Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash
A Word About Health Equity
Equity is a buzzword applied to many areas of life. Humans want equity at work, with their friends, and especially in their healthcare. In fact, equity is a basic human right. Across the board, human assigned differences, such as religion, race, color, and more, must be put aside for everyone to receive equal opportunities, and especially, healthcare.
What is Health Equity?
Health equity, simply defined, means that every person has an equal and fair opportunity to be as healthy as possible. It means a reduction in disparities in health, hopefully leading to disparity elimination. The focus is on excluded or marginalized groups, and how their healthcare is affected due to disparities fueled by individual differences. Health inequities expand beyond basic religion and race to other areas, such as quality of life, length of life, disability, rates of disease, severity of disease, and existing access to treatment.
Health Equity and its Purpose
The need for health equity became recognized over time. A growing issue in America is affording lifelong healthcare for the whole family. Americans pay into health insurance, use personal health savings accounts, and, in extreme cases, borrow money from banks to pay for healthcare.
In turn, healthcare procedures are generally set at one cost. While this does help families plan and save for emergencies, it causes issues for those who cannot afford the fees. Healthcare equity would create a sliding scale that allows people to have equal health opportunities based on their needs. For example, a clinic might charge what the patient can afford. Some patients would receive services for free, while others would pay. This equity would support the healthcare system while making sure every person has the same access to quality care.
Other Ways to Improve Health Equity
Outside the financial issues, organizations must pursue culturally competent care to different populations. “Culture” in this sense is not only area of residence or background. It includes those with limited length of life, any type of disability, different qualities of life, and current access to treatment. For example, a rural population with limited access to specialists must be updated to have the same access to care as major city hubs. Cancer patients must be granted the same type of insurance payments as any other individual with a disease.
Advancing Health Equity
Currently, health equity is simply a dream. However, there is hope. Advancing health equity counts on a shared vision and equal value, increasing the community capacity to change outcomes. There must be multi-sector collaboration to bring forth solutions for equal opportunities in healthcare. Further, there must be federal assistance to help the poorest sections achieve equality to economically advantaged areas. Individuals living in these communities are most able to help promote change by asking for legislation that enhances health equity.
Health equity is a distant dream in the American healthcare system, but it is not a worthless pursuit. Americans have the power to help all individuals receive equity, despite differences in social, economic, political, or health arenas. Encouraging changes in legislation and voting to contribute more funding to the healthcare system will bring us closer to health equity as a reality.
At Vancouver Home Health Care Agency, Caring and Compassion is our Business.