Understanding Barriers to Medical Care on Long Island

August 17, 2018

Barriers to Care on Long Island

In February 2016, the Long Island Health Collaborative hosted two Community-Based Organization Summits which brought together individuals from over 100 local health-based organizations. Participants discussed health issues on Long Island. One of the issues participants were prompted to discuss often throughout the summits were the barriers to care for residents of Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

Barriers to Medical Care in Suffolk County

The main three barriers identified were access to care, financial barriers and care barriers.

  • 19.9% of quotes were related to access to care, housing and transportation.
  • 16.1% of quotes were related to financial barriers including terms like “affordability” and “poverty”.
  • 13.4% of quotes were related to care barriers with keywords such as “preventative care” and “continuity of care”.

“If you lack financial means, you have a very difficult time finding a provider paying for your medications. Even if you are insured, you may have a difficult time paying co-pays, deductibles. The new plans that are out there, oftentimes, have very high deductibles and co-pays, and there are some help with the premiums, but they can still be out of reach for many people to access. Medicaid recipients have very good coverage in some ways, but it can be also difficult to find good providers under Medicaid. So 21 finances are a big issue.”
- Suffolk County Department of Health, Maternal Infant Community Health Collaborative

Nassau County Medical Care Barriers

In Nassau County, respondents mentioned access barriers (25.1% of quotes), financial barriers (18.3%) and insurance barriers (16.2%). Access barriers were broken down even further.

  • 42.7% of quotes related to access were about lack of support.
  • 31.5% of quotes related to access were about understanding and awareness.
  • 24.2% of quotes related to access were about transportation.

Participants discussed building trust and encouraging community members to access care.

“I think we need to be the credible messengers and be able to share what's out there in real time with education, with support, because I think so many of the vulnerable families that we work with don't have that support, and like you said, they don't know where to begin. So I think we are sometimes that first door, and it depends who responds, you know, to that first door, and if we're going to treat them with respect, dignity, I think that opens the door for them to come back for access or services for that family, that person, and maybe they'll share that information with their neighbor. That's kind of how the cycle, I hope, could start to change.”
-Family and Children’s Association

Learn more about barriers to care and the Community-Based Organization Summit online.