Essay on Barriers and Disparities in Health Care

Decent Essays
Barriers and Disparities in Health Care
June 8, 2012
Cynthia Holsen R.N. – C.W.H.N.P.

Barriers and Disparities in Health Care

Everyone should have the opportunity to achieve a healthy life and have comprehensive health care services available to them. To achieve this healthy life, people need to have access to the health care system and to a health care provider with whom they can develop a trusting relationship. However, existing barriers to attaining health care services often lead to disparities which in turn lead to differences in life expectancy, health status and a higher prevalence of certain chronic diseases (, 2012).
Barriers to health care can be defined as conditions that can
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With the increasing immigrant population a third barrier affecting access to health care is a cultural barrier. Culture barriers can include values and beliefs, language and race and ethnicity. Health beliefs and behavior can become a barrier when patients decide not to seek medical treatment and instead turn to home remedies and healers when treating illnesses. Approximately 10% of Americans speak a language other than English and can be classified ad being limited in their proficiency. For these patients language becomes a barrier and they are less likely to receive optimal medical treatment (Flores, 2006). Horton and Johnson (2010) stress the importance of communication in reducing disparities and increasing the trust of patients in the health care system. As reported by the American College of Physicians, evidence reveals that racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to receive inferior care when compared with non-minorities. This occurs even when minorities have access to insurance and adequate income (Racial and ethnic disparities in health care, 2010).
Barriers in health care can lead to disparities in meeting health needs and receiving appropriate care, including preventive services and the prevention of unnecessary hospitalizations (, 2012). In their 2008 annual report, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality lists several disparities’ in health care. They report that racial and ethnic minorities in the United States
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