Title: Environmentally Overburdened Gulf State Residents Lack Access to Environmental Specialty Care.
Authors: Meirs, Kaitlyn W; Howarth, Marilyn V
Published In New Solut, (2018 11)
Abstract: Residents in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have experienced repeated natural and man-made environmental exposures. As frequency and intensity of exposures increase, the need for environmental specialty care rises in environmentally overburdened communities. We evaluated access to environmental health expertise in these states. We determined if providers accepted private health insurance and/or self-pay mapping their location using ArcGIS. Of sixty-four physicians meeting inclusion criteria, only eleven (17%) accepted private health insurance and thirty-four (53%) accepted self-pay. The ratio of physicians with environmental expertise who accept private health insurance and/or self-pay, to the population is < 1:1,000,000. Occupational clinics employ specialty physicians to provide care to industry employees but generally not patients with non-work-related exposure. We discuss the implications of limited access to environmental specialty care. To improve the availability of specialty expertise in this region, we recommend increased funding for training physicians in environmental exposure assessment in underserved communities, especially environmental justice communities.
PubMed ID: 30165800
MeSH Terms: Disaster Medicine/statistics & numerical data; Environmental Exposure/adverse effects*; Environmental Health; Gulf of Mexico; Health Services Accessibility/statistics & numerical data*; Humans; Insurance Coverage/statistics & numerical data; Insurance, Health/statistics & numerical data; Medicine/statistics & numerical data*; Occupational Health/statistics & numerical data; Petroleum Pollution/adverse effects*; United States