5 Strategies for Improving Access to Healthcare in Medically Underserved Areas

Strategies for Improving Access to Healthcare in Medically Underserved Areas

Men and women who lack health insurance are sicker than their insured counterparts. In addition, they pass away at a younger age. To prevent this from happening, healthcare coverage must be expanded. In addition, all people need to be protected from abuse by the insurance industry.

Sadly, having health insurance doesn’t mean a person will have access to medical care. Although it does help, many things must be done to improve access to care in medically underserved areas. The following steps will be of help in achieving that goal.

Doctor Shortages

Many patients visit LifeSavers Foundation because they cannot find a doctor or their regular doctor is booked, and they are struggling to get on the schedule. Shortages are seen in both primary and specialty fields. Steps are being taken to resolve this issue, but more needs to be done.

In 2020, Congress added 1,000 graduate medical education positions designed to help underserved areas and teaching hospitals. These positions are receiving Medicare support, which has not been done for a quarter-century. Forgiveness of medical school loans should be considered, and foreign-trained doctors should have barriers removed so they can practice in America.

Adequately Fund Health Insurance Programs

The Children’s Health Insurance Program must be adequately funded to ensure people don’t fall through the cracks. This coverage must remain in place in those states that expanded Medicaid, and more states need to expand their programs.

Millions of Americans benefit from Medicaid today. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, almost 12 million individuals became eligible for this program when they weren’t previously. In addition, the passing of this act lead to over three million people who were previously eligible for the program signing up for Medicaid.

Expand Telehealth Opportunities

The global pandemic demonstrated the benefits of telehealth and remote monitoring. Doctors could stay connected to patients who were unable or unwilling to visit the healthcare facility. Medical professionals quickly discovered the use of these technologies that allows them to help more patients, particularly in those areas with doctor shortages.

Individual Insurance Marketplaces

Today, many individual insurance marketplaces are struggling. These programs must be stabilized, and legislators must keep certain ACA market reforms in place. Doing so will help to ensure all individuals have access to affordable coverage. There are many ways this can be done.

Legislators must consider allowing premium tax cuts up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level. In addition, they should offer young adults more tax credits without getting rid of the existing premium tax credit structure. States need to be involved in the process and come up with solutions to ensure more people gain access to health insurance. When doing so, they need to keep existing patient protections in place.

Lawmakers need to take this a step further. It is time for them to establish a permanent federal reinsurance program. When doing so, they need to prohibit the sale of insurance plans that lack protection for pre-existing conditions. Essential health benefits must be offered in these plans and patients must have protection against lifetime and annual limits.

Increased Efficiency

Medical liability reforms will help to increase efficiency in the industry. The same holds for reducing regulatory burdens. Doing so will lead to an improvement in patient care while bringing costs down. Physician-led payment models also need consideration.

Better access to healthcare is needed. These reforms serve as an excellent starting point. However, there are other things a healthcare organization can do to improve access. Each organization needs to find those measures that will work for them.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.

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