Although there has been an improved focus on preventative care in the United States, not all Americans have seen the benefits. The level of medical care an individual receives has been shown to be related to economic status, education, race and gender. Immunizations rates for children are high, even among minority groups, but disparities in immunization rates are still a problem for the adult minority populations.
Closing the Gap
Health disparities are important to the entire U.S. population, as minority groups are expected to increase in proportion to the whole population. Improving the health of the minority populations will ultimately affect the future of America’s overall health.
On June 8, 2000, the state of Florida signed the Reducing Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities "Closing the Gap" grant program into law. These grants are used to support the growth of community-based organizations and help with improving healthcare and disease prevention for racial and ethnic populations
Resources in Hillsborough County
Those who can’t afford proper preventative care will often put off visits to a healthcare provider until their problems become severe. Preventative care can often eliminate the need for emergency rooms visits or hospital stays, but it can be expensive for those who do not have health insurance.
Many state and county programs are available to assist you in getting preventative care. Here are some options for Hillsborough County residents:
· Medicaid—Medicaid is available for low-income families with children, children, and pregnant women, non-citizens with emergencies, elderly and disabled persons who do not receive supplemental security income.
· Medicare—Medicare is for people 65 and older, people under 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease. Depending on the type, Medicare can cover everything from preventative care to hospital stays, nursing facility care and prescriptions.
· Hillsborough County Health Care Plan—If you have limited income and do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, this program covers primary and specialty care, pharmacy and more.
· Free back-to-school physicals and immunizations for children—Several locations in Hillsborough County are offering free back-to-school physicals in August.
Eliminate Disparities in Adult and Child Immunization Rates (CDC)
Minority Health Resources (CDC)
Closing the Gap (Florida Department of Health)
The Importance of Early Screenings and Medical Checkups
Grants to Build Our Community