DENVER (CBS4) – Raw numbers paint a familiar picture; Colorado residents are concerned about health care, putting it second only to rising living and housing costs in their concerns. There is much more to these concerns and the new reality in a study by the Colorado Foundation for Health.
“Expenditures on health, mental health and drug and alcohol use are considered extremely or very serious problems by 67%, 63% and 58% of respondents, respectively,” the report said.
That raises concerns about the daily needs of Colorado residents, said Jace Udrum, a senior public opinion officer for the Colorado Health Foundation.
“This year you have food costs, you have petrol costs and you have housing costs, and in previous years it was health and housing, health and housing,” he said.
The researchers spoke to nearly 3,000 people about the survey. It is believed that people cannot eat on their own and receive appropriate medical care more often.
“When we reduce nutrition, when we reduce health care, it absolutely affects our health and well-being,” Udrum said.
“Missing doctor’s appointments, medication,” said Alma Flores, a mother and fast food worker, about what she went through. Her colleagues tell her, “I haven’t been able to take a glucose test or asthma medicine for a while.”
Flores’ three children are covered by Medicaid, but she is not. On Monday, she was at the Stride Municipal Health Center in Del Mar. She hadn’t been to a checkup in two years.
“It’s been almost two years without him, so it’s out of my mind. I’m just waiting for the results and I hope he comes back with everything right. “
Her employer offers her health insurance, but she can’t afford it.
“We are using the resources at our disposal, through various federal and state subsidies, to be able to provide this high-quality service to all,” said Phil Amateis, Eastern Regional Chief Operating Officer for Stride. “I think that if we really start structuring our focus on providing care in a community like this for everyone, it will actually slowly reduce healthcare costs in general. Because we will be able to get people to deal with problems much earlier in the process and not let it go as far as possible.
Flores had an alarming lump recently for which she was able to get help.
“At one point I was scared because I thought I was going to get a slight swelling in my chest and then I had to go to a specialist.”
But she was fine. This raises the idea of a long-term problem when she does not have health insurance.
“Sometimes I’m scared when I feel like it, but what if I get something I have to treat for so long?”
The issue also becomes an access. Many people do not know how to seek care or are embarrassed. And the options are still too few.
“I think this will be a problem in the whole healthcare system in the whole country. “There are not enough resources for healthcare all the time,” Amateis said.
“About half of Colorado residents are postponing medical or dental care,” Udrum said.
The numbers are particularly worrying when it comes to mental health. Two years ago, during periods of isolation during the pandemic, 52% said they were experiencing mental health stress. But now society has opened up more with the reopening of businesses, authorized mass gatherings and the abolition of mask mandates. The results of the survey show that not only have things not improved, but they have gotten worse.
“We had 61% of them say they had experienced anxiety, depression, loneliness or stress in the last year. And then when we asked if they were getting the help they needed, a huge number of people weren’t getting the help they needed there, “Udrum said.
Some of the reasons cited are access to mental health care, including the cost of services, availability of meetings and uncertainty about how to find providers. The numbers were particularly worrying among Colorado residents, Udrum said.
“They were very afraid of judgment from colleagues. Friends and family when they thought of getting mental health care. ”
In addition, one of the problems exacerbated by the pandemic among all Colorado residents now seems to be of greater concern.
“Concerns about alcohol and drug use are growing; in 2020, 45% of Colorado residents consider it a serious problem; in 2021 it was 50%, and in 2022 the majority of respondents (58%) now say that this is a problem, “the survey said.