Essay on Barriers and Disparities in Health Care

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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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This often leads to a higher death rate among minorities from preventable diseases. A 2005 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relates that more African-Americans died from heart disease, cancer and stroke than any other ethnicity. This report also states that African-Americans and Hispanics are less likely than Caucasians to receive influenza vaccines and other preventive forms of health care like wellness check-ups and colonoscopies. Many of the patients affected by barriers to health care are also afflicted by certain diseases in disproportionate numbers. Lillie-Blanton, Maleque, and Miller (2008), report that adults with higher incomes have a better health status and live longer than the poor. They also cite a higher rate of diabetes and heart disease among the poor (Lillie-Blanton, Maleque, & Miller, 2008).
Barriers to health care and the disparities they produce are a continuing problem in our health care system. As future health care providers we can begin to look for ways to improve the quality of care and reduce disparities in clinical practice.

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(2010). Racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Philidelphia: American College of Physicians. (2012). Retrieved from Access to Health Services:
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