About Cultural Competency in Nevada (342)Page 12 of 18

11. Barriers to Care

Nevada is a diverse state that faces challenges in achieving health equity for all its residents. Although there are significant health disparities that need to be addressed, progress has been made in providing better healthcare outcomes for all (Cruda, 2023).

Inadequate health insurance coverage is one of the largest barriers to healthcare access, and the unequal distribution of coverage contributes to disparities in health. Out-of-pocket medical care costs can lead individuals to delay or forgo needed care (such as doctor visits, dental care, and medications), and medical debt is common among both insured and uninsured individuals. People with lower incomes are often uninsured, and minority groups account for over half of the uninsured population (OASH, nd).

Restricted access to healthcare for people with disabilities is a serious social problem. Many factors contribute to this limited access including stigmatization, misconceptions, negative attitudes toward people with disabilities, and a lack of knowledge or attention on part of healthcare providers (Skuban-Eiseler et al., 2023).

Transportation to medical appointments is costly and often difficult to arrange and once a person arrives at a facility, barriers to access still exist. Insufficient flexibility of the medical care system, overlooking specific needs of people with disabilities, poverty, and a lack of integration of the voices of people with disabilities in service design continue to plague healthcare organizations (Skuban-Eiseler et al., 2023).

While urban counties Clark, Washoe, and the municipality of Carson City account for the majority of the population, Nevada has prioritized improving healthcare access in rural, frontier, and tribal communities. In rural areas, healthcare delivery can be more challenging due to the longer travel times and distances from specialized medical facilities (Cruda, 2023).

Remote areas of the state also lack resources such as fresh foods, healthcare providers, and medical facilities. Long distances to emergency healthcare present a barrier, especially in extreme weather conditions. However, there are initiatives to address these barriers, for instance, by increasing access to telehealth services and expanding primary care options (Cruda, 2023).