Opinion | Addressing health disparities in Washington, D.C.

Opinion | Addressing health disparities in Washington, D.C.

Regarding the January 5 front-page article “Half of Black D.C. Residents Lack Access to Health Care”:

Many community clinics are supported in part by resources from the District of Columbia. Gaps in access are related to the dignity with which people are treated when receiving services, a lack of after-hours access to primary care, the timeliness of services, and limited access to specialty services, particularly for those on Medicaid.

People use the emergency room because it’s convenient, their doctor’s office directs them to go there, and every medical entity I’ve ever called has a recording instructing people to dial 911 if the caller “is experiencing a medical emergency.” How do people know?

While it is laudable that the city has invested in the Health Equity Fund, a more pressing need is to invest in social impact organizations, including mine, that are making unsustainable, one-time, grant-supported interventions Measures move toward interventions that explore sustainable business model pathways to improve access to socially driven healthcare. Several of them operate in Washington, D.C., but have been unable to raise available capital through health equity funds. These organizations are employing community health workers, meeting health information needs, providing on-demand mobile care, and improving access through trusted messengers.

Many political and academic hopes and dreams rested on the promise of Cedar Mountain Regional Medical Center. Cedar Hill will be a hospital in a community that desperately needs preventive services to keep people healthy, both physically and mentally. Are hospitals what people need most? To reverse inequalities, our responses must be honest, respond directly to the voices and needs of communities, and be implemented in a trustworthy way that inspires and inspires people to engage in different ways of living.

Lisa Fitzpatrick, washington

The author is the founder and CEO of Grapevine Health.

The Washington, D.C. Primary Care Association applauds the Washington Post’s recent investigation into the ongoing lack of access to health care in Washington, D.C., which shines a light on the lack of access to care. For more than 25 years, we have made progress in the development of primary care facilities across the city and supported the expansion of health insurance coverage in Washington, D.C. We are also seeing a shift in healthcare payment models from pay-for-volume to pay-for-quality. Still, these efforts have yet to have a significant impact on life expectancy and health outcomes, either because they are not aiming high enough or aiming at the wrong goals.

Effective primary care is the foundation of high-performing health systems and is critical for improving health outcomes, but the sector has long suffered from underinvestment and severe workforce shortages. Recently, federal authorities have invested heavily in models that strengthen primary care, improve care coordination, and increase community resources for screening and referral. We urge policymakers in Washington, D.C., to follow their lead and ensure that primary care practices benefit from predictable, non-visit revenue that allows them to invest up front in providing whole-person care. This would begin to address the shameful health disparity statistics and qualitative trust issues detailed in the Washington Post investigation.

The path to health equity extends throughout the primary care system, ensuring that every patient and provider benefits from human care and connection throughout their lives. With the right policy framework in place, no one is better equipped to deliver this service than our member community health centres.

The author is president and CEO of the Washington Primary Care Association.

A front-page article about health disparities in Washington, D.C., provides critical analysis of the lack of primary care and widespread health disparities in underserved areas that affect nearly half of Washington, D.C.’s black residents. However, while mentioning the outstanding work of Whitman-Walker Health Center, the article failed to mention the role of eight federally funded community health centers in Washington, D.C., including those with primary or secondary sites in Anacostia Community Health Center.

According to 2022 data from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Washington, D.C. Health Centers provide comprehensive primary and preventive care to more than 180,000 residents, 95% of whom are members of a racial or ethnic minority and 35% speak a primary language There are 87% of Britons who speak other languages ​​and live at or below 200% of the federal poverty line. Equally important, the health center provides comprehensive primary care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay, including assistance with transportation, translation, and food insecurity barriers, as well as access to other social and mental health services.

The independent National Quality Assurance Committee recognizes all eight medical centers in Washington, D.C., as patient-centered medical homes. As dedicated population health innovators, these eight medical centers received special recognition from HRSA for their quality, access, reduction of health disparities or social risk factors, and excellence in coronavirus services. Most importantly, a governing board with a majority of patients oversees the health center. Interviews with these dedicated community members, as well as health center staff and local community partners, will greatly enhance the analysis.

David M. Stevens, silver spring

The author is a family physician and former chief medical officer for the Bureau of Primary Care at the Health Resources and Services Administration.

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