Core Values and Beliefs
Our core belief: all people have the right to be healthy and live in a healthy community. No health disparity happens in a vacuum, and to properly address them requires appropriate interventions, which have multi-dimensional, comprehensive, and culturally competent approaches. No health disparity can be addressed without looking at other health issues that impact minority communities. Health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities are where we intend to focus on primarily, those are as follows:
- Environmental Health;
- Heart Disease and Stroke;
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV);
- Mental Health and Mental Disorders;
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases; and
- Substance Abuse; and most recently we’ve added a new objective in concert with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), access to comprehensive, quality health care services.
Access to health services means the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best health outcomes.1 It requires 3 distinct steps:
- Gaining entry into the health care system.
- Accessing a health care location where needed services are provided.
- Finding a health care provider with whom the patient can communicate and trust.2
Access to health care impacts:
- Overall physical, social, and mental health status
- Prevention of disease and disability
- Detection and treatment of health conditions
- Quality of life
- Preventable death
- Life expectancy
Disparities in access to health services affect individuals and society. Limited access to health care impacts people’s ability to reach their full potential, negatively affecting their quality of life. Barriers to services include:
- Lack of availability
- High cost
- Lack of insurance coverage
- These barriers to accessing health services lead to:
- Unmet health needs
- Delays in receiving appropriate care
- Inability to get preventive services
- Hospitalizations that could have been prevented 3
These primary focus areas were driven by Healthy People 2020, a report from the US Department of Health and Human Services that focuses on the health issues facing all Americans. We realize our efforts will not only help minorities in our area, but across the country, in making a significant impact on improving the health status of minorities.
1 Institute of Medicine, Committee on Monitoring Access to Personal Health Care Services. Access to health care in America. Millman M, editor. Washington: National Academies Press; 1993.
2 Bierman A, Magari ES, Jette AM, et al. Assessing access as a first step toward improving the quality of care for very old adults. J Ambul Care Manage. 1998 Jul; 121(3):17-26.
3 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). National healthcare disparities report 2008. Chapter 3, Access to healthcare. Washington: AHRQ; 2008. Available from: http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/nhdr08/Chap3.htm