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Recognizing and comprehending a particular issue or difficulty about the financial elements of healthcare in a specific community or area is necessary for pinpointing a local healthcare economic issue. It looks at how interactions among healthcare providers, clients, insurers, and government regulations affect how much money is spent, who can get healthcare services, and how much it costs. Recognizing this problem requires considering the unequal distribution of healthcare resources and their effects on the economic security of disadvantaged people and communities. Then, stakeholders may concentrate on activities to alleviate these gaps, such as enhancing the healthcare system in underprivileged regions, raising health literacy levels, or putting specific programs in place to lower treatment barriers (Daniel et al., 2018). The main economic issue discussed here is the lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities.

Health Care Economic Issues and Impact on Specific Community 

One significant healthcare economic issue in the United States is the lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities. These communities face multiple barriers that hinder their ability to receive adequate healthcare services. Limited access to healthcare providers, a scarcity of medical facilities, and insufficient financial resources exacerbate the challenges faced by individuals living in these areas (Palozzi et al., 2020).

Underserved and rural communities often struggle to attract and retain healthcare professionals due to various factors, including lower reimbursement rates and limited career opportunities. As a result, these communities need more primary care physicians, specialists, and other healthcare providers. According to a National Rural Health Association report, there are only 39.8 primary care doctors per 100,000 people in rural areas compared to 53.3 in urban areas (Troy Trygstad, 2020).

Furthermore, rural hospitals and clinics often face financial constraints, making it difficult to maintain and expand healthcare services. Many of these facilities operate on narrow profit margins, and some even face closure due to financial instability. The lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities harms the population’s health outcomes. Individuals in these areas may delay seeking medical care, leading to the progression of preventable diseases and higher mortality rates. For instance, rural populations have higher rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity (Palozzi et al., 2020). Rendering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the age-adjusted death rate is 18% greater in rural zones than in urban zones. Policymakers and healthcare organizations have implemented various strategies (Garcia et al., 2019). One approach involves increasing funding and incentives to attract healthcare professionals to underserved areas, such as loan repayment programs and scholarships for medical students who commit to practicing in these communities (Leath et al., 2018). Telehealth services have also emerged as a valuable tool to bridge the gap in access, allowing patients to consult with healthcare providers remotely. Additionally, policies to improve the financial stability of rural healthcare facilities and expand Medicaid in states with high rural populations can enhance access to care for underserved communities (Palozzi et al., 2020).

The Rationale for Choosing the Healthcare Economic Issue

The rationale for choosing the healthcare economic issue of lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities is rooted in the fundamental principle of equity and ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their geographic location or socioeconomic status, have equal opportunities to access quality healthcare services. There is substantial inconsistency in healthcare access between urban and countryside regions and among underserved populations in the United States (Streeter et al., 2020).

One example of this issue can be seen in the shortage of healthcare providers in rural communities. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), approximately 20% of U.S. inhabitants reside in countryside areas, but only 10% of physicians practice there (Klein et al., 2020). This shortage of healthcare professionals makes it challenging for individuals in rural communities to access timely and comprehensive care, leading to delayed diagnoses and poorer health outcomes. A report by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that as of 2019, 10.1% of individuals in countryside areas were uninsured, compared to 8.6% in town areas. This disparity in insurance coverage exacerbates the problem of limited access to healthcare in rural communities (Rural & Institute, 2019).

Another example is the financial constraints faced by underserved communities. Many individuals in low-income and minority communities lack health insurance coverage or have limited access to Medicaid or other government-funded programs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2020, approximately 9.2% of the U.S. population was uninsured, with higher rates observed among minority groups. The lack of insurance coverage or underinsurance often results in delayed or neglected healthcare, as individuals may avoid seeking medical attention due to financial concerns (Klimchak et al., 2020).

