Most of the Spectrum Health Services service areas are designated as medically underserved with a population that has a much higher proportion of African Americans than the city and state. The level of poverty is almost three times that of the state and half of the children and a quarter of the elderly are living in poverty.
The patients in our community are experiencing significant health disparities and higher than state average of mortality and morbidity. Areas of the largest health disparities include, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, lack of routine care for screening, substance abuse disorders, untreated behavioral health issues (depression, PTSD, anxiety), and lack of oral health care.
Barriers to Patient Care
- Geographical/Transportation Barriers; Unemployment; Education; Low Income Factors; Lack of Culturally and Linguistically Sensitive Services; Lack of services that take into account the specific needs of the population; Low Health Literacy; Patients Lack of Knowledge in Accessing Existing Health Care Services; Health Insurance
We know that poverty limits access to healthy foods and safe neighborhoods and that more education is a predictor of better health. We also know that differences in health are striking in communities with poor social determinants of health (SDOH) such as unstable housing, low income, unsafe neighborhoods, or substandard education. By addressing what we know about the health barriers in our population, SDOH, and the unmet needs of our patient population we can not only improve individual and population health needs but we can also advance health equity.
Also, by coordinating the care of our patients we can meet their needs and preferences in the delivery of high-quality, high-value health care. This means that the patient’s needs and preferences are known and communicated at the right time to the right people, and that this information is used to guide the delivery of safe, appropriate, and effective care.
Additionally, Our HRSA grant funding mandates that we provide to the uninsured and underinsured. Our staff also works with patients to help them attain health insurance.