Profiles point out gaps in health care access

State officials can use newly released profiles of residents’ health status, ability to access health care, and causes of death to improve the delivery of health services to all who need them, according to the federal official whose agency produced the reports.

"Data in these state-by-state profiles will help officials find the gaps in their health care systems and move to plug them," says Claude Earl Fox, MD, MPH, administrator of the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Health care access is supported through a diverse set of local health care institutions, including public hospitals, health departments, clinics, and HRSA’s 3,000-plus community and migrant health centers and health care for the homeless programs, that provide health care to the nation’s poor and uninsured.

HRSA profiles respond to a call for better data in a recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) study, American’s Health Care Safety Net: Intact But Endangered. IOM committee members said they were struck by the lack of reliable data that can be used to assess the relative health of safety nets in communities across the country. To read the report on-line, go to: www.hrsa.gov/newsroom/releases/2000%20Releases/iomstudy.htm.

The profiles contain a six-page document for each state, plus the District of Columbia.