HCM 340 Final Project.docx - Running head THE GAP IN CARE...

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Running head: THE GAP IN CARE COORDINATION FOR CHRONIC ILLNESSES 1 The Gap in Care Coordination for Chronic Illnesses Gabrielle Soque Southern New Hampshire University
THE GAP IN CARE COORDINATION FOR CHRONIC ILLNESSES 2 The Gap in Care Coordination for Chronic Illnesses Chronic illnesses directly affect millions of people in the United States. “As of 2012, about half of all adults—117 million people—had one or more chronic health conditions” ("Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion", 2017). Yet, despite this statistic, there is a gap in the quality of care coordination regarding chronic illnesses. There are many individuals who cannot access proper care to manage their chronic illnesses, even common ones such as hypertension or diabetes. This can be due to lack of health insurance for the individuals or lack of physicians and medical facilities in the area for these individuals to visit. This gap in healthcare delivery, being unable to properly manage chronic illnesses, can result in early, preventable deaths. Chronic illness is not a new trend in medicine; it has been around for as long as humans have existed. Despite this, not much has been written regarding chronic illness since the beginning of what can be considered modern medicine. “Not until 1955 was this phase of medicine dignified with a monthly publication, the Journal of Chronic Disease” (Wayburn, 1956). In the article “The Challenge of Chronic Disease,” Wayburn (1956) goes on to say how the gap in care coordination for chronic diseases has been ongoing since before he began practicing medicine. “As the curve has gone down in the rate of acute disease, it has gone up in the rate of chronic disease” (Wayburn, 1956). Lack of care coordination for chronic illnesses has been an issue in the United States’ healthcare system for a long time. It is only now with the introduction of various legislation that healthcare providers are shifting their focus to more comprehensive coordination of care. Healthcare is a necessity for every individual, however not every individual can access adequate healthcare. Many individuals do not have health insurance coverage due to cost of the
THE GAP IN CARE COORDINATION FOR CHRONIC ILLNESSES 3 insurance plans offered in their areas of work or residence. Others may not have insurance coverage because they are undocumented residents of the United States. On the other hand, insurance coverage does not automatically mean those covered are able to see the physicians they need to see to manage their health. Insurance companies place restrictions on which physicians can be seen based on the different levels of coverage they provide. They decide which diagnostic testing they will cover and how much patients will pay for each visit. This can cause some individuals who have healthcare coverage to avoid seeing doctors for routine check-ups and only seek medical care in cases of emergency. This can result in patients paying more in medical costs, all because they did not want to visit a physician for a routine check-up.

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