threat to yourself or those around you,” you are 21 most likely going to Alpha—that “single word that, for more than a century, has told the rest of New York City that there is now one less person on the streets about whom it has to worry” (Harris 2008).
Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy as a Site of Racialization by Khiara M. Bridges