Personal Experience

Growing up in a small rural town, I witnessed firsthand the challenges individuals face in accessing quality healthcare. Many individuals in underserved and rural communities encounter barriers such as limited healthcare facilities, physician shortages, and inadequate funding, resulting in reduced access to essential healthcare services. Personal experiences of individuals from underserved and rural communities highlight the impact of this issue. For instance, individuals may have to travel long distances to access particular treatment, causing inconvenience, increased costs, and potential delays in receiving necessary treatment. Moreover, limited access to preventive care and chronic disease management services can lead to adverse health outcomes and increased healthcare costs in the long run (Klimchak et al., 2020).

Effect of Healthcare Economic Issues on Work, Organization, Colleagues, and Community

As a nurse, the healthcare economic issue of lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities has significantly impacted my work, my organization, my colleagues, and our community. It is disheartening to witness firsthand the struggles faced by individuals in these communities who cannot access essential healthcare services due to financial constraints and limited resources (Palozzi et al., 2020).

From a personal standpoint, this economic issue has affected my work as a nurse by creating an overwhelming workload. With limited funding, there is often a shortage of healthcare providers and support staff in these underserved areas, leading to increased patient-to-nurse ratios and decreased quality of care. The lack of resources also means we have limited access to essential medical equipment, medications, and supplies, further hindering our ability to provide optimal patient care (Sangaramoorthy, 2018).

The healthcare economic issue within my organization has strained our budget and resources. Funding cuts and limited reimbursement rates for services provided to underserved populations have resulted in financial challenges. These constraints can impact the organization’s ability to recruit and retain skilled healthcare professionals, invest in necessary infrastructure and technology, and expand services to meet the community’s needs. The constant struggle to do more with less takes a toll on morale and adds stress to an already demanding job (Murthy, 2021).

My colleagues and I are deeply affected by the healthcare economic issue as we witness the consequences of inadequate access to care in the form of preventable diseases, delayed diagnoses, and worsening health outcomes. We often find ourselves advocating for our patients, attempting to navigate complex systems to secure resources and support for their healthcare needs. It can be frustrating and emotionally draining to witness the inequities that result from a lack of funding and access, knowing that our patients deserve better (Palozzi et al., 2020).

Impact on Diverse or Lower Socioeconomic Groups

The lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities significantly impacts diverse and lower socioeconomic groups regarding health care. These communities often face more significant barriers to accessing quality healthcare services, leading to disparities in health outcomes. Limited availability of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and specialists, in these areas hampers individuals’ ability to receive timely and appropriate care (Murthy, 2021). For diverse communities, language and cultural barriers can further exacerbate the issue. Many underserved communities consist of immigrants or individuals with limited English proficiency, making it challenging to communicate their healthcare needs and understand medical instructions. This lack of cultural competence and linguistic support within the healthcare system can result in misdiagnoses, inadequate treatment, and reduced overall health outcomes for these groups (Streeter et al., 2020). 

Moreover, the economic strain on lower socioeconomic groups compounds the problem. Financial limitations often prevent individuals from seeking preventive care, routine screenings, and necessary treatments. Without affordable healthcare services, individuals are more likely to delay or forgo essential medical attention, leading to disease progression and poorer health outcomes. The lack of funding for underserved and rural communities also affects the healthcare workforce in these areas. Many healthcare professionals may be reluctant to practice in these areas due to lower reimbursement rates, limited resources, and professional isolation. As a result, these communities need more healthcare providers, reducing access to quality care (Sangaramoorthy, 2018).

Identification of Gaps Need to Address

The United States faces significant gaps in its healthcare system, particularly concerning the lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities. This disparity contributes to the pressing need to address the economic issue within the healthcare sector. Firstly, the gap of inadequate access to healthcare services disproportionately affects susceptible inhabitants, including low-income people, ethnic and traditional factions, and those living in rural areas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2020, approximately 29.1 million Americans did not have health insurance, hindering their access to essential medical care (Murthy, 2021). 

Secondly, the funding gap for underserved and rural communities exacerbates the economic issue. The Health Resources and Services Administration reports that over 80 million Americans live in federally designated Health Professional Shortage Areas, with a shortage of healthcare providers (Snowden & Michaels, 2022). This shortage is especially acute in rural areas, with rural hospitals facing financial challenges due to lower patient volumes and higher rates of uncompensated care. These gaps in access and funding highlight the urgent need to address the economic issue within the healthcare system to ensure that all Americans have equitable access to quality healthcare services (Streeter et al., 2020).

