What is Access to Health?

Apr 13, 2021

WHAT IS ACCESS TO HEALTH?

Access to health means ensuring that each individual in Wayne and Union counties has access to healthcare and safe environments. We know that offering preventive healthcare and social services to families and individuals who are struggling can decrease the number of individuals who are suffering from life-long diseases and conditions.   

Access to Health

There is no simple solution to ensuring that residents of Wayne and Union counties can access healthcare. In other words, these are complex issues that have many moving pieces. There is no one root cause, but there is one obvious correlation that we can see right here in Wayne county. Wayne county is one of the most unhealthy counties in the state of Indiana. It also has some of the lowest median household incomes in the state.   

Connection between health and economic Stability

So, what does the correlation between income and access to healthcare mean for our population? It means that people who have a lack of discretionary funds or lower household incomes receive less preventative care. This lack of preventative care leads to unaddressed mental, physical, or emotional problems that eventually morph into something much worse.

Once these conditions have manifested, individuals now have to spend more money on medical bills, doctors’ appointments, and prescriptions. These bills leave them in a worse financial situation than they were before and some of these individuals go without life-sustaining care and medication purely because they cannot afford it. This is a harsh cycle that we are continually seeing in families all over Wayne and Union counties  

The inability to access quality healthcare programs is a systemic and societal issue. Multiple organizations in Wayne and Union counties are trying to address.  They are working to address problems such as food insecurity. Did you know that out of the 92 counties in Indiana, Wayne county is ranked 7th highest with the number of children who do not have food security?

Nonprofits in our community are working to solve problems right here in Wayne and Union counties. Some organizations are even providing access to outdoor spaces to improve the health of our population. An example of this would be the Richmond Parks and Recreation Department. They have made every park with a playground compliant with safety codes. Families can now access parks to increase their activity levels.   

How Can You Help?  

What can you do to impact access to health in Wayne and Union counties? The number one thing you can do is support United Way of Whitewater Valley and our partner organizations. Your support can take multiple forms, it could be volunteering, partnering, or donating. All the organizations that we support are making tangible changes in Wayne and Union counties. They are offering programs that support access to health as well as our other focus areas, childhood success, youth success, and economic mobility. Read all about our other focus areas and how you can make a difference.   

Impact in 2020  

At United Way of Whitewater Valley, we believe in transparency and showing all our supporters the impact that we are having in our communities. We take time each year to reflect on the impact that our supporters make possible. We display this impact through our Global Framework Documents. Find out more about our impact in Wayne and Union counties.   

Because of our supporters, we were able to be a catalyst for change in 2020. Last year, 8,175 children and adults improved their overall health by exercising regularly and accessing fresh, healthy food options through efforts to combat food insecurity. 86% of people surveyed were able to reduce risky behaviors and 4,417 people were able to access healthcare support such as preventative care, mental health treatment and counseling, and services for people with physical disabilities. All of our corporate partners, agency partners, and supporters were able to make this happen because of their generosity.