Critical Issue for Healthcare

As a practicing Registered Nurse, I take enormous pride in my responsibility to provide the highest level of care to each and every patient I treat.   I am obligated by the standards of practice to deliver skillful, compassionate and unbiased care with the goal of improving health related outcomes.   In the vast majority of cases, I witness an appreciable difference in the quality of my patient’s health status by the time they are discharged from my care. But for many of my patients, my concern then becomes what will happen to them after they are discharged because of the health care access barriers they may face.
A number of issues affect a patient’s access to healthcare. What is the financial status of the patient? Do they have adequate insurance? Are they male or female? Where do they live?   What race are they? What is their ethnic background?   All of these issues can contribute to health care access barriers (Fiscella, 2011).
These barriers can have far reaching consequences. Even though the United States spends more money per person on healthcare than any other industrialized country (Moorhead & Slavik Cowen, 2011), many Americans do not receive the care they need mainly because of health care access barriers.   Patients suffer preventable pain, illness and death-as well as more expensive care (Gauthier & Serber, 2005). In addition, patients may experience trouble in their family life, loss of employment and bankruptcy. But in many cases, the affects of inadequate access go beyond individual health consequences. Infection rates increase, public health and safety are adversely affected, crime and homelessness increase, and social agencies become overburdened. Health care rates and insurance premiums increase. Employers drop benefits for workers or purchase policies so substandard that even their insured employees cannot afford necessary care. So because of these barriers, healthcare has become inaccessible to many Americans.
Truly “accessible”...