Californians Believe Overall Health Linked to Quality Care, Other Factors
Improving Californians' overall health is influenced by access to quality health care services, as well as other "life factors," including community, environment, safety and schools, according to a statewide survey commissioned by the California Center for Health Improvement. The Field Institute surveyed 1,612 Californians, identifying five areas -- health care access, community/environmental factors, safety, school quality/youth violence and job factors -- that the public considers "intrinsically linked to the overall health of residents." Regarding health care, 62% of respondents believe quality health care contributes a "good deal" to residents' overall health status. Eighty-eight percent of insured respondents said they were satisfied with their care provider in "taking care of their essential health needs"; 82% said they were satisfied with their provider's ability to listen and answer health questions. However, between 10% and 20% said they were "dissatisfied with their provider," and 11% of African Americans reported a "problem" with their provider's ability to "deal with people of their race." In addition, 32% of respondents said they do not have a "personal doctor" (CCHI report, 1/18).
Joan Twiss, director of California Healthy Cities and Communities, said, "The delivery of health care and medical services represents only 10% of what makes for a healthy people," adding, "The physical environment, economic conditions and the social milieu make a huge difference in whether people are healthy. And the public understands this" (Griffith,
Sacramento Bee, 1/18). Underscoring that idea, the report also found the following:
- 55% of respondents rated their community as doing an "excellent or good job" of promoting residents' overall health and well-being;
- 49% of respondents said that the government, and public and private organizations are "allocating too little money" to improve residents' overall health and well-being;
- 69% of respondents believe that clean air and water contribute a "good deal" to residents' overall health;
- 67% of respondents said they feel safe neighborhoods "significantly contribute" to residents' overall health;
- 60% of respondents said "well-paying jobs" contribute to residents' overall health; and
- 80% of respondents believe "it is important to learn ... about [their] health care and medical needs."
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