Many Poor Rely on Hospital Care as Primary Provider

Certain barriers may be leading the economically challenged to rely on hospital care. Contributing factors included challenges like access to transportation and hospital location.

Long wait times, jammed schedules, confusing insurance plans — there’s no shortage of obstacles between a patient and her doctor. That is, if she has a doctor.

Certain barriers may be leading the economically challenged to rely on hospital care. Contributing factors included challenges like access to transportation and hospital location. The Washington Post writes:

But a Health Affairs study published Monday says the barriers for poor people looking to get care are even higher, and it’s leading them away from preventive doctor visits and toward emergency rooms and costly, hospital-based care.

“This was like holding up a magnifying lens to the problems of our health care system,” said Dr. Shreya Kangovi, lead author and a physician at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Researchers interviewed 40 patients of low socioeconomic status in the qualitative study to document how and where they receive health care. The patients fell into two groups: socially dysfunctional or disabled patients who sought hospital care five or more times a month, and those who were socially stable but found it hard to access ambulatory care. The researchers identified the study subjects by their zip codes and hospital usage.

Read the full story here: http://wapo.st/14YFzUW