By Evan Osborne, MPH, RT(T)
Communities are facing a crisis in healthcare. Patients are choosing to feed their families over purchasing essential prescriptions for chronic diseases. Due to a lack of transportation, vulnerable and underprivileged demographics are purchasing cheap, unhealthy non-perishables at convenience stores rather than health-conscious options at grocers just a few miles away. Non-English-speaking patients are being discharged from hospitals only to return because they did not understand the post-discharge instructions. These are just a few challenges faced daily in communities suffering from low health equity.
In 2014, evidence-based research ranked the U.S. as last overall in comparison to 11 industrialized nations measured in quality, efficiency, access to care, equity and healthy living (Mahon, 2014). In September 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Office of Minority Health released their equity plan for improving quality in Medicare. The mission of this plan strategized the benefits of advancing health equity by improving quality of care within minority and other underserved Medicare beneficiaries (CMS.gov, 2015). This proposal was catalyzed by the Affordable Care Act, Healthy People 2020 and other leading federal agencies driving nationwide health initiatives. Furthermore, Medicare spending grew 4.2% to $705.9 billion in 2018 (CMS.gov, 2019). This historical data coincides with other trends highlighting the use of excess funds and care being directed towards disparities within specific populations and demographics. Influenced by modern healthcare’s transition from fee-for-service to value-based purchasing reimbursement models, the risk in caring for populations suffering from health disparities has grown exponentially.[Read more…] about Addressing Health Equity & The Risk In Providing Care