JPHCOPH Assesses Gaps
A collaborative study including Dr. Gulzar Shah at Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health assesses the gaps in the maternal and child health safety net. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 proposed sweeping changes to health insurance and health care delivery systems. As a result, local health departments, community health centers, and other safety net providers are expected to play a role in providing access to care for millions of individuals. This study examines the availability of population-based services by local health departments and community health centers in the Midwest/Great Lakes region.
Results show large variation in the distribution of community health centers. Additionally, the analysis of local health department services shows that prenatal care services are not available in every jurisdiction. Furthermore, the rates of low birth weight births in these areas are significantly higher than in areas where prenatal care is available. Future studies are needed to examine the relationship between safety net providers as well as their role in improving population health.
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