Barriers to care
Theresa Sellers, RN, BSN, MHSA, MBA, CMSRN, Community Health Nurse Navigator | 04.16.13
Community Health Nurse Navigator Theresa Sellers caring for a patient.
Many barriers prevent patients from getting the proper care that they need. Often, these barriers can seem insurmountable to the patient in need of care and lead to patients abandoning treatment or not seeking treatment at all.
Some of these barriers include things such as the cost of care, cost of prescriptions, and access. PinnacleHealth works closely with pharmacy resources that will help patients find discounts on prescriptions. Certain departments, such as our Cardiovascular Institute, offer van services that run full time to take patients to and from appointments and surgeries.
"However, the greatest barrier is actually two fold; being uninsured and not having a primary care physician."
First, many uninsured patients wait to seek medical help because they do not have insurance and worry about cost. This makes their conditions or illnesses more difficult later.
For example, let’s take a look at a patient who has diabetes. If a patient doesn’t seek medical care because they do not have insurance, and his/her diabetes remains uncontrolled, it will begin to affect other organs in the body. Then, in addition to diabetes, the person is faced with many other potential health problems such as kidney disorders, circulation issues that can affect the legs and feet, loss of eyesight, and many others. In the end, this will cost the person more money and he or she will have more difficulties than if they would have sought care earlier.
In addition, many in that same group do not have a primary care physician. In a recent the Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by PinnacleHealth, findings show that one out of every five people in the Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry counties do not have a primary care physician. The primary care physician/patient relationship is very important in long-term health and wellness.
PinnacleHealth’s Community Health Network can assist patients in finding a primary care physician. Once they have an appropriate physician, they can begin to receive regular screenings and exams that address issues sooner rather than later.
Theresa Sellers, Community Health Nurse Navigator at PinnacleHealth.
A key part of breaking down these barriers is educating the public. I am part of a navigation team that assists patients in coordinating their care or putting the pieces together so they have consistent and comprehensive care. Many individuals do not know where to begin or how to navigate the healthcare and insurance systems, so we play a large role in helping them understand what they need and how to access it.
Part of PinnacleHealth’s strategic Vision 2017 is breaking down these barriers to make accessing care easier for our community. Never be afraid to ask your healthcare provider for help.
If you have any questions about obtaining care, feel free to contact our Community Health Network team members:
Nurse Navigator Theresa Sellers at 231-8208, or Social Work Navigator Maria Chianos at 231-8268.
Theresa Sellers, RN, BSN, MHSA, MBA, CMSRN, Community Health Nurse Navigator
PinnacleHealth Community Health Network