Many factors drive the health disparities affecting the Latino community, and these disparities are further exacerbated by the inaccessibility and unaffordability of U.S. healthcare. While the Affordable Care Act has narrowed some health disparities, Latino adults continue to report significantly higher uninsured rates than other groups. A 2020 Commonwealth Fund study revealed uninsured rates of 24.9% for Latinos, 14.4% for Blacks, and 8.6% for whites.
A recent survey published by Brigham and Women’s Hospital revealed a shift in postacute care, with a move from skilled nursing facility (SNF) environments to home-based services. The survey followed 10 participants, randomly assigned to either rehabilitation at home or traditional SNF care. The results: Those recovering at home saw both a decrease in the cost of care and an increase in their activities of daily living, such as personal hygiene and feeding themselves.
The healthcare industry continues to look for ways to improve care delivery, quality of care, and outreach. However, these discussions often fail to consider the challenge of real-world logistics. Without reliable access to care—including vital elements like food, transportation, and pharmacies—vulnerable patients will remain hard pressed to improve their overall quality of health.
Providers, payers, community advocates, and the public health sector increasingly recognize that implementing value-based care (VBC) will be difficult without also addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the healthcare ecosystem. Unlike traditional fee-for-service healthcare, VBC is about proactively keeping people healthy rather than engaging in reactive and more costly “sick care.”
To boost the promise of more effective therapies, a number of organizations are working to capture the patient data that will drive research around precision medicine, with the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us research program being a notable example. Now, Seven Bridges Genomics, a bioinformatics ecosystem provider, has announced the formation of the Unified Patient Network (UPN).
In a report on the importance of diversity in the healthcare workforce published in 2021, Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, FAAP, FACP, FTOS, expressed the experiences of racial and ethnic minorities when pursuing their medical degrees compared to those from majority groups. In a survey of about 3,500 healthcare professionals, the findings showed that minorities and women were less likely to rank their organization as “culturally competent.”
Organizations like VIP StarNetwork try to create programs offering tailored messaging not just for compliance, but also to get the right information into the hands of healthcare workers across the board. They’re also looking at avenues to address the growing shortage in healthcare.
Nashville General Hospital has several programs targeting social determinants of health and health equity, including a “food pharmacy” that addresses food insecurity and an initiative featuring faith-based organizations that focuses on education attainment, health literacy, and healthcare access.
Creshelle Nash, MD, MPH, CHIE, medical director for health equity and public programs at Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield recently spoke with HealthLeaders about how she saw these disparities first-hand, and how the COVID-19 crisis has given the national healthcare system a vehicle to address social determinants of health (SDOH) and health disparities.
By 2030, all baby boomers will be age 65 or older, increasing the already strong need for elderly care. In a 2020 report, Caregiving in the U.S., AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving identified that nearly one in five people (19%) are providing unpaid care to an adult with health or functional needs. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, when staying at home meant reducing risk of infection, the value of at-home caregivers became even more evident.