Access vs Affordability in Wayne, NJ

          I have grown up in Wayne, New Jersey my entire life. Wayne is a suburb located approximately 30 miles from New York City. Wayne’s population is about 55,000 people, 86% are white, 2% are African American, 8% are Asian, and 8% are Latino. This week’s blog focuses on what factors influence the health of my local community. In Wayne, access to proper healthcare is not the issue, rather affordability is. As the map below shows, there are a number of hospitals located within a 30-minute drive of Wayne. In fact, Wayne has its own hospital, and within 10 minutes there are 3 other hospitals that could be accessed. (See Map Below for Hospitals Near Me) Transportation to any of these hospitals is not a big issue. Because we are so close to New York City, Uber is very popular in my town. In New Jersey we have public transportation in the form of buses and trains. However, if a person was not able to use public transportation due to a disability, they could use a state run program called NJ Access Link. In order to be eligible for this service, patients simply have to interview with a transportation representative explaining your disability and why you cannot take public transportation.


            As I stated earlier, transportation to hospitals is not the issue but payment at the hospital is. Wayne’s median household income was $100,638 in 2017. Wayne is located right next to Paterson, New Jersey, whose median household income was $36,983 in 2017. In Wayne, as of 2018, 5.5% of people under the age of 65 did not have insurance. While in 2018, Paterson had 19.5% of people under the age of 65 uninsured. This goes to show that paying for medical treatment is an issue where I live. To help deal with this, New Jersey has a program called The New Jersey Hospital Care Payment Assistance Program, often referred to as Charity Care. Charity Care covers inpatient and outpatient treatments. In order to qualify for Charity Care, “You will be eligible for full Charity Care coverage in 2018 if your annual gross income for the 12 months before your hospital care was not more than 200% of the federal poverty level, which is $24,280 in 2018 for a single person.” ( This program has a sliding scale that allows patients to get the medical treatment they need, no matter their financial situation. 

            To finish up this blog I would like to discuss the COVID-19 Pandemic in Wayne, New Jersey. New Jersey has been a hot spot for the coronavirus, with over 95,000 confirmed cases. As of April 28, Wayne has 964 confirmed cases, while Paterson has 4,751 confirmed cases. One of the big issues has been testing people for this terrible virus. As this whole blog has been about affording medical treatment I thought of the question, how are people that can’t pay for COVID-19 testing getting tested? After doing some research I found a letter published by the NJ Department of Health saying, “To ensure that cost-sharing is not a barrier to testing for COVID-19, the Department of Health (“Department”) is instructing hospitals not to charge uninsured patients for (1) the CDC 2019 Novel Coronavirus Real Time RT-PCR diagnostic test panel and (2) COVID-19-related ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes communicated through the Medicaid Newsletter.” It is now thought that New Jersey has gotten over its COVID-19 peak. An interesting question to ask now is, how is New Jersey planning on helping those that can not pay for COVID-19 treatment. Now that people have been tested, there needs to be a plan for follow up care. We could ask how are people getting to the follow up care? In these unprecedented times, there are so many unanswered questions. I will give a COVID-19 update next week and discuss how people are accessing the healthcare system. 

3 thoughts on “Access vs Affordability in Wayne, NJ

  1. I appreciate how you compared several statistics from your town of Wayne and compared them with the neighboring town of Paterson. In contrasting the average household income, the percentage of the population under the age of 65 who are uninsured, and the number of coronavirus cases for the two towns, you could see a clear financial disparity. This, as we know, directly affects access to healthcare and quality of health.

    1. I was thinking the same thing as Grace here. Noting the disparity seen in the economic situation of your town and a town that is so close in proximity is an effective way in which to compare the healthcare resources seen in these two different communities. This also has me thinking about the topic of transportation discussed at the beginning of this post. Although your town, specifically, has access to a number of hospitals and a high percentage of people utilize Uber services, do you think these same resources are available in the neighboring town? I would assume that the lower income statistics would equate to citizens likely not being able to afford Uber transportation continuously or even to constantly pay for public bus tickets, have you come across any transportation options that are free of charge for people in these financial situations?

  2. I really liked how you compared statistics from your town Wayne to that of Patterson. There is clearly a correlation between mean household income and the percentage of individuals under the age of 65 that are uninsured. As I was reading, I wondered how Patterson is working to combat this issue as they may not have control over the income per household, but perhaps health officials could do something to decrease the large percentage of people that are uninsured . Low and behold you did a good job by immediately mentioning The New Jersey Hospital Care Payment Assistance Program. This really shows the issue of healthcare access in relation to insurance due to financial restrictions. I hope those that are in need of it are capitalizing on this program!

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