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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
3271.0: Monday, December 12, 2005 - 2:45 PM

Abstract #117499

Healthcare access for young adults: A literature review, needs assessment, and policy recommendations

Mumtaz Mustapha, MD1, Elise Resch2, Natalie Combs3, and Janet Shalwitz, MD3. (1) Department of Medicine-Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Mayo Mail Code 391, 14-114 PWB, 420 Delaware Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455, (612) 824-1679, must0035@umn.edu, (2) Graduate Entry Program in Nursing, Yale University, P.O. Box 9740, New Haven, CT 06536-0740, (3) Adolescent Health Working Group, 323 Geary Street, Suite 418, San Francisco, CO 94102

Young people aged 19-25 are at one of the most vulnerable stages of life as they transition from adolescence to adulthood, yet 1 in 3 lack health insurance. An initiative was launched in San Francisco (SF) to describe the health status of this population; assess existing community-wide services; identify needs and priorities within the affected population; and develop appropriate policy to protect this underrepresented group from the health and financial shortfalls associated with being uninsured at this critical juncture in life. The qualitative needs assessment included: a survey of 342 youth between 19 and 25 on employment, education, insurance availability/ barriers, access to health services, perception of needs, utilization, and patient satisfaction. Structured interviews were conducted with 29 free and sliding-scale health clinics in San Francisco to evaluate perception of young adults' healthcare needs, service availability, and utilization. The limited public health research focused on young adults supports the findings of this needs assessment. It is clear that this poorly defined population has unmet healthcare needs and that existing services are not adequately responsive to their distinct risk profile. To address the health disparity of this population, the young adult's unique challenges will be discussed. The collected research provides a basis for advocating in any community on behalf of young adults. It demonstrates the potential value of extending government-sponsored health insurance programs to bridge the gap in care so many young adults experience. Furthermore, it explores quality assurance measures needed to effectively meet the healthcare needs of this transitioning population.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Access to Health Care, Underserved Populations

Related Web page: www.ahwg.net/

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Helping the Uninsured to Access Services and Medications

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA