CDC: More than half of U.S. population not receiving preventive services

Less than half of Americans get the preventive clinical services we need. Clinical care aimed at preventing HIV infection, cancer, stroke, and heart attacks is delivered on a regular basis to only half the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Moreover, there are huge inequities in who does receive this care. African-Americans, Latinos, and other minorities are less likely than whites to receive appropriate clinical preventive services. For example, about 46% of white patients with hypertension have their blood pressure under control, compared with 32% of Mexican-American patients. Racial and ethnic disparities in the delivery of clinical services may result from physicians’ unconscious biases toward these patients. However, the greatest proportion of this inequities no doubt stems from the unequal distribution of health care services and other problems of access.

Physicians, nurse practitioners, and other health care providers tend to be located in urban and more affluent communities. Inner-city ghettoes, barrios, and other working-class or rural communities have a dearth of health care services. In addition, the populations in these communities are the very same ones with little or no health insurance, which means that — even when available — health care is not accessible.

We need a single-payer, national health care system, with universal coverage. We need to incent health care providers to locate in minority, rural, and working-class communities. And we need to develop the housing, education, and industrial resources of these communities to address all the social determinants of their health.

Monday, July 9th, 2012 at 04:31