Assignment: Access to Care.

Assignment: Access to Care.

Assignment: Access to Care.

Assignment: Access to Care.


Week 5 discussion Respond to one of the following questions: Review the Healthy People 2020 objectives for Access to Care. Of all the objectives listed under this topic, which do you think would be most beneficial to the patients with chronic illness? Please give rationales and support responses with references. Discuss how you feel nurses can positively impact the Healthy People 2020 goals. Citations should conform to APA guidelines. You may use this APA Citation Helper as a convenient reference for properly citing resources or connect to the APA Style website through the APA icon below.

Why Is Access to Health Services Important?

Access to health services means “the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best health outcomes.”1 It requires 3 distinct steps:

  • Gaining entry into the health care system (usually through insurance coverage)
  • Accessing a location where needed health care services are provided (geographic availability)
  • Finding a health care provider whom the patient trusts and can communicate with (personal relationship)2

Access to health care impacts one’s overall physical, social, and mental health status and quality of life.

Barriers to health services include:

  • High cost of care
  • Inadequate or no insurance coverage
  • Lack of availability of services
  • Lack of culturally competent care

These barriers to accessing health services lead to:

  • Unmet health needs
  • Delays in receiving appropriate care
  • Inability to get preventive services
  • Financial burdens
  • Preventable hospitalizations

Access to care often varies based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and residential location.3

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Understanding Access to Health Services

The Access to Health Services topic area encompasses 3 components: coverage, services, and timeliness.


Health insurance coverage helps patients gain entry into the health care system. Lack of adequate coverage makes it difficult for people to get the health care they need and, when they do get care, burdens them with large medical bills. Uninsured people are:

  • More likely to have poor health status
  • Less likely to receive medical care
  • More likely to be diagnosed later
  • More likely to die prematurely4, 5, 6


Improving access to health care services depends in part on ensuring that people have a usual and ongoing source of care (that is, a provider or facility where one regularly receives care). People with a usual source of care have better health outcomes, fewer disparities, and lower costs.7, 8, 9, 10

Having a primary care provider (PCP) who serves as the usual source of care is especially important. PCPs can develop meaningful and sustained relationships with patients and provide integrated services while practicing in the context of family and community.11 Having a usual PCP is associated with:

  • Greater patient trust in the provider
  • Better patient-provider communication
  • Increased likelihood that patients will receive appropriate care12,13
  • Lower mortality from all causes
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