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Accessing healthcare is essential to promote the human well-being, and a country without adequate these services is likely to have a high mortality rate as well as low life expectancy. About twenty-five percent of the American population lives in the rural areas, where access to medical services is a challenge due to reasons such as transportation. For instance, a patient in the underserved regions is more likely to die due to cancer as compared to those in the urban and suburban areas. Ideally, the rural and inner-city areas have a significant problem of accessing healthcare such as dental care, primary care, emergency care, mental and public health services. The paper shall analyze the accessibility issue as well as solutions and its implementation.
The U.S is among the global wealthiest nations, but not every individual have the health accessibilities opportunities, mainly in the rural areas. Some of the primary reasons for this challenge include lack of transportation, poor geographical locations and lack of care providers who can offer low-cost services. For instance, the distance from Cross City in Florida to the nearest hospital is about forty-five miles. In case a patient has an emergency in this area, an ambulance can take not less than thirty minutes to arrive, not considering that it has to take more time to go back to the hospital. Moreover, a significant number of the U.S citizens do not have insurance coverage, and cannot afford private services; thus, even if the government provide hospitals and other medical facilities at a close distance, many would still be unable to access the services due to unaffordability.
The article by (Foutz, Artiga, and Garfield, 2016) is among the three that the paper shall analyze. This document talks about the role of Medicaid among elderly in the rural areas and challenges that most of these individuals experience. The article is credible in the sense that most rural and inner-city individuals have low income as compared to those in the cities. Medicaid helps the elderly to acquire the private services by reaching to at least twenty-four percent of them. Also, Medicaid has intensified its operations in rural as compared to the urban centers. For instance, coverage in the underserved regions of California is sixteen-percent higher than in the metropolitan area and thirteen percent in Hawaii.
Again, the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion increased the coverage in rural areas as compared to the non-expansion states. For example, the Rate increased from twenty-one to twenty-six percent between 2013 and 2015 in states that expanded Medicaid as compared to the twenty to twenty-one in those that did not extend. The article carrying this information is relevant to help understand the role of Medicaid and how states can embrace ACA expansion in the rural areas to help reduce the inaccessibility challenge.
The second article to analyze its credibility and relevance is the one written in 2006 by Gennaro (Gennaro, 2016). The document talks about the world health, society and profession as well as health policy and systems. The U.S is yet to adopt the necessary procedures for boosting the healthcare services. For instance, countries like Canada, Australia, and Finland, uses a” health in all policies,” strategy to promote health through public policies in areas such as housing, transportation, and agriculture. However, this idea is yet to receive traction in the U.S. Such reluctance indicates the credibility of this document as well as how relevant it is to help the United States enact policies that can boost the care services. Moreover, income inequality creates adverse health impacts, which is the scenario happening in the American rural areas as compared to the urban centers, and thus causing low health accessibility.
The third document to deal with is a guide Rural Health Information Hub, published in 2017, and talks about the barriers of accessing healthcare in the U.S. and how the challenge can be eliminated (Rural Health Information Hub, 2017). Some of the reasons for this challenge as listed in this document are low healthcare literacy, workforce shortages, transportation as well as stigma. The material is credible since some distances from home to the hospital are long, that they do not seem to be from a first world country. Moreover, the shortage of doctors in these areas is immense, for instance, for every one-hundred-thousand resident in the rural areas, there exist sixty-eight physicians. About one-fifth of the U.S population lives in the underserved regions, but only one-tenth of registered physicians work there. The federal designated primary care doctors amount to about six-thousands and four-thousand dentists. The document is entirely credible and relevance to help the government understand the need for increased health care access to the underserved regions.
Most of the areas considered underserved are rural and inner-city. These regions have few primary care providers, a higher number of elderly, poverty rate and infant mortality. The people most affected in this setting are the homeless, Medicaid-eligible, low-income, elderly without people to provide care and migrant farmworkers among many other groups. Heath care accessibility issue is crucial to me since I have a loveable but diabetic grandfather in the rural regions of the Cross City. Unavailability of medical services and quick transportation has been a frustration to the sick individuals in this area.
