Important Healthcare Facts
Even with the passing of the Affordable Health Care Act, approximately 694,000 Kentuckians and remain uninsured and without access to affordable healthcare. Another 179,423 individuals in Southern Indiana live without insurance and affordable access.
Current studies show that more than 50% of all bankruptcies are due to medical debt (NerdWallet Health Study, 2013). It is the leading cause of bankruptcy among Americans under the age of sixty-five.
Nationally there are still greater than 29 million uninsured and greater than 9% in Kentucky. These individuals exist in the “coverage gap”: the majority remain uninsured because they do not qualify for Medicaid and do not earn enough to afford care.
Cardiovascular disease accounts for the majority of visits to free medical clinics. An Americares Study of free clinics found that 40 percent of all visits are related to cardiovascular disease: 51 percent of individuals have high blood pressure, 44 percent have high cholesterol, and 44 percent have some other cardiovascular problem.
In a Journal of the American Medical Association article published in 2010, an evaluation of Myocardial infarction outcomes based on insurance status revealed that only 33.5% of insured patients arrive at the emergency department later than six hours from the start of their symptoms, while 48.6% of uninsured patients arrive more than six hours after they become symptomatic (Smolderen, PhD; JAMA 2010;303’(14):1392-1400).
The risk of death for uninsured patients receiving cardiac intervention is four times higher than those with private insurance (American Journal of Cardiology January 2011).
Members of our community living west of I-65 have a life expectancy of greater than 10 years less than those living east of I-65.
Residents of Saint Matthews have a life expectancy of 83 years of age while those in the Parkland and Portland neighborhoods average about 65 years of age, less than that of people living in Iraq (Louisville Metro Health Equity Report 2014). Death by stroke and heart disease is 2.5 to 3 times higher in those areas.
Higher levels of socioeconomic stress, food deserts, and countless other social and economic factors in that area, contribute to shorter and less healthy lives.
Despite the availability of free clinics, which are often overrun with patients requiring general health attention, Louisville does not have a specialty clinic specifically to serve the cardiovascular needs of the underserved.
The Have A Heart Clinic is a stand-alone setting would lead the effort in eliminating unnecessary illness and death as a result of preventable cardiovascular events among the uninsured and low-income families in our community by providing quicker access and novel ways of caring for those patients.