The topic of healthcare disparity has been discussed in many forums and many articles have been written to bring about awareness, debate the issue, find fault in the system, and make assumptions on what the right solution is. I am, by no means, an expert on this topic but I believe that healthcare economic burdens are paramount everywhere.
Patients experience substantial financial hardship, not only during the treatment process but also after treatment. This means that you and I, all of us, regardless of our economic status, will experience some form of financial burden while getting treated for a health issue. We all know and agree that everyone is entitled to receive the best care available, yet economic disparity between individuals determine the accessibility of what the “best care available” is. Access to healthcare, at the minimum level of basic standard care, is a struggle for communities globally.
By Cecilia Zapata-Harms | Managing Partner, Elev8Bio, LLC
The stress that comes with how to afford a treatment of a diagnosed disease should be the last thing on a patients’ mind, but it is always the first thing. We already know that stress affects overall recovery and wellness, yet, how can a patient, who have access to better care, recover and get well faster when they are faced with thousands of dollars in medical expenses?
Hospital systems are also experiencing financial stress especially those in rural communities. They struggle to economically support patients who have very little or no health insurance coverage. Additionally, understanding what is within the “coverage plan” and what is not, can make our heads spin like a washing machine cycle. Nevertheless, fortunate are those who have insurance. What about those who don’t?
“We are faced almost daily with referrals to our program for patients who have no insurance or are grossly under-insured. Often these patients are late stage, and every day it takes us to identify and secure benefits is one more day they can’t afford to lose. We struggle to balance the financial toxicity they face with these delays in care and are relying more and more on charity care applications to get the process started.” ~ Cancer Center Director
Innovation in new therapies are a tremendous benefit for all of us, yet they are more expensive than the already approved standard of care. However, new therapies are shorter in duration thus providing more time for recovery and can potentially promise to cure. The overall question is, how can we ensure that an equitable access to these new treatments or diagnostics are available to patients globally without the burden of expense?
We can’t fault new innovators. New startup companies are trying to solve the precision of diagnoses and treatments, but they struggle to keep up with the fast-paced expedited delivery due to high competitiveness in the field.
Although there are plenty of resources, It’s still a race.
Last Editorial Review: May 9, 2018
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