Access to Health Care
Why is this important?
Poor health can affect the ability of adults to work and children to learn. This can lead to economic problems for families, which can reinforce cycles of poverty and diminish the productivity of individuals and communities.
What is the measure?
Indicators of access to health care include health insurance coverage and preventable hospitalizations, i.e., hospital admissions for certain illnesses that might be avoided by clinic visits with a physician before the illness becomes severe.
How are we doing?
Access to health care for low-income populations is significantly restricted in Tuolumne County. Residents covered by County Medical Services Program (CMSP) or MediCal insurance have limited access to health care providers because few physicians accept new patients with these forms of public insurance. Only 16% of local physicians and 58% of nurse practitioners and physicians assistants accept new patients with MediCal or CMSP coverage.
Ninety-five percent of Tuolumne County residents 65 years and older are covered by Medicare, which is widely accepted by local physicians. Eighty-nine percent of hospitalized patients covered by private insurance receive coverage through Blue Cross, Blue Shield, or Kaiser programs. However, we have no Kaiser facilities in the county.
Preventable hospitalizations in Tuolumne County are considerably below state averages, suggesting that the outcome of participation in the local health care system compares favorably with the rest of California.
In Tuolumne County, family access to health care is not significantly affected by non-citizenship. Due to non-citizenship, eleven applications out of 1,102 were ineligible for the Healthy Families Program, a safety net program for children.