Removing the Barriers to Equitable Healthcare By Dr. Anoop Raman

Removing the Barriers to Equitable Healthcare

By Dr. Anoop Raman 

Two words you’ll hear often in healthcare today are equality and equity. The words are frequently confused. Equality means everyone gets the same thing. Equity means everyone gets what they need to render them equal.

A well-known depiction of equity versus equality features three people of different heights standing at a picket fence, trying to see a ballgame on the other side. If we treat each of these people equally, they all get one box to stand on, regardless of their height. Even the tallest person—who can see over the fence without help—gets a box, while the two shorter people are still below the fence line.

If we treat them equitably, however, the shortest person gets the most boxes. In the end, all three people are the same height and have the same view of the ballgame.

We at AbsoluteCare are committed to health equity, yet we are also concerned about the fence itself. What if it were constructed of clear materials that would allow all people, regardless of their height, an unobstructed view of the game? What if that fence were removed altogether?

Of course, healthcare is not a ballgame, yet the fence—the barriers to healthcare—are still in the way for so many people. The system has inherent flaws. It assumes people have equal access and takes for granted that they can be treated the same way until those who have different needs must demand accommodations.

Our operating model says that everyone deserves healthcare and the resources necessary to achieve it. AbsoluteCare dismantles the fence and removes the barriers to give all our members the opportunity to achieve their health goals in the most effective ways for them.

Built into our model are things so many of us take for granted: transportation, convenience, access, adherence, engagement. AbsoluteCare identifies those most at risk for chronic illness and who face barriers to care every day. We engage them where they are: hospitals, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, barbershops—in their own communities. We welcome them as members rather than simply as patients, and we remove those barriers with:

  • Vans to transport our members to and from their appointments
  • Access to dedicated, multi-disciplinary care teams with small panels, so care managers can build strong relationships with each member between visits to make sure they are getting the care they need when they need it
  • Onsite pharmacies that not only help with filling prescriptions so that an extra trip is not required but allow the care team to make sure members have received their medications, know how to take them, and are taking them properly
  • Social workers on site to help with life services, like keeping our members well fed and  housed and keeping their electricity on

AbsoluteCare brings together all the pieces of the health equity puzzle. And our success relies on improvements in member health. Members who meet us here can not only watch the whole game as equals with other spectators, but they can participate in their own lives in ways they’ve never before imagined.