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Hospital/Emergency Services

Most people need medical care at some time in their lives. Access to affordable, quality health care is important to physical, social, and mental health. Health insurance helps individuals and families access needed primary care, specialists, and emergency care, but does not ensure access on its own—it is also necessary for providers to offer affordable care, be available to treat patients, and be in relatively close proximity to patients.

Why It's Important

Together, health insurance, local care options, and a usual source of care help to ensure access to health care. Having access to care allows individuals to enter the health care system, find care easily and locally, pay for care, and get their health needs met.

What Is Known

Neighborhoods with low health insurance rates often have fewer providers, hospital beds, and emergency resources than areas with higher rates. Even the insured have more difficulty getting care in these areas.2 Nationally, many areas also lack sufficient providers to meet patient needs; as of June 2014, there were about 7,200 primary care, 5,000 mental health, and 5,900 dental federally designated "Health Professional Shortage Areas" in the U.S.3 Having a usual primary care provider is associated with a higher likelihood of appropriate care, and a usual source of care is associated with better health outcomes. In 2010, 86% of Americans had a usual source of care, but those with low incomes were less likely to than those with higher incomes, and the uninsured were twice as likely as the insured to lack a usual care source.4 Cost can be a barrier to care even for those who have insurance. In 2009, 17% of people younger than 65 had premium and out of pocket costs totaling more than 10% of family income. Those with private, non-group insurance were three times as likely as those with employer-sponsored insurance to face such costs.4 In addition to cost and provider availability, EMS response times can impact access to care. This is more pronounced in rural and frontier areas where most EMS agencies are staffed by volunteers and one agency may service a large geographic area.

1. County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, Access to Care. Downloaded 2/26/2019.
2. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). What is the link between having health insurance and getting adequate health care? Princeton: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF); August 2011. Health policy snapshot. as cited in County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, Access to Care. Downloaded from on 2/26/2019.
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Shortage designation: Health professional shortage areas & medically underserved areas/populations. Last reviewed January 1, 2014. Accessed March 4, 2014. as cited in County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, Access to Care. Downloaded from on 2/26/2019.
4. Clancy C, Munier W, Brady J, et al. 2012 National healthcare quality report. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); 2013. as cited in County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, Access to Care. Downloaded from on 2/26/2019.
  • Utah Price Point - This website is a joint effort between the Utah Hospital Association and the Office of Health Care Statistics. The site allows health care consumers to receive basic information about services and charges at Utah hospitals, and compare between hospitals
  • Healthcare Facility Data
  • UtahHealthScape - This website can be used to find listings of Utah doctors, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and home health care companies. You'll also find information about the quality of care they deliver and what you might expect to pay.

The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health and Human Services IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Mon, 27 May 2024 19:11:51 from Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 29 Feb 2024 17:11:39 MST