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Raising the standard of care for the underserved will relieve burdens and strains from the healthcare system (Hooker, 2013). This statement is supported by Hooker (2013) in the fact that the evidence has shown the disadvantaged carry the majority of both chronic and comorbid illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there are 25 million in Appalachia alone that face unique health challenges influenced by their socioeconomic status, rural location, and culture (CDC, 2019). The effects of a lower standard of care for example have resulted in the underserved being re-hospitalized for preventable conditions (Edmunds, 2011).
Raising the standard of care has the potential of paralleling the results or outcomes with those who are not part of the underserved population (Hu & Ghosh, 2019). Atrium Health was purposeful in its approach to removing or counteracting the barriers that adversely affect the underserved and noted similar outcomes for all under their care in the treatment of cancer (Hu & Ghosh, 2019). The CEO of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health stated that raising the standard of care for the underserved has resulted in world-class care for the entity of the community that they serve (PRNewswire, 2021).
The results of raising the standard of care for the underserved is clear, it will simply treat all equally and have the expectation of similar outcomes for every patient. Raising the standard of care also means that more will have access to the healthcare system, more will be seen for their medical concerns as a result a healthier community can thrive (Gee & Rapfogel, 2020). There is also the fact the entirety of the healthcare system would have to grow more clinicians, more dentists, more nursing support, and even more facilities if the standard of care is grown to address all barriers (Commonwealth Fund, 2009). There are a host of potential affects to the healthcare system depending on how this issue is addressed and what populations are focused upon, the key is to continue to do better every day for everybody.