St. Louis, SEPTEMBER 26, 2018 – The St. Louis Regional Health Commission (RHC) released their inaugural Access to Care Data Book issue brief, “Geography Matters: The Impact of Regionality on Safety Net Access Trends in St. Louis,” which builds upon the 2017 Access to Care Data Book.
“Geography Matters” explores access trends among safety net patients based on zip code residence and the location of safety net organizations where patients access services. This issue brief aims to highlight geographic areas where safety net providers appear to be less accessible to uninsured individuals living in St. Louis City and County.
“’Geography Matters’ supports our community’s efforts to design a health care system that is equitable and excellent throughout all areas of St. Louis City and County,” said Eric Armbrecht, Chair of the Access to Care Workgroup Team and Associate Professor at Saint Louis University.
Key findings from “Geography Matters: The Impact of Regionality on Safety Net Access Trends in St. Louis” include:
- The areas with the highest unmet needs for safety net services appear to be North St. Louis County and South St. Louis City.
- The data indicates that North St. Louis County, North St. Louis City, and South St. Louis City have the worst health outcomes in the region and some of the worst in the state of Missouri.
- Central and West St. Louis County have relatively low rates of uninsured individuals and some of the best health outcomes in the state.
- General trends show gaps in safety net primary care service for North St. Louis County and South St. Louis City.
- General trends show high emergency care usage rates for uninsured individuals living in North St. Louis County and North St. Louis City.
- While an area of high need, North St. Louis City seems to be saturated with safety net access points at this time.
Historically, the RHC produces an annual Access to Care Data Book that reviews community-wide progress toward strengthening the primary, specialty, and emergency care safety net system in the region. In an effort to provide a more robust picture of access in the St. Louis region, the RHC’s Access to Care Data Workgroup elected to supplement the annual report with subsequent “issue briefs.” The aim of the issue briefs is to provide additional context and data around specific issues highlighted through provider feedback and data collected for the annual report.
“We hope this report will spur action and additional investment in those areas of our community that have high unmet needs,” said Robert Fruend, Jr., CEO of the RHC.