At The Elmezzi Foundation, we understand the role good health plays in sustaining a productive and fulfilling life. At the same time, however, we are also aware of the difficulties associated with maintaining ‘good health’ — from access to healthy food, the necessary time it takes to exercise, and the cost of health insurance.
A little over a week ago, the New York Times published an article that brings to light just difficult it can be for a substantial portion of Americans to use health care systems to their benefit. The article points out that 23% of U.S. adults with health coverage are underinsured. What this means is that while they are technically covered by a health insurance plan, their benefits are not adequately meeting their needs due to the high costs of health insurance being passed down to patients. In short, this leads folks that are underinsured to skip doctors appointments and/or forgo recommended medication or medical treatment. Much of the time, patients will pass on medical procedures/interventions because they are already paying off previous medical debt — all while continuing to pay monthly premiums.
Research on underinsured populations is not entirely new, as it has been going on for decades. While the estimates for how many are actually underinsured varies from study to study, most of them, including a more recent study point to the need for policy analysis of adequacy of care, not just status of coverage. This is an issue that also places emphasis on regular preventative care for healthier communities. With this in mind we recently granted $100,000 to Mount Sinai Queens to support a population health management pilot program. The program, which will be centered at Mount Sinai Queens Family Health Associates Clinic located on 21st Street in Astoria, will comprise 4 care management teams to engage approximately 500 individuals per year, with a goal of significantly impacting the medical, behavioral and social health outcomes of people in Astoria, Long Island City and throughout Queens. Mount Sinai Queens teams will develop individualized, culturally-sensitive Care Plans in concert with each patient, their caregiver (if applicable), their primary care provider, and other community-based providers to support patients in reaching their health goals. “Studies have shown that patient engagement can help improve health outcomes and avoid preventable deaths, and we are proud to support this comprehensive effort by Mount Sinai Queens to make our community a healthier one,” said Pooja O’Hanlon, Executive Director of The Elmezzi Foundation.