Thursday, August 28, 2008

Increase of Chronic Illness

From the "Faces of Mission of Mercy" pamphlet:

Due to a continuing upward trend in the number of uninsured and the increased incidence of chronic illness, Mission of Mercy has become the long term, primary care provider for many of our patients. The increase in chronic illness affects our clinics in several ways:

  • the medical cases are more complicated; which means visits take longer

  • our ability to grow is limited; and it is more difficult for new patients to access our care

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    Chronic illnesses are diseases of slow progression and long duration. Some of the most common are
  • diabetes

  • hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • asthma

  • arthritis

  • chronic pain

  • depression

  • migrane

  • coronary heart disease

  • irritable bowel syndrome (inserted by David: this is how I came to seek out Mission of Mercy by the way)

    Within the US, nearly half of non elderly adults who lack health insurance report one or more chronic conditions - this amounts to fifteen and a half million Americans. IN the Maryland/ Pennsylvania program, seventy percent of patients suffer from one or more chronic conditions and Arizona ranks sixth in the nation for incidence of chronic illness.

    Uninsured adults with chronic conditions are less likely than their insured counterparts to receive medical care and to have a usual source of health care.

    They seek treatment at a much later stage of thier illness, are more likely to have emergency admissions to the hospital (and we all know what emergency visits do to local hospital budgets), and have a higher mortality rate once admited.

    Poverty can also play a crucial role in chronic illess. Patients may live in substandard housing, their diet and nutrition may be compromised, and lack of transportation, child care and flexible work schedules prove problematic in accessing needed medical care.

    Mission of Mercy bridges the health care gap for many who are experiencing the double burden of poverty and chronic illness by providing regular access to free medical and free dental care and prescription medicines. Patients who are monitored regularly and receive ongoing prescription medications are better able to manage thier illness, prevent further complications and generally improve their quality of life. At regularly scheduled appointments patients conditions are evaluated, and perhaps are mentored on healthy lifesytles and on the self management of their illness.
    In Arizona, 1/3 of all patient visits are for patients suffering from diabetes. In 2006. Mission of Mercy's Arizona program successfully integrated the "Living with Diabetes Management Program" and Education Program into individual patient visits and treatment plans. Diabetes patients compliant with their treatment plan at Mission of Mercy continued to realize a reduction of A1C levels - associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, eye damage, kidney damage, and microvascular disease.

    Through YOUR support Mission of Mercy will continue to "restore dignity" and "healing through LOVE" to the chronically ill patients that we serve.

    According to the Center for Disease Control, adults age eighteen to sixty four without health insurance rose to 36,500,000 in 2006 from 34,500,000 in 2005
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