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More Than Just Care: Health Care Access is a Make-or-Break Metric for Millions

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Social Determinants of Health 1 – Access to Care

By Mallory Mueller, quality health coordinator at Network Health
Originally published on 12/29/2021 at 1:15 p.m.

This article is the first in a series we’ll be publishing over the next couple of days on social determinants of health. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the social determinants of health are defined as the conditions and environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship or age that affect a wide range of health, functioning and quality-of-life outcomes.

Access to health care is an issue for many people. Even if you have health insurance, a copay or transportation to and from the appointment may be a barrier to getting the care you need.

According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Many people in the United States don’t get the health care services they need. Sometimes people don’t get recommended health care services, like cancer screenings, because they don’t have a primary care provider. Other times, it’s because they live too far away from health care providers who offer them. Interventions to increase access to health care professionals and improve communication — in person or remotely — can help more people get the care they need.”

What is being done to bridge the healthcare access gap?

In order to help mitigate the negative outcomes that can result from a lack of sufficient access to quality health care, providers and plans are working to provide alternate solutions for care.

Virtual visits are a convenient way to get care for covered health services including the diagnosis and treatment of non-emergency medical conditions. Virtual visits are designed as a convenient alternative to urgent care or personal doctor visits for non-emergency medical conditions.

Virtual visits are a great way to save time and money.

Transportation can be another access barrier (one we’ll investigate further in a future article). If you need help with transportation to and from your appointments, this community resource sheet provides resources for transportation needs.

Many don’t even know where to start with their personal health care. If you need assistance picking a personal doctor to establish care and stay up to date with personal health screenings, a care management coordinator (a registered nurse or social worker) can reach out to you. You can reach a care manager by calling 866-709-0019, Monday–Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

As we continue to investigate and shine a light on the social determinants of health, you may have questions. For more information on your own care and access, reach out to us by clicking the link below.

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