Summit County has one of the highest rates of uninsured citizens in the state of Colorado, with 22% of community members unable to afford health insurance. Summit County is designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as a Medically Underserved Population due to the high rate of uninsured members of our community, and the lack of access to affordable health care. This high rate can be attributed to the number of low-paying jobs, the seasonal nature of our workforce, and the number of small business owners who cannot afford to offer health insurance to their employees.
Cultural and linguistic differences can create significant barriers to accessing care. Care Clinic addresses these barriers by offering all health services in English and Spanish. We also have translation services for languages that our staff does not speak fluently. Fifty percent of our staff speaks more than one language. There are 5 languages represented by SCCC staff. SCCC also values cultural competency, and holds regular training for our staff to provide the best health care to all our patients, no matter their country of origin or cultural beliefs.
Consider this patient’s situation:
Sally is a dental hygienist and a single mother. She has two children. She makes a respectable income and always has enough to survive on. She doesn’t have health insurance because she has never had health issues in the past and doesn’t participate in any high risk activities…or so she thinks.
One day, while driving to work, she takes her eyes off the road for a minute. Suddenly, she finds herself heading for a ditch. She takes evasive action, but she can’t avoid a tree that was on the side of the road. Sadly, she crashes. Her car is destroyed, but that is the least of her worries right now…
When she gets to the hospital, she learns she has broken her arm, has a concussion, and has displaced a vertebra in her back – relatively common injuries in car accidents. She asks – “When will I be able to go back to work?” Not for a few months, the doctor replies. She is then taken to surgery to get everything fixed up.
She spends a few days in the hospital and then goes home to start resting. Soon, the medical bills start arriving. Ambulance ride, hospital bed rental, surgery, it just keeps on adding up. How is Sally going to pay for this? Remember, she is not working because of her injuries, and disability payments don’t even come close to covering these costs.
Then, the end of the month comes around. The mortgage payment is due, the kids need new clothes, and Sally is almost out of food. There is no money coming in! Within a few months, all of Sally’s credit cards are maxed out, she can’t get any more loans, and she still has huge medical bills to pay off. The only solution – bankruptcy. Sally’s life has changed forever.