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Quality Assurance and Measures

Most people need medical care at some time in their lives. According to the County Health Rankings, "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."1

Access to health care includes not only having health insurance, but also having options for local care, and a primary source of care. When individuals and families have access to health care they are able to enter and navigate the health care system, can afford health care services, and their health needs are adequately addressed.1

"Neighborhoods with low health insurance rates often have fewer providers, hospital beds, and emergency resources than areas with higher rates," according to the County Health Rankings. Further, even those that have health insurance can experience difficulties accessing care in these neighborhoods.2

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) designates Healthcare Provider Shortage Areas (HPSA), which are "geographic areas, populations, and facilities that have too few primary care, dental and mental health providers and services." As of January 2019, there were 7,027 primary care, 58,334 dental health, and 5,125 mental health HPSAs in the U.S. In Utah there were a total of 150 HPSAs.3 These areas don't have a sufficient number of health care providers to meet the health needs of their communities.

County Health Rankings states that, "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." Having a primary care provider is a barrier for those with low incomes and the uninsured. In fact, individuals without health insurance were twice as likely to not have a primary care provider.4

Even for those with health insurance the high cost of health care is still a barrier. A national report on health care quality says that, "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

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 2/10/2015.
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Shortage Areas. Accessed 3/8/2019 from
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 2/10/2015.

Cost as a Barrier to Health Care - Adults (BRFSS)

Adequate Prenatal Care (Birth data)

In-hospital Deaths

Emergency Department (ED) Encounters for Primary Care Sensitive Conditions

Prehospital (ambulance) Timing

Discussion With Doctor (BRFSS)

Quality Measures Related to Pregnancy (PRAMS)

Quality Measures for Adolescents (YRBS)

National Toxic Substance Incidents

  • 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 Thu, 30 May 2024 13:48:52 from Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 29 Feb 2024 16:17:17 MST