Conclusion NURS FPX 6008 Assessment 1 Identifying a Local Health Care Economic Issue

In conclusion, the lack of access and funding for underserved and rural communities remains a significant healthcare economic issue that requires urgent attention. This problem stems from systemic barriers, including geographical remoteness, limited resources, and socioeconomic disparities. The consequences of this issue are far-reaching and can lead to health inequities, decreased quality of care, and compromised health outcomes for vulnerable populations.

References

Daniel, H., Bornstein, S. S., & Kane, G. C. (2018). Addressing social determinants to improve patient care and promote health equity: An American College of Physicians position paper. Annals of Internal Medicine168(8), 577. https://doi.org/10.7326/m17-2441 

Garcia, M. C., Rossen, L. M., Bastian, B., Faul, M., Dowling, N. F., Thomas, C. C., Schieb, L., Hong, Y., Yoon, P. W., & Iademarco, M. F. (2019). Potentially excess deaths from the five leading causes of death in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties — United States, 2010–2017. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Surveillance Summaries68(10), 1–11. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26843377?casa_token=9Rd6b8M9Zh8AAAAA:WUpQLKn4Hp2OkG8kWKANpA-YkO02EdZRoz9ipAULvG0O0Y1ygBE7gSbSqAqScs2-lauMmR-Rq_cEtt98R2fS11vw_wPZC8Cta7t3RgP08Uc5_4JsmS1bCQ 

Klein, P. W., Geiger, T., Chavis, N. S., Cohen, S. M., Ofori, A. B., Umali, K. T., & Hauck, H. (2020). The health resources and services administration’s Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program in rural areas of the United States: Geographic distribution, provider characteristics, and clinical outcomes. PLOS ONE15(3), e0230121. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0230121 

Klimchak, A. C., Patel, M. Y., Iorga, Ş. R., Kulkarni, N., & Wong, N. D. (2020). Lipid treatment and goal attainment characteristics among persons with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in the United States. American Journal of Preventive Cardiology1, 100010. 

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpc.2020.100010

Leath, B., Dunn, L. W., Alsobrook, A., & Darden, M. L. (2018). Enhancing rural population health care access and outcomes through the telehealth EcoSystemTM model. Online Journal of Public Health Informatics10(2). 

https://doi.org/10.5210/ojphi.v10i2.9311

Murthy, B. P. (2021). Disparities in covid-19 vaccination coverage between urban and rural counties — United States, December 14, 2020–April 10, 2021. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report70

https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7020e3

Palozzi, G., Schettini, I., & Chirico, A. (2020). Enhancing the sustainable goal of access to healthcare: findings from a literature review on telemedicine employment in rural areas. Sustainability12(8), 3318. 

https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083318

Rural, R., & Institute, U. of M. R. (2019). ACA and Medicaid expansion associated with increased insurance coverage for rural Americans with disabilities. Health and Wellness, 1–6. 

https://scholarworks.umt.edu/ruralinst_health_wellness/48/

Sangaramoorthy, T. (2018). “Putting band-aids on things that need stitches”: Immigration and the landscape of care in rural America. American Anthropologist120(3), 487–499. 

https://doi.org/10.1111/aman.13054

Snowden, L. R., & Michaels, E. (2022). Racial bias correlates with states having fewer health professional shortage areas and fewer federally qualified community health center sites. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparitieshttps://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-021-01223-0 

Streeter, R. A., Snyder, J. E., Kepley, H., Stahl, A. L., Li, T., & Washko, M. M. (2020). The geographic alignment of primary care Health Professional Shortage Areas with markers for social determinants of health. PLOS ONE15(4), e0231443. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0231443 

Troy Trygstad, P. (2020). Take the handcuffs off to serve rural America. Www.pharmacytimes.com88

https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/take-the-handcuffs-off-to-serve-rural-america

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