The Need is Real
More than 45 million Americans have no health insurance, and approximately 780,000 of those individuals live in Tennessee. More than 20,000 of Sumner County’s residents—about 13% of the county’s population—are uninsured.
The uninsured do not have access to ongoing healthcare. This group often depends on emergency rooms in area hospitals for primary care.
This is a costly and ineffective means of healthcare. Because uninsured individuals lack a personal physician relationship, chronic illnesses go unmanaged causing severe recurrences of the disease or condition which may result in more costly treatment and care.
“With the system that exists in America today, people are not automatically guaranteed healthcare,” points out Shelley Ames, Salvus Center’s Executive Director. Ames came to the project after 18 years of service at Hendersonville Medical Center, where she learned firsthand the plight of hardworking individuals who fall through the cracks of the healthcare system. “I saw a need for greater outreach,” she says.
A primary aspect of Sumner County’s health status is the prevalence of untreated chronic disease among the uninsured. