5 Things to Read on Health Care Access

This week’s five reads on health care access cover new ride-hailing partnerships to get patients to the doctor, the importance of access to dental care, and more.

Lyft, Uber partnerships aim to make it easy to hitch rides to the doctor

Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft allow users to order up a car to take them where they need to go. Now, both Uber and Lyft have announced partnerships that would allow medical providers to schedule and pay for such rides for their patients. The goal is to decrease no-shows and increase access to care. CNN details Uber’s new program, and USA Today does the same for Lyft.

Millions of young, healthy people expected to drop insurance

The tax reform bill signed in December does away with the tax penalty imposed on people who lack health insurance. Actuaries from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate about 8 million people — mostly the young and healthy — won’t sign up for coverage without the mandate. Read more here from Modern Healthcare, and see the MHCSW story covering what you need to know about the repeal this tax season.

Medicaid beneficiaries can’t afford the dentist

Most state Medicaid programs offer limited dental benefits or none at all, making visits to the dentist unaffordable for many. Lack of dental care can have major effects on overall medical and physical health. Untreated tooth issues lead to visits to the emergency department, for instance, and people with bad teeth are often stigmatized. The New York Times’ Upshot blog details just how important dental coverage is to health and well-being.

An effective weapon against health disparities: Embedded legal assistance

Some hospitals, health systems and other health care providers are forming medical-legal partnerships to help patients address their social and environmental determinants of health — like housing issues or food insecurity — while they’re at their medical appointment. Research shows patients who get legal help have less stress, better asthma control and fewer trips to the emergency department. A study in the March edition of Health Affairs breaks down the arrangement.

When doctors’ rights collide with patients’ rights

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights is increasing its focus on the right of health care providers to refuse treatment due to religious or conscience objections. Some watchdog groups are concerned that the new direction may hamper access to care for transgender patients or women seeking abortions, Kaiser Health News reports. Get all the details here.


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