In an age of unprecedented change, staying current has never been more important. Our team at Chartis is curating news most relevant to the healthcare industry and tracking the topics that are trending on seven key issues: high reliability care, digital and advanced technology, financial sustainability, health disparities, the health ecosystem of the future, partnerships, and the provider enterprise. Each week, we break down what’s happening and why it matters.
This month, from September 15 to October 15, we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which honors the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, and Latin America. More than 18 percent of the population in the 2020 U.S. census identified as Latino or Hispanic, and the population accounts for over half of the country’s growth in the last 10 years. This month is a vital time to learn about and celebrate the diversity and experiences of U.S. Hispanic populations. It also requires us to examine some of the significant health disparities faced by Hispanic populations in the U.S.
A recently released report by Kaiser Family Foundation based on interviews with 778 Hispanic adults in the U.S. highlights the disparate impacts COVID-19 has had on the population. Even with recent increases in COVID-19 vaccination rates, gaps in rates still continue in the Hispanic population. Additionally, the population identifying as Latinx have faced disproportionate hospitalizations and deaths from COVID. Many disparities that existed prior to COVID, including immigration policies, language barriers, and access to care, were exacerbated during the pandemic and contributed to the disparities in COVID outcomes. The report highlighted that while Hispanic adults have similar employment rates to white adults, over half of Hispanic adults have an annual household income under $40,000, compared to 29 percent for white adults. Hispanic adults under age 65 were more than three times as likely to be uninsured as white adults, and twice as likely compared to Black adults.
Numerous existing barriers to care are impacting COVID vaccination rates and outcomes from COVID as well as leading to higher rates of certain diseases compared to non-Hispanic whites (i.e., asthma, liver disease, diabetes, and cervical cancer). Two of the most significant structural barriers impacting Hispanic Americans are:
It is vital that health literacy and language are considered in the healthcare setting for COVID vaccinations and everyday care. Materials must be crafted in concert with trusted members of the community and highlight all vital details for various populations. Translators must also be available at community vaccination sites and healthcare facilities. In addition to honoring the histories and cultures of our Hispanic citizens during Hispanic Heritage Month, we must truthfully examine disparities and work to change systemic and structural discrimination every month of the year.
It’s Time to Move the Needle Toward Health Equity and Social Justice
Decades of research provides ample evidence of the worsening problem of health disparities in the United States. What will it take for healthcare organizations to promote social justice and reduce health disparities in the communities they serve? Our new report, maturity model, and original analysis highlight what healthcare organizations can do to work toward eliminating these disparities.
Equity in Access
Many health systems are creating new access roadmaps, setting the direction for access initiatives to improve timelines of care and information for patients, employees, and the community. Address these questions and considerations before you create yours.
Data & Analysis
Rural Health Disparities: New Challenge in Aftermath of Pandemic
Our analysis suggests that the socioeconomic disadvantages and health disparities dividing rural and urban communities may be widening. Particularly alarming are gaps in disparity measures between rural communities and those in which a rural hospital is vulnerable to closure.