AHA: How to boost rural healthcare access

From the AHA via Becker’s:

As HRSA and the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Rural Health
Task Force continue their efforts to support health care in rural America, we urge
the agencies to consider the following:

  • Reassessing the services considered to be “core” or essential over time is
    important in order to account for shifts in care delivery, advances in
    knowledge and practice, and other developments in the health care field;
  •  Community characteristics, needs and preferences should always be
    considered when recommending services to be made available;
  •  Any policy approaches to improve access to care in rural areas must allow
    for flexibility and promote community-driven solutions; and
  •  Federal agencies should use a “rural lens” when developing regulatory
    actions – not only when reviewing them after they have already been
    formed.

COPD patients with high insurance deductibles more likely to skip care

From Modern Healthcare:

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who were enrolled in private high-deductible health plans more frequently reported putting off or skipping care and ending up in the hospital or emergency department than patients without high deductibles, according to a new study.

Those with high deductibles were also more likely to report struggling to pay monthly bills and report family out-of-pocket healthcare costs that exceeded $5,000 in a year, Harvard Medical School researchers wrote in the study published Thursday in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

“Our study shows that patients with COPD who are privately insured, especially those with high deductibles, aren’t getting the care they need, with dangerous consequences for their health,” lead author Dr. Adam Gaffney, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a statement.