Written by: Melinda Soeung and the Access to Care Committee
The DFC County Judge Survey was distributed in 2016 to evaluate the issues of access to care throughout the 254 Texas counties. There was a 36% response rate. Of the responses, approximately 63% were affiliated with the Republican Party and approximately 24% were affiliated with the Democratic Party. The results of the 2016 DFC County Judge Survey affirm the negative impact of having a high indigent population in Texas counties and further supports the need for a bipartisan solution to the problem of access to care in Texas. This document highlights key results of the survey.
BURDEN OF INDIGENT CARE
A HEAVY BURDEN
94% of judges responded that the overall burden of indigent care on their county and or hospital district budget is burdensome.
65% of judges responded that the volume of indigent care their counties deliver is increasing.
COSTLY METHODS OF ACCESSING CARE
71% of judges listed the emergency department as the most utilized facility for medical care by uninsured or underinsured residents.
90% of judges responded that the population of uninsured in their counties is greater than 10% exceeding the national percentage of 8/6% (2016).
QUOTE: “Many do not access care until there are few options. If they accessed care when prevention and other options were available it would positively impact their health.“
QUOTE: “Early intervention can result in better outcomes in comparison to delayed treatments that may be more expensive to treat.“
QUOTE: “The requirements for indigent care to be budget at its current level has impacted county programs and departments as well as reduced the counties ability to provide cost of living increases or expansion of services. All of these items puts the county at risk of staff turnover thus potentially reducing our ability to serve our residents.“
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF INDIGENT CARE
54% of judges responded that more than 5% of their county budgets are considered indigent care.
QUOTE: “The county’s economy suffers from the high rate of uninsured population because these individuals are too sick to work and too poor to get the medical attention they need.“
QUOTE: “It has reduced the average income of the county as a whole”
QUOTE: “It’s difficult to balance the budget while keeping tax rates affordable”
ACCESS TO CARE: CLOSING THE GAP
CLOSING THE GAP
55% of judges agree that telemedicine will increase access to health care for residents in their county.
ACCESS TO CARE
67% of judges agree that school-based clinics will positively impact the health of children in their communities.
QUOTE: “Telemedicine would positively reduce the transportation requirements of individuals and potentially reduce absenteeism from work“
QUOTE: “Limited specialists mean travel for care. If that was done locally through telemedicine then it would positively impact their treatment.“
QUOTE: “It will allow children to see a medical professional on a regular basis as well as help working parents who may not have flexibility at their employment to leave work for their children’s medical appointments.“