Health promotion and maintenance are important components of disease and disability management. Timely access to comprehensive and quality health care reduces disability and premature deaths across the board. The combination of access to quality care, insurance coverage and timing of care is important to overall quality and longevity of life and the delay of treatment has long-ranging consequences for both the individual and the health care system.
A delay in medical treatment occurs when there is a delay from the time the individual first notices a problem and obtaining the right diagnosis and treatment. It also means when the patient does not receive a treatment ordered for them in the time frame that is should have been delivered.
There are multiple reasons that an individual may delay seeking treatment and two very prominent variables are the patient’s ability to access care and to pay for it.
According to Healthy People 2020, the ability to access health services equals the timely use of personal health services for the best possible outcome.
Some of the barriers to accessing health care are the following:
Access to timely and appropriate care is essential to a person’s overall physical, social and mental health status. Lack of access impacts the overall quality of life by increasing mental stress, financial stress and worsening illness.
When a person does not receive timely care, a cascade of untoward consequences can follow.
Preventing delays in medical care is important has proven benefits. Cancers detected early have a better prognosis. People who are uninsured or underinsured typically present for treatment with more advanced malignancies. Acute conditions such as asthma, congestive heart failure or cellulitis require less management when addressed early. For example, a CHF patient who reports a 2-pound weight gain to the physician may quite easily be managed with a medication dose change or a home health referral, but if left untreated would require hospitalization.
The importance of timeliness in seeking health care cannot be underestimated, particularly in this COVID-19 era. People are reluctant to present at medical facilities and may be restricted in obtaining their prescriptions for fear of going to the pharmacy. With unemployment at high levels, the cost of routine health care may seem prohibitive. These are serious and valid concerns but timely health care at a maintenance appointment can reduce a person’s risk. When an individual delays treatment for a suspected or known problem, the risk of that medical concern worsening increases, and urgent or emergency care becomes more likely.
The decision to seek medical care sooner rather than later improves health outcomes by managing the illness before it becomes worse. By doing so, this lessens the possible need for urgent or emergent care which increases cost, and may even eliminate the need for hospitalization.
The collateral consequences of delayed treatment can be catastrophic in physical, emotional and financial ways.
Alliance America is an insurance and financial services company. Our financial professionals can assist you in maximizing your retirement resources and achieving your future goals. We have access to an array of products and services, all focused on helping you enjoy the retirement lifestyle you want and deserve. You can request a no-cost, no-obligation consultation by calling (833) 219-6884 today.