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Underserved Communities

Asked 3 months ago by Guest (140 points)

Hello,

Other than the people who come from low-income areas, what other groups count as underserved? Doesn't rural count as underserved because they do not typically have access to what the urban and suburban communities have?

Doesn't the population in their twenties who do not have insurance count as underserved because they typically do visit the doctor out of fear of being heavily billed?

// Answers //

Answered 3 months ago by mark-ER (6700 points)

It depends on what you mean by that... from a strict public health perspective, you are right.  There are several medically underserved communities within the US.  The ones that come to my mind, are as you say:  inner city, rural w/o access to a hospital in 20-30 mile radius, Native American, immigrant communities (esp. those w/ high rates of undocumented immigrants and no insurance).  Young individuals (especially men, under 35) can be theoretically considered underserved, but the underutilization of health care in that group is somewhat by choice.  So the key metric of an underserved population is would pattern of utilization be significantly altered, if barriers to access (cost/convenience) are eliminated?  Would healthcare outcomes improve in parallel?

So that's the public health perspective, but that != public policy perspective.  From a policy perspective, be it reimbursement of student loans to those who serve in underserved areas, or where public/government grants are distributed, only some of the groups apply.  Do a quick google search on this and you can go down a 'rabbit hole' quickly.

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