Access to Care

Access to Care Committee

To learn more or contribute, please contact the committee leader(s) via email:

Committee Leaders:

Suchi Agrawal – suchi.agrawal@bcm.edu
Melinda Soeung – msoeung21@gmail.com
Fatima Syed – fatima.syed@bcm.edu

Unacceptable Reality

Many Texans are without access to basic health care services.

In 2015, 17% of Texans and 19.6% of Houstonians were uninsured, compared to the national average of 10%. Despite recent progress, Texas remains the state with the highest percentage of uninsured residents and, for the first time, Texas now has the largest number of uninsured residents. As of March 2015, the lowest income Texans are almost four times more likely to be uninsured than higher income individuals.

Access to care is a complex problem that includes insurance coverage, transportation, language barriers, social determinants of health, and more.

Committee Goal

Doctors for Change is uniquely qualified to advocate with our patients to improve access to care for uninsured and underinsured patients. We do this through educating health care professionals on community resources, developing partnerships between existing organizations working towards improving access, and supporting legislation that promotes improving access to care. This past year, the Access to Care committee has been working hard to raise awareness about the need for increased access to care for uninsured and underinsured Texans.

Advocacy Priorities

  • Continue to work towards increasing access to care by supporting innovative methods such as telemedicine and school-based health centers.
  • Educate legislators, healthcare professionals and the community about the need for increased access to care for uninsured Texans.
  • Support expanding the healthcare workforce in Texas.
  • Promote access to mental health care services.
  • Promote increasing use of Community Health Workers.

Recent & Current Projects

  • Conducting community educational forums about the unmet health needs present in Texas.
  • Compiling patient stories that described difficulties faced by real patients when trying to access care.
  • Organizing “Doc Days,” a community education event at local Houston public libraries, that aimed to raise awareness about diseases like diabetes, how to eat and live healthy, and how to access health care.
  • Conducted a “County Judge Survey” in 2016 that had a 35% response rate. The results of the survey helped identify unmet needs in all 254 Texas counties and helped formulate policy solutions.
  • Partnered with medical students and residents to write a policy brief and an op-ed that increased awareness about the problem of access to care in Texas and solutions.
  • During this 85th Texas legislature, the committee’s policy priorities focused on supporting bipartisan solutions to increasing access to care, such as telemedicine and school-based health centers. The solutions were well-received and led to the passage of bills such as SB 1107.