WESTERLY – The most important health care issue for residents of Washington County is access to health care, according to a survey of residents that was conducted as part of Westerly Hospital’s recent Community Health Assessment.
Respondents to the survey said they were concerned about the number of uninsured patients who are using hospitals for their primary care, and also the number of uninsured people, who are using free and reduced-costs health care clinics. Eighty-two percent of the respondents listed suitable access to health care as their chief concern.
Asked what they thought the biggest barriers were to getting health care, respondents answered lack of insurance, lack of transportation and inability to pay copays and other out-of-pocket expenses.
The second-most-important issue for the respondents was mental-health problems, while the third was the nation’s obesity epidemic, according to a summary report.
Westerly Hospital participated in the CHNA from September 2012 to May 2013. The results will be used to create programs at Westerly Hospital to better address patients’ need.
Beset by financial trouble, Westerly Hospital merged in 2013 with Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London. •