Disparities in health care access in the US
Multiple studies had shown that racial and ethnic minorities experience a lower quality of health care services and are less likely to receive routine medical procedures than are white Americans. Minorities are also more likely to be uninsured, live in poverty, and be exposed to environmental hazards at home and on the job. Although the gap in health services and health outcomes is not as wide as it was 10 years ago; there are still major blocks to overcome before we could achieve equality in health care services. Eliminating these disparities involves recognizing and understanding the relationships among race, socioeconomic status, and health; appreciating the complexities of working with different racial and ethnic groups; and dealing with sensitive subjects, such as racism, power, and privilege.
There is little information on how care can be improved for racial and ethnic minorities groups. We know that those individuals, who have access to a primary care provider in a continuous basis, have better health outcomes and longer life expectancies regardless of their income or socio economical status. Traditionally safety-net providers have informally assumed responsibility for the health care of these groups. There is evidence that growth in the numbers of the uninsured is placing increasing financial pressure on these safety-net providers. Some safety-net providers had begun adopting care management programs as a way to address the problem. By using care management programs they can not only control costs, but also ensure that patients receive appropriate evidence-based care. The goal of care management is to improve health outcomes and reduce unnecessary use of health care services.
Community Health Centers (CHCs) are one of the major providers of health care services for minorities groups. A recent presidential mandate increased the founding for CHCs. Although a good achievement, this mandate is only...
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