There’s a need for national, long-term healthcare strategies- Antoinette Hardy-Waller
I’m in conversation with Antoinette Hardy-Waller. She is Chief Executive Officer of The Leverage Network, a non-profit organization committed to the promotion and advancement of African Americans to Governance and Board roles in healthcare. We have been discussing health disparity issues on several occasions, but the COVID-19 outbreak is accelerating the absolute need for change.
The interview is in 4 parts, this is part 2.
Interesting approach, it sounds very clear and feasible. Where would you start?
“In light of the pandemic I believe the more immediate steps, especially as we look to reopen America, are to ensure that the communities that are most vulnerable:
▪ Have appropriate healthcare services readily available in their communities; to monitor individuals with mild or no symptoms (i.e. FQHCs, Urgent Care) and assess their ability to isolate or self-quarantine.
o If they are not able to self-quarantine, what can we do to assist?
o Providing contact tracingin the community utilizing individuals living within the community to assist. This bakes in a sense of trust,increasing compliance and follow up, and provides job opportunities for those assisting with the tracing.
▪ Have access to basic PPE (masks, gloves, etc….) and more global testing to monitor downward trends in ‘hotspot’ communities.
▪ Have access to a vaccine when available — A vaccine is important, but for the most vulnerable communities, the likelihood is that a large percentage will not have access to it whether it be because of cost, (in)availability or (im)mobility
-Will there be coverage for those who are not or under-insured?
-Will the vaccine be available in their community?
-What will the requirements be to obtain the vaccine?
“These are important areas that need to be addressed short term. However to get at the deeply rooted, underlying issues that have exacerbated these health disparities, we must look at national long term strategies. These should not solely address the immediate health care needs, but also the drivers impacting poor outcomes which include housing, education, employment and socioeconomic status.”