East Harlem Needs Assessment Summary – Access to Health Care
Several groups have assessed the need for better healthcare access in the community. Here we present key findings and recommendations.
Access to care is limited by:
Lack of health insurance. A significant number of residents in these communities are eligible for public health insurance but not enrolled
Large number of patients not seen a primary care provider, particularly among residents.
Cancer, heart disease, accidents and injuries, mental illness, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, asthma, assault and homicide are consistently the leading causes of hospitalization and/or death.
Obesity, diabetes, asthma, and mental health are major health concerns
Even among those with access to care there remain significant financial barriers to good diabetes care, and a need to address and optimize how individuals with diabetes manage their disease.
While 90% of respondents said they know how to take their medicines, between 19% and 39% do not understand other aspects of their diabetes management.
Many limit their diabetes care due to concerns about money (16% to 40%), and other barriers, such as language and transportation (19% to 22%).
Greatest health care needs identified were: diabetes and pre-diabetes; lack of education on medication management for men with diabetes, i.e. impotence; high blood pressure; high cholesterol; obesity; HIV/AIDS smoking; alcohol and substance abuse; depression/mental health/ stress; domestic violence; geriatrics
Although the majority of the population (86%) was insured and had a source of primary care, cancer screening guidelines for breast, cervical, prostate, and colorectal cancers were not being followed.
Cultural competency in the form of language skills, health literacy strategies and cross-cultural communication skills are necessary to earn the trust of the population.
Enhancements are needed for diabetes prevention and care and cardiovascular disease management.
Outreach strategies, targeted curricula, educational sessions, and screening programs should be developed and implemented to improve knowledge levels and increase screening participation.