Mark Brault, Chair
Mission: The Health Access Team exists to position our community to access health care now and in the future.
The Health Access Team meetings for 2017 are at United Way on 1st Fridays 8:30-9:45 am.
Optimal health systems are primary care-oriented, and have high ratios of PCPs to specialists, and PCPs to patients. Systems are also considered primary care-oriented when there are minimal financial barriers to accessing primary care, while communications and care transitions between PCPs and other health care provider are reliable. Patient outcomes, quality and satisfaction, and system costs, are all improved when patients have a strong clinical relationship with a primary care provider (PCP) (Doctor Patient Relationship). This provider is currently most often a physician (i.e. family practitioner, general internist, and general pediatrician). However, in the future other models of care may come to supplement the PCP’s role, including increased use of telemedicine, independently practicing nurse practitioners and physician assistants, and use of both pharmacists and EMS supporting primary care.
The Health Access Team is working in partnership with the Washington State Hospital Association, our Tri-City area hospitals and city Emergency Services to reduce inappropriate emergency room use and help connect patients to primary care physicians. Using the emergency room for non-emergencies is a growing issue across the state, but the Tri-Cities is consistently high compared to the statewide average. As a result, patients in life-threatening situations are at risk if emergency services and personnel are responding to visits that could otherwise be handled in a doctor’s office or a clinic.
The HAT developed a rack card, “Good Health Begins With Me”, to educate community members on use of primary care, urgent care, and emergency room visits. The rack card is available for use and can be found below.