Some of the solutions applicable to inaccessibility of health care services include the provision of mobile clinics to offer dental care, mental care or preventative disease services. This method can be carried out using vehicles equipped with medical technologies. The advantage of this approach is an opportunity to save money and also reduce blood pressures among the strained population. Another method: hospitals can work together with transportation networks to ease medical accessibility and patient transportation. Some online sources propose that students should be disbursed in these underserved areas and also recruit local health providers through community development programs (Merce, 2001). However, for quality and a wide range of services, patients should visit the best hospitals, only through quick and better transportation means.
The approach of mobile clinics has both advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the pros include quick accessibility of services, provision of different varieties and possibilities of providing immediate healthcare during disasters. However, the approach has disadvantages such as financial, structural and procedural problems. Moreover, lack of specific specialization and tools as well as the unwillingness of people to use these facilities (Abbasi and Samouei, 2016).
If this approach of mobile clinics becomes implemented, it shall raise an ethical implication of healthcare efficiency, even though with low quality of services, where most people shall be forced to seek other hospitals. However, the implementation shall also address the issues of ending lives, for instance, most people would develop severe complications that hasten deaths particularly to the elderly. With the mobile clinic, immediate first aids shall be available to serve people before they arrive at the main hospital for quality services and can also test and give a recommendation for managing diseases.
Every government has a responsibility of providing quality healthcare services to all its citizens. The introduction of mobile clinics shall help individuals to obtain quick treatment or facilitate the period of accessing quality healthcare. According to (Health Resource and Service Administration, 2016), the underserved areas experience high mortality rates due to the cost of reaching to the hospital and treatment. However, the introduction of mobile clinics increases the possibility of people avoiding a visit to the emergency department. For instance, Massachusetts in 2015, residents from lowest average income had three times more chances of avoidable emergency department rates as compared to those with highest average income rates (Yu et al., 2017). However, this approach has a disadvantage of some people failing to use these facilities due to different attitudes, possible threats to privacy and confidentiality as well as ethical and legal barriers (Mohammadzadeh and Safdari, 2014). Moreover, due to the reduced costs, some people may depend entirely on these facilities while it can only provide preventative care services. Such reliance can result in future complications.
Besides having a van equipped with medical facilities when implementing mobile clinics, the service providers need to be licensed at least by the local authority. Other recommendations are necessary such as incorporating health workers in the program, a unit to focus on training and empowerment, culturally competent staffs, consistency and stability in service provision, and staff diversity.
Provision of healthcare services is a right of every citizen in the U.S., and the government should intensify its role of increasing accessibility. The task of the government can be achieved either by constructing hospitals closer to the underserved individuals, taking well-equipped mobile facilities or providing means at which people can reach to the nearest facility without developing other complications.
Abbasi, S. and Samouei, R. 2016. Investigation of mobile clinics and their challenges. Available from:https://www.researchgate.net/publication/293025655_Investigation_of_mobile_clin ics_and_their_challenges
[accessed Mar 30 2018].
Foutz, J. Artiga, S. Garfield, R. 2016. The Role of Medicaid in Rural America. Available at: http://files.kff.org/attachment/Issue-Brief-The-Role-of-Medicaid-in-Rural-America
Gennaro, S. (2016). Why write? Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 48(2), 58,102.
Health Resource and Service Administration 2016. Medically Underserved Areas and Populations (MUA/Ps). Available at: https://bhw.hrsa.gov/shortage-designation/muap
Merce, W.M. 2001. Initiatives to Improve Access to Rural Health Care Services.
Mohammadzadeh, N and Safdari, R. 2014. Patient Monitoring in Mobile Health: Opportunities and Challenges. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4272470/
Rural Health Information Hub, 2017. Healthcare Access in Rural Communities. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/topics/healthcare-access
Yu, S.W. Hill, C. Ricks, M.L. Bennet, J. and Oriol, N.E. 2017. The scope and impact of mobile health clinics in the United States: a literature review. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5629787/
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