Access to Care
Increasing access to healthcare is essential to increasing the health of communities, expanding health equity, and increasing quality of life. Access to healthcare is not limited to having health insurance, it includes being able to access services through timely appointments, finding healthcare providers that the patient can communicate with, accessing the treatments or testing needed to maintain or increase health, and being able to understand health information that is being provided. Individuals that do not have health insurance are less likely to receive medical care and more likely to experience adverse health outcomes.
Access to Care Data Overview
Check out the points below for the main takeaways from this page.
• 92% of Nashua residents have health insurance coverage. Of those residents with healthcare coverage, approximately 30% have public coverage.
• In Hillsborough County, there are 85 primary care physicians, 261 mental health providers, and 77 dentists per every 100k people.
• In 2018, there were 53 preventable hospital stays per 1,000 medicare enrollees in Hillsborough County.
Health insurance coverage is one of the key indicators used to determine if a population is seeking and/or receiving care. If an individual does not have health insurance coverage, they may be more likely to suffer adverse health outcomes due to inability to seek treatment or preventative services.
Availability of Preventative Services
Access to care is not limited to financial coverage, but also includes physical access to healthcare services and providers. Access to preventative services is overall a good indicator of the health status of a community. The more equitable preventative care available, the higher the reduction in adverse health outcomes. The maps below represent data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's County Health Rankings, which show the number of providers per 100,000 people.
Primary Care Physicians
Primary care physicians represented in the map on the left include practicing non-federal physicians (M.D.s
and D.O.s) under the age of 75, specializing in general practice medicine,
family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics.
Primary care providers are essential in the early detection and treatment of disease, chronic disease management, and general preventative care (flu shots, blood pressure screenings, cancer screenings, etc).
Mental Health Providers
Mental health providers represented in the map to the left include psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, counselors, marriage and family therapists, and mental health providers that treat alcohol and other drug abuse, as well as advanced practice nurses specializing in mental health care.
The map on the left is a representation of registered dentists with a National Provider Identification.
Untreated dental disease can lead to serious health effects including pain, infection, and tooth loss. Although lack of sufficient providers is only one barrier to accessing oral health care, much of the country suffers from shortages.
Preventable Hospital Stays
A preventable hospital stay is defined by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as any Medicare beneficiaries ages 18 years or older that was hospitalized for any of the following reasons: diabetes with short or long-term complications, uncontrolled diabetes without complications, diabetes with lower-extremity amputation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, hypertension, heart failure, dehydration, bacterial pneumonia, or urinary tract infection.
Continuing to increase access to healthcare is vital to having a healthy and vibrant community. Healthcare and health insurance is in an ever-changing state of flux and it is increasing more important that we work together to leverage resources, increase health literacy, and ensure people are accessing preventative services.
Health Equity & Access to Care
A person's health can be seriously impacted by their race, ethnicity, gender, income level, education, and other socioeconomic factors. In regards to access to care...
• In the U.S., there are significant racial disparities in access to health coverage. 30 million people are uninsured and approximately half are people of color (Brookings).
• Since 2014, when the Affordable Care Act required core coverage, uninsured rates fell across all racial and ethnic groups, with the biggest gains among Black and Hispanic people (Brookings).
• NH has more residents covered by health insurance than most states in the southern and western parts of the U.S., however, NH residents with less education, lower incomes, and younger ages are more likely to lack a health care plan (2014 CHA).
• 66% of NH women age 40 and older in the lowest income levels reported that they had mammograms in the past two years. 67% of NH women age 40 and older in the lowest education levels reported that they had mammograms in the past two years. These women represent a subgroup of women who are either uninsured or underinsured and might not be able to afford a mammogram (NH DHHS).