Why Does It Matter?
Reliable access to medical treatment makes a big difference for long-term health outcomes.
Having access to a healthcare home is a critical foundation for healthy living and preventing illness. While people may choose not to have healthcare coverage, many cannot afford it and are unable to qualify for assistance programs. Healthcare coverage allows us to more easily access treatment and preventative care. Not only is access important, but also the quality of healthcare treatment. Culturally appropriate and respectful services are important to ensure everyone feels comfortable coming back to a medical provider.
Our friends and neighbors who do not have healthcare coverage may not receive regular treatment, and as a result, they may resort to using emergency rooms for their primary care. In 2015, 5% (40,280) of people in the metro visited a ER. Of those who visited an ER, 9% (3,625) said they utilized the ER because they had issues accessing a primary care doctor. Emergency rooms are more expensive than a visit to a regular doctor and using an ER for primary care can create a larger societal cost for those experiencing medical emergencies.