By: Maria Trusa
A striking number of uninsured individuals forgo seeking medical attention due to their perception of not having financial options available for medical care. Unfortunately, this stigma has become customary for the underserved population. Why are there low expectations for those who are disadvantaged?
Many times, we tend to disregard the needs of others, failing to focus on those who are truly in need. With the uninsured community, we all too often, see the prejudices of care. Our health system is focused on the insured and maintaining ways to sustain coverage plans for those who can afford healthcare. What about the percentage of individuals who are unable to measure up with that population? The lack of accessibility to healthcare for individuals even if they can afford to pay for insurance is bewildering. Needless to say, the healthcare system is set up to disable the uninsured community. It has become a vicious cycle which emanated from the lack of support and attention needed to afford this population a means of dignified care.
The destructive high costs of healthcare are leading to increased emergency room visits and hospitalizations as a result of unattainable preventive care for many. Individuals are forced to neglect their care resulting in the lack of a healthy lifestyle with added pressures. As a result, many go to the emergency room for care and are discharged with an unimaginable hospital bill as rates are charged at 300-800% over Medicare, at a minimum. We have seen patients distressed by the inflated charges of healthcare refusing to continue seeking needed care. There was an incident of a woman sent in error to the hospital for a routine mammogram and was charged over $1000 for the visit. Understandably, she was very upset; refusing to continue any follow up care. Such incidences may result in extensive healthcare needs and in some cases even death becoming a dumbfounding expense. The cost of healthcare has become implausible committing tax payers to excessive expenses as many will not be able to afford the services provided.
The working class along with immigrants in our communities are finding it difficult to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Many immigrants hold hard-hitting, labor-intensive jobs that tear away at their physical being with a risk of serious injuries and/or illness which may warrant surgery or long-term treatment. Why are we not being more proactive in formulating ways to make a difference for so many in need? Instead, we bear the consequences of the complications that stem from such ignorance and lack of interest in the well-being of others.
Our efforts of transforming healthcare bear witness to the challenges in our community. Along with our partners, we strive to make an impact in the lives of many who are not aware or believe opportunities are non-existent. While impacting their health, we transform lives. Some time ago, there was a gentleman who was almost legally blind. An immigrant with no aspirations due to his limitations. He worked as a dishwasher to provide for his family and hadn’t been seen by a doctor in 10 years. His condition worsened due to the inability of affording the recommended corrective procedure. Today, with the assistance of our community partners, he was able to afford the procedure resulting in the improvement of his sight, work performance and new assignment as the “Head Cook”. It is astounding how with a little support a life was impacted. This is what we wish for many.
Accessibility, affordability and continuity of care are key factors at Formé Medical Center. There are so many others like the woman and gentleman and although we realize there is no solution, we are hopeful that our efforts will aid this broken healthcare system and bring emphasis to the needs of the community.
At Formé Medical Center, “You Matter and We Care!