Essay on Health Care Accessibility for the Homeless

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According to a study conducted by the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, “Homelessness can be the cause as well as the result of poor health” (Wise, Emily, Debrody, Corey & Paniucki, Heather, 1999, p.445). This is a theme that has existed within the homeless population for decades. While progressive programs are being put in place all over the country to provide adequate medical services, many are still finding that health care needs of individuals as well as communities are not being met. A significant number of studies have been completed that examine both the numbers associated with those who have access to sufficient health care as well as homeless people’s perceptions on health care administration. While programs are …show more content…
The first study focuses on the basic question of if a homeless person is able to see a doctor when they feel they need to. When a wider variety of services are categorized as basic health needs, the amount of the homeless population that considers these needs as unmet predictably increases. In a national sample of the homeless population, respondents were asked if at any point during the last year they were unable to receive care for one or more of the following: medical or surgical care, prescription medications, mental health care or counseling, visual impairment, or dental care (Baggett, Travis, O’Connell, James, Singer, Daniel, & Rigotti, Nancy, 2010, p.1328). This study used a broader spectrum of what qualified as a health “need” and found more than seventy percent of participants reported at least one unmet need in the last year and almost half claimed two or more (Baggett et al., 2010, p.1328). When more services were included in the survey, like dental and optical needs, there was a notable increase of people who felt their health services were inadequate. Based on the two definitions of a medical need as explained by each study, it can be inferred that the bulk of homeless people have a very basic meaning of acceptable medical care such as just being able to see a doctor. Yet, for most, even the elementary concepts of health care are not being met. Often times, when a homeless

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