Guest post by Amelia “Amy” MacIntyre, Health Research & Policy Analyst, North American Management
The uninsured, the underinsured and those living in underserved communities in which health care services are scarce are the segments of the U.S. population that are disproportionately affected by cervical cancer. These populations include women in rural areas, the elderly, those with less formal education, and women of color. For example, the mortality rate for African-American and Vietnamese women continues to be twice as high as for white women – and about 50 percent higher for Latinas. Meanwhile, in rural communities, uninsured white women have some of the poorest access to routine screening of any patient population. Thus, cervical cancer incidence rates vividly demonstrate inequities in our health care systems and outcomes.
Community health centers supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) address this disparity by providing preventive health services – including Pap tests and HPV vaccinations – to any woman, regardless of insurance status and/or ability to pay. As such, health centers play a vital role in redressing health disparities and delivering care to groups excluded in the health care system, such as immigrants. (more…)