Definition and Scope of Health Care Access

The health disparities and health care inequalities experienced by major American ethnic groups (compared with Caucasian Americans) have been well documented. Health disparities are defined as higher rates of chronic and disabling illness, infectious disease, and mortality experienced by members of ethnic minority groups compared with Caucasians. One of the most important factors contributing to health disparities is limited access to health care. Therefore, improving access to health care is considered one of the greatest opportunities for reducing health disparities in the United States.

Access to health care can be considered at two levels: primary access and secondary access. Primary access involves entry into the health care system and access to basic care. Secondary access involves the quality of care ...

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