Health access disparities

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Article: Understanding Disparities in Health Care Access—andReducing Them—Through a Focus on Public Health

Summary of the article

This article focuses on the disparities in the healthcareaccess and how they can be addressed. According to the authors of thearticle, the disparities in healthcare access in the US especiallyamongst the racial and ethnic minority can be addressed through theapplication of public health. The authors have pointed out to variousframeworks that have been used by other scholars to try andunderstand the factors underlying the health access disparities.However, it is clear from the article that there has never been alogical and a real world framework that would lead to resolving theissue of health care access disparities. The previous frameworkspointed to aspects as demographics, personal beliefs, and level ofillness, resources, family and health insurance as the factorsunderlying the healthcare access disparities in America (Derose etal., 2011). However, the frameworks such as the behavioral model,access to personal health services framework and focus on barriersframework do not provide solutions to these factors.

The article proposes the public health system as a framework thatwould resolve the healthcare access disparities in America. Theframework focuses on the assessment, assurance and policydevelopment. The assurance function ensures that people have accessto quality health and health workers. This function may also involveimmunization, testing and treatment of various diseases such as TBthrough public health agencies. Public health agencies can also carryout assessment which involves assessing the population for diseases,health hazards and health problems. The public health agencies canalso engage in policy development for the benefit of disadvantagedcommunities (Derose et al., 2011). This is done through educating thecommunities about health issues and also educating them on the stepsto take to enhance their health. The public health framework works intandem with other frameworks to address the issue of disparities inhealthcare access. The article’s authors conclude by asserting thatin order to resolve the issue of healthcare access disparities, thereneed to be collaboration amongst all stakeholders in the healthcareindustry.

Effects on delivery of care and future effects

It is clear that the proposal on the public health frameworkhas effects on the delivery of healthcare to the disadvantagedpopulations. The assurance aspect of the framework will ensure thatthe public health agencies are reaching out to the communities toensure that they link them with quality healthcare services and toqualified healthcare practitioners (Derose et al., 2011). This willdefinitely have a great positive impact on delivery of care. Numerouspeople who would not have accessed care previously will have anopportunity to access care.

The assessment aspect of the public health framework will alsoaffect the delivery of care to the minorities in America who do nothave access to healthcare services. The public health agencies willassess the health status of communities through inspections. Theywill identify disparities in access to healthcare and work with localcaregivers and the other stakeholders to deliver care (Derose et al.,2011). In terms of policy development, this framework will ensurethat the minority groups will access information regarding how toaccess healthcare services and how to improve on their health.

In future, the application of this model will definitely reduce thedisparity in the access of healthcare. The use of public healthagencies to assess and evaluate health access and quality of healthfor minority groups will definitely reduce the disparity inhealthcare access. It is essential to note that majority of theminority groups lack access due to the lack of information which thisframework offers.


Derose, K. et al., (2011). Understanding Disparities in Health CareAccess—and Reducing Them—Through a Focus on Public Health.Health affairs, Vol 30, No. 10.