Despite the Guilderland community’s smaller size, its healthcare-related resource supply is substantial (both within the town itself and in the greater Albany county). However, even with a plethora of available healthcare and healthcare-pertinent resources, access is not guaranteed for every patient population. Although a town or municipality may be highly self-sufficient and stable, access to the town’s resources can significantly vary for every individual based on particular circumstances, factors, and elements. The purpose of today’s post will be to understand and analyze the complexities of access and how it is “distributed” to residents of a specific location. In this case, we will be discussing the influential features of access to healthcare in Guilderland.
One of the primary factors impacting access to healthcare and healthcare resources is socioeconomic status/income. I want to preface this by mentioning that Guilderland does possess several services and donation centers to provide benefits that may aid struggling individuals and families (in any area of life) in the town. For example, the Guilderland Food Pantry has backpack programs for school children, holiday meals, and home delivery services to feed and support poverty-stricken, starving people. It is important to note that food banks (like this one) are imperative and beneficial in preventing higher mortality rates. Thus, although a low-income person may be covered by food pantries/banks in terms of nutrition, that still does not qualify them for other services/benefits, nor does it ensure that they will have an excellent quality of life. Let’s take a look at access to local and fresh produce, for instance. The ability to purchase freshly grown and organic food can often be considered a privilege. Thankfully, there is a local farmer’s market in Guilderland (which can remove transportation issues from this singular equation), but the prices are not really low. Unfortunately, buying fresh and local produce from the farmer’s market is not the most affordable or feasible option for persons or families with lower incomes.
Another significant factor that can determine one’s access to healthcare in Guilderland is health insurance possession. As mentioned in my welcoming blog post, having health insurance is critical to seeking or desiring standard healthcare provisions in the United States. The town of Guilderland is not an exception to this national precept. To illustrate, Guilderland does not have any standing facilities that provide minimal or no charge dental services. The Oshins of Smiles dental health office is relatively flexible in the sense that it accepts a multitude of different insurances. Still, if a person does not own insurance, they will be required to pay for the service’s full cost. Whether they pay for that complete service at that very moment or decide to settle in increments, overtime is up to their discretion. In the end, however, they will still be expected to pay out of pocket. Sadly, medical services fees are not necessarily cheap, so taking on the burden of medical expenses through self-payment is unrealistic for the non-insured.
Finally, healthcare access is also mostly dependent on transportation and the location of facilities. I stated above that Guilderland is rich with various resources, yet, it still has its constraints. For example, the St. Peter’s Crime Victim Services — a subgroup/program that is a part of St. Peter’s Hospital — is located within the Albany area. This would be one of the best programs to contact if a person in Guilderland has experienced rape or some other form of severe trauma. It is also one of the programs that are the closest in proximity (approximately a twenty-minute drive) from Guilderland. At the same time, it is worth pointing out that not every individual is equipped with a car or some sort of vehicle. Additionally, it is plausible that public transportation may not reach or drive into specific neighborhoods, especially those more inward and surrounded by woods. These types of movement limitations (only to name a few) can actually be principal reasons behind a resident’s inability to attain proper healthcare and healthcare-related resources.
Access to Healthcare Through COVID-19: A Step Towards Advancement?:
Undoubtedly, coronavirus has significantly altered the lives of many in drastic ways, both locally and nationally. When considering the global pandemic, we often wallow about our sorrows, our losses, and the sweet temptation of returning to normalcy. Yet, simultaneously, the pandemic has brought about some good; this is a permanent type of good that can be transferred over to the post-COVID future that most of us have been eagerly anticipating. Specifically, telehealth services’ utilization and increased availability have been a shining gem in these times of distress. Namely, Karner Psychological Associates in Guilderland has a diverse staff consisting of psychologists, licensed mental health counselors, therapists, and more, emphasizing its telehealth and telemedicine sessions. As we continue to combat the virus and all that it brings, we must remain self-aware and be vigilant in taking care of our mental health. Someone who is contemplating suicide or merely feeling depressed because of the pandemic could both find the sessions helpful. Therefore, we conclude that therapy sessions and chats through the screen with trained professionals are advantageous, useful in maintaining sanity, and applicable in the long-term. Perhaps coronavirus is not that bad, after all…