“Ensuring the Right to Health” is the theme of the final day of National Public Health Week. This topic falls under the mission of Suwannee River AHEC “to promote and provide access to quality health connections in our community.” American Public Health Association has identified three pillars for ensuring the right to health which include: access to care, prioritizing prevention, and elevating the social determinants of health.
Access to Care
“Research shows that going without health insurance increases a person’s risk of death, while expanding access to coverage can reduce mortality and increase the chance that a person reports being in good health” (Ensuring the Right to Health, n.d.). The Affordable Care Act made a tremendous stride forward by dropping the national uninsured rate by six percent from 2013 to 2016. Suwannee River AHEC played a role in decreasing uninsured rates through our Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator program. Our Navigators provide quality, unbiased information to consumers seeking guidance on their health insurance options. This includes enrolling people through the Marketplace, providing information on the appeals process, providing local resources, and educating consumers on health insurance. This free program is two-fold. Not only is it making health insurance more accessible, but it also empowers consumers to understand and utilize their health coverage.
Suwannee River AHEC stands behind this pillar in a variety of ways. Our Navigator programs inform consumers on their preventative screenings included with their health insurance. Making consumers aware of the option increases the utilization of these screenings. Additionally, research shows that health-promoting policies, such as smoking bans, result in people making behavioral choices that reduce the risk of chronic disease. Suwannee River AHEC’s Tobacco Cessation team is in full support of prevention policies such as smoking bans. Finally, our Workplace Wellbeing Program advocates and works with local employers to promote preventative screenings and measures in their environment and company culture. Not only do we advocate, but we help employers understand their employees’ needs and interests to establish programs that will increase employee engagement. Suwannee River AHEC targets and tailors the “prioritize prevention” message to a variety of populations, thus increasing awareness and decreasing chronic illness.
Elevating the Social Determinants of Health
“Ensuring the right to health means creating the conditions that enable good health, acknowledging the inequities that perpetuate poor health, and considering health in all policies” (Ensuring the Right to Health, n.d.). We aim to alleviate all inequities and poor conditions in North Central Florida. Our current programs have been successful and we continue to explore new health issues and concerns that our community faces. Suwannee River AHEC takes a responsibility to assist individuals with nearly any health concern to ensure that they have the right to their health.
Ensuring the Right to Health. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nphw.org/nphw-2018/right-to-health.
About the Author: Sarah Brusca
|Sarah Brusca is office support and a special projects coordinator here at Suwannee River AHEC.|