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May 1991

Access to Health Care: One Neurologist's Perspective

Author Affiliations

From the Chairman of the Task Force on Access to Health Care of the American Academy of Neurology, Minneapolis, Minn, and the Departments of Neurology, Denver (Colo) General Hospital and University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver.

Arch Neurol. 1991;48(5):476-479. doi:10.1001/archneur.1991.00530170036017

• Millions of residents of the United States have difficulty obtaining health care. Barriers impeding access to care include poverty, physical unavailability of health care services, absence of health insurance, and physicians unwilling to care for uninsured patients. Many patients do not successfully use health services because of educational, cultural, and language barriers. A major access barrier is lack of health insurance. Over 30 million people in the United States have none, the so-called medically indigent. Among them are over 3 million people with neurologic disorders. They have additional barriers to overcome because often they cannot work, cannot drive, have difficulty using public transportation, and have major cognitive and communication impairments. Medical and governmental bodies are debating solutions to the health care access crisis. Physicians should actively participate in this national debate. Neurologists should address the special needs of patients with neurological disorders.

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