Millions of Americans only have limited access to healthcare. More than eleven percent of adults do not have a usual place of care, and more than 6 percent of adults have not gotten medical care because of financial concerns. Access to care is also widely divided by demographics such as income, age, location, and disability status. Low-income families, people with disabilities, rural Americans, and older adults are more likely to experience issues accessing the care they need.
In addition to poor health outcomes, lack of access drives up costs. Individuals without primary care doctors are more likely to use the emergency room. Not having access to critical health screenings can lead to late detection of illness, resulting in poorer prognoses and more costly and invasive medical treatments.
Nearly 70 percent of healthcare practitioners surveyed identified a shortage of healthcare workers to be a critical threat to the United States healthcare system. While the deficit is nationwide, the hardest hit includes vulnerable rural populations, patients in long-term care, prison-based care, and mental health and substance abuse services. The most at-risk areas are designated Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). One of the best ways to improve outcomes is to bring services to where people live.
When we think about our healthcare system, we often focus on the acute medical needs that hospitals and clinics provide. Health care includes not only acute treatment of illnesses but also long-term care of people who are aging or have disabilities. These services include home and community support and long-term care, such as nursing homes. Medicaid programs under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Services often pay for these services.
Medicaid reimbursement rates vary from state to state however the reimbursement rates are consistently below the actual service delivery costs. When the Medicaid reimbursement rates increased with the ACA, the availability of primary care appointments increased.
Federal, local, and state government agencies have prioritized increasing access, but there is no magic fix, and a mix of short-term and long-term tactics is essential. The federal government is working on strategies to build capacity through educating and training healthcare personnel, creating incentives for workers to work in HPSAs, and increasing funding for hospitals and healthcare facilities in HPSAs.
Improving access to healthcare is a system-wide initiative. It will take collaboration between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors and government contractors will play a role in improved access and quality of care.
Federal Healthcare Contractor Benefits
Many of the government’s efforts build capacity over the long term, and government contractors are partners in both long-term strategy and short-term delivery of services. These are just a few examples of the benefits between contractor and government partnerships.
- Government contractors often fill staffing gaps and bring qualified and experienced healthcare providers to regions lacking providers. We saw this to a large degree during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even today, government contractors provide essential services in rural areas, hospitals, mental health facilities, nursing homes, and veteran facilities.
- Government contractors bring administrative and operational talent through program management and operational consulting. They partner with providers to improve clinical workflows and implement technology designed to streamline operations, improve the quality of care, and reduce costs.
- Government contractors are crucial in technological upgrades, including better electronic health records systems. They lend their private sector information technology experience to meet the needs for robust, sharable, and secure ways to manage patient data.
- Government contractors also assist with strategy and analysis by researching public policy impacts and supporting legislators and government agencies in understanding the long-term effects of policy and legislation.
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Better health outcomes will require strategic planning and numerous initiatives across many federal, state, and local agencies. Collaboration with government healthcare contractors can optimize results, and FSR has proven experience in delivery to national and local agencies. Let’s first hear your complex barriers so we can begin providing solutions. Engage with us today.