Access is the ability to receive high-quality health care that meets each person’s needs. This means culturally and linguistically appropriate care, having the technology to monitor health or participate in telehealth, a workforce large and diverse enough to address each person’s needs, and community-based supports that help people get and stay as healthy as possible.
Community-based supports are a vital tool in promoting equitable access to health. In particular, lay health workers—including community health workers, doulas, and peer support workers—connect people with the health care services they need and the resources to navigate health and social service systems.
Achieving health equity requires bridging the gap between health care services and the people who need them. Other sections of the Path to Equity note additional options for addressing social and economic barriers to health equity.
To achieve equity in access, Health Equity Solutions recommends:
- Expanding free and low-cost broadband access, particularly in areas with poor access or high rates of poverty
- Creating a doula certification process
- Sustainably funding community-based community health workers and doulas through Medicaid innovation and collaboration with health insurance providers.
- Strengthening and expanding state and health system collaborations with trusted, community-based organizations to address barriers to health by sharing key information about health, health insurance, support for basic needs, and beyond
- Establishing workforce diversity efforts that center equity, such as pipeline or shadowing programs to support Black, Indigenous, Latino/a and other people of color seeking careers in health
- Bolstering financial incentives, such as loan forgiveness, to enable residents with limited intergenerational transfers of wealth to pursue health careers
- Improving language access across health and social services
- Creating a direct educational path for dental therapists to expand and diversify the dental workforce
- Requiring all service providers to engage in ongoing anti-racism, cultural humility, and health equity learning
How does this image reflect your work? What is missing? Please share your thoughts with us by email or social media (Facebook: @healthequityct; Instagram: @healthequitysolutions; Twitter: @HealthEquityCT). Stay tuned for posts expanding on each section of CT’s Path to Equity.