Around the United States, communities are having to reevaluate the way healthcare is being delivered. To address these needs, the American Hospital Association (AHA) ask Force on Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities looked at the healthcare needs in both rural and inner city communities to ascertain what can be done to make sure people there have access to what they need. One development has been the creation of emergency centers that combine urgent care clinics with emergency room facilities.
Reporting by Health IT Analyticsandnbsp;looks at the report that was put out by the AHA. It notes that while the problems facing both urban and rural communities may seem very different, at the end of the day both communities often turn to the same places for health care. For people in the inner city, the only place they can go for health care is the emergency room because of factors dealing with their socioeconomic status and lack of health insurance. For people who live in rural areas, there may not be enough health care providers to serve the area and those people are left to seek out care at the same kinds of health care facilities as people in the city.
Robert Henkel, president and CEO of Ascension Healthcare said, “Our goal is to address the varying healthcare issues within our countryandrsquo;s diverse communities. The solution to improved care is not ‘one size fits all,’ and we must continue to take into account the unique needs of individuals in both urban and rural areas. We have to continue advocating for access to quality healthcare services in the most appropriate settings for all.”
For too many people, the hospital is the only option for health care. This is true in urban and rural communities. As a consequence, hospitals are struggling to keep up. Adding emergency centers where people can get urgent care treatments as well as skillful convenient and affordable care would help but finding the best way to do that is a real challenge.
“Many hospitals face challenges maintaining access to health care services in their communities and this report provides a pathway to ensure every hospital has an opportunity to be an access point and an anchor of service. The strategies outlined in this report can serve as a roadmap for all communities as hospitals begin to redefine how they provide more integrated care,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack.
New kinds of healthcare centers are popping up around the country. Since the 1970s, urgent care centers have been created all over the country. These centers offer health care at a much less expensive rate than what is offered in traditional emergency rooms.
According to the AHA report, “In some instances, a vulnerable rural or urban community may only need an access point for urgent medical conditions to be treated on an outpatient basis. In those situations, we believe an urgent care center (UCC) could be a viable alternative andndash; allowing a vulnerable rural or urban community to have a health care resource without having to maintain emergency medical services or inpatient acute care services.”
Since then, another kind of healthcare facility has emerged to meet the needs of patients around the nation. Emergency centers offer a wider variety of services ranging from observation, primary care, hemodialysis and other services as needed. These emergency centers can take some of the burden off of hospitals and more people from needing inpatient services.
The AHA report notes that hospitals should start to shift their focus from receiving reimbursements on the fee for service model towards services that are geared more towards primary care and outpatient treatments. The goal should be to get and keep people in the community healthy so that they do not require expensive inpatient treatments. The AHA is promoting the idea that hospitals should put a stronger emphasis on chronic disease management, wellness and preventative care.
Healthcare in the United States remains some of the most expensive on the planet. By moving people away from only receiving care in the emergency room settings and towards preventative and primary care, more people in both urban and rural communities can become healthier.