Under Sub-Section 254b of the U.S. Code, governments must ensure centers for health care are in place to attend to the medical needs of underserved communities; particularly in areas where there are increased poverty and health risks, as well as insufficiency of primary health care providers.
According to the tenets of the American Medical Association (AMA), every doctor of medicine has an obligation to take part in providing care to the poor people in their communities to ensure everyone’s medical needs are met, The AMA further emphasized that caring for the needy should form part of a doctor’s overall services to patients.
Underserved locations are usually provided with primary health care by physicians who practice their medical profession full time in community health centers and other public health systems. Others who can’t afford to serve full time, go to local free clinics on a part-time basis.
Although some doctors engage in private practice in their own clinics, they provide charity care to patients who cannot afford to pay, particularly those who do not qualify for Medicaid assistance.
What Exactly are the Underserved Areas and Who are the Needy?
Rural and urban sectors with areas that have inadequate primary care physicians, without resources for primary medical care and other health requirements are marked as Health Profession Shortage Areas or Medically Underserved areas. They are designated as such by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Community health services that are provided with funding by the HRSA are also labeled as “Federally Qualified Health Centers”.
People who live in underserved areas are usually those who:
Have little, to no access to means of transportation;
Cannot communicate fluently in English;
Have low wages or earnings;
Have attained low levels of education and;
Have limited literacy about health.
A Florida Doctor’s View about Providing Health Care in Underserved Areas
In an interview conducted last July 2021, by Denise Hicks, the Research Director of The Orlando Business Journal, with the President and CEO of Community Health Centers Florida Dr. Debra S. Andree, the latter shared her own views about rendering medical services in Central Florida’s most underserved communities.
The Community Health Centers deliver care to those in need regardless of their background where the care is focused on healing and compassion. The interest to serve stems from one’s desire to relieve the suffering of patients and to improve the quality of their life.
Dr. Andree said a CHC doctor orlando patients consult with regardless of current circumstances embodies the application of a principle that will lead to advancement for all