Alabama just had their first Community Health Assessment from the Department of Public Health, and it wasn’t a pretty picture. Many issues were found in the state, but the highlight of it all was the list of health problems in the regions and residents, coupled with lack of access to basic health care. This assessment will likely lead to a watchful eye from other states, who have already taken care of these issues under the Affordable Care Act.
Many Alabama residents, as it turns out, don’t have medical insurance, and therefore cannot afford treatments. A lack of transportation and even a lack of physicians in some areas is also a big contributor to the issue. Even though cheaper and more convenient facilities such as Urgent Care — which see up to three million patients each week –have been expanded, they haven’t reached into many rural Alabama counties.
There are no quick solutions to this issue, and it isn’t being helped by the lack of effort demonstrated by state leaders. Under the Affordable Care Act, they have not looked into ways they can expand programs such as Medicaid. If this program was taken seriously, 210 lives that would otherwise be lost due to lack of healthcare, could be saved in 2016. This has been proven in states that have already approved the extension. Other concerns included lack of coverage for patients with mental health issues, STDs, child abuse, obesity, and lack of care for pregnant women.
These serious issues with the state’s health coverage must be taken seriously soon. These problems will not be fixed without comprehensive, step-by-step plans. All eyes will be on state officials as they begin their summer sessions.
What do you think about the assessment? Do you believe they’re trying to work things out or is this the result of poor planning from state officials?