We published our first newsletter today! We want our patients, volunteers, community partners, and donors to know how we’re doing. The Heart Beat has all the latest information on patient volume, medical cost savings and more. Will post the newsletter to the website soon!
There’s no question health care costs are rising. Income disproportionately impacts health outcomes. As this article from The Commonwealth Fund points out, “American men with incomes in the top 1 percent live 15 years longer than the poorest 1 percent, while among such women there is a gap of 10 years, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.”
In Louisville, people living in the poorest zip codes have a life expectancy of 68, while those living in the east (the wealthier neighborhoods) average 83 years.
Have A Heart is proud to announce its partnership with New Directions Housing Corporation! This partnership enables HAH volunteers to perform onsite health screenings and provide education to more members of our community! Check out New Directions at http://www.ndhc.org/ to learn more about how the nonprofit organization helps individuals and families in our community! Here’s to Heart Health!
Survey results from the Commonwealth Fund’s 2016 Biennial Health Insurance Survey reveal “more than half the underinsured had medical bill problems or medical debt, while nearly half went without needed health care because of cost.” A huge education piece for our volunteers is helping our community members understand that “underinsurance” has a negative impact on people with all types of health coverage. The research supports this. Equally important is understanding what it means to be “underinsured.”
Who Is Underinsured?
The Commonwealth Fund’s analysis of the underinsured takes into account an insured adult’s reported out-of-pocket costs per year (not including premiums) and his/her health plan deductible. These expenditures and the deductible are then compared with household income. A person is underinsured if:
- 12 months of out-of-pocket costs (excluding premiums) = 10%+ of household income; or
- 12 months of out-of-pocket costs (excluding premiums) = 5%+ of household income if income is under 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($23,760 for an individual and $48,600 for a family of four); or
- deductible is 5%+ of household income.
Of course, some people pay higher deductibles based upon their perceived risk and/or to offset higher premiums. Furthermore, the definition does not include people who are at risk of paying high costs because of benefit exclusions and copayments. The best case scenario, is that this is a conservative measure of underinsurance in the United States per the Commonwealth Fund’s findings.
Because Have A Heart is not owned by a hospital, our fees for services are 1/3 of the cost. In perspective an echocardiogram (echo) at a doctor’s office would cost an individual $1600. A patient with a 20% deductible pays $320. At Have A Heart, the actual cost for an echo is $350. An insured patient with same 20% deductible would only pay $70. Hospitals and larger institutions are allowed to charge more. For this reason, Have A Heart’s vision is to open a fully-operational clinic with a “mixed payer” system, where our volunteers treat insured and uninsured patients, regardless of their ability to pay. Insured patients will save money AND support patients who cannot afford to pay at all.
We believe making free access to specialty care is just one way our community can remove barriers to healthcare for the poor, uninsured and underinsured. Qualifying patients don’t have to worry about paying high costs and are therefore treated earlier, preventing severe illness and even death.
Find out more at www.haveaheartclinic.org or speak with a medical volunteer by calling 502.245.0002. We provide coordinated care with heart health at the center.
Nationally, about 27 million people remain uninsured. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid expansion made huge strides toward providing coverage to the uninsured, Kentucky’s proposed changes to Medicaid would impact expansion and current enrollees. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently updated its “Proposed Changes to Medicaid Expansion in Kentucky” which outlines a Fact Sheet of these changes and the potential fallout.
You can also find out where the U.S. stands on insurance coverage now that efforts to repeal and replace ACA have been suspended.
Access to health care should not be a political issue, which is easier said than done. Have A Heart Clinic volunteers agree that everyone should have equal access to quality, specialty care – regardless of income or other factors. The reality is that health care is not equal. People living in poverty cannot get the care they need. They avoid hospitals and doctors until they are extremely sick because they cannot afford care, they lack transportation, and/or they do not trust the health care system and providers.
Health equity and health care equity are human issues with permanent, but preventable, economic, social, and ethical costs. Preventing illness and treating our fellow community members is part of the human condition that left alone will keep our fellow Kentuckians sick and without care. We believe it is our moral and ethical duty to remove barriers to health for all people. We do this by being located near our patients’, providing transportation assistance, providing free outpatient cardiovascular care, and cultivating trust with every individual we treat.
Congratulations to Dr. Imburgia and the Have A Heart Clinic, both nominees for The Centerstone Healthcare Advocacy Award. The Award will be presented to an individual or organization that has worked to raise awareness of health challenges in our region and worked to affect change. Good luck to all the nominees!
Great article in Insider Louisville promoting the new downtown clinic. CLICK HERE to read the article!
We had another wonderful clinic day. We were able to help even more uninsured patients achieve improved cardiovascular health. Thanks to all our wonderful volunteers I am humbled and inspired by their dedication to help others.
Also please check out the article in MD-UPDATE about our clinic, patients and volunteers.