Updated: September 28, 2022
The Access to Care campaign, a project with a goal of better understanding what communities across Hawai‘i need to improve their health, launches statewide on April 1, 2022.
Click here to take the Access to Care survey.
Community First, together with half a dozen healthcare, government and social services partners, are teaming up for the launch.
Health care professionals, social services providers and policymakers statewide want to hear from Hawaiʻi residents about their ability to access the care they need.
Access to Care is a comprehensive 360-degree healthcare assessment that combines data from resident surveys, input from healthcare and social service providers, and feedback from policymakers into a snapshot to better understand the terrain of the healthcare landscape across Hawai‘i.
The vision of Access to Care is a community-focused healthcare collaborative that ensures everyone on the islands has timely access to quality healthcare, close to home.
Residents are encouraged to share their experience with the healthcare and social service systems via a simple, fast and 100 percent anonymous survey. Residents can also take the survey at pop-up events at participating grocery stores and farmers markets across the islands throughout the month of April.
“Everyone’s voice matters,” said Randy Kurohara, executive director of Community First. “When you fill out the survey, it’s a chance to call out the needs you see and the gaps you want fixed — for yourself, your family and your community. It’s a chance to get the resources your neighborhood, town, district or community needs.”
Survey results will be shared with policymakers, healthcare systems, and social service providers so they can work together to streamline services, identify gaps in care, and effect real change across the state.
Ultimately, the hope is that providers statewide can work together to develop centers of excellence and increase their capacity to serve more patients locally, while residents feel empowered by their healthcare options and understand the benefits of local care.
The Access to Care survey is the first public-facing element of the statewide healthcare assessment, but the project has been ongoing as a pilot program on Hawai‘i Island for several months.
Access to Care is different from other healthcare assessments in that it not only seeks to understand gaps in service, it also aims to find what is working in the healthcare system and extrapolate those models or services to build upon. Finding the disconnect and bridging the gap between healthcare providers who say they are able to see patients and residents who say they can’t find care, for instance, will help systems that support the community be able to better plan and serve residents.
Access to Care also looks at data from patients who are flown off-island for procedures in an effort to understand what services can be administered locally.
Importantly, Access to Care specifically seeks to connect with populations who have been underserved in the past, specifically those in rural areas, ALICE families (asset limited, income constrained, employed), and those who are limited English proficient (LEP); Hawaiʻi has the highest per capita rates of (LEP) persons in the nation.
“Our focus is protecting and serving the health of our community,” said Lisa Rantz, president of the Hawaiʻi State Rural Health Association. “Beyond the medical and clinical needs of our community, what else do we need to be vibrant and thriving from a holistic health perspective? Creating more access to quality local care by informed data is the goal.”
Each week, $100 gas gift cards will be given out in a randomized drawing as a mahalo in recognition of survey participation.
Convened by Community First, the following partners from across healthcare, public policy and social services have come together to lead this initiative:
- Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation
- Hawai‘i Medical Association
- Hawaiʻi State Department of Health
- Hawaiʻi State Rural Health Association
- Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center
- Initial results from Hawai‘’i Island, where Access to Care was first introduced in 2021, are being turned into a health improvement action plan report. Key findings include:
- 59% of healthcare workers and 45% of residents believe their island is unhealthy
- Over 40% of healthcare providers on Hawai‘i Island considered reducing hours, leaving medicine, or moving to the mainland
- There is a significant shortage of nurses, certified nursing assistants, and community health workers
- A need for increased social service capacity and more mental health professionals are two priority impact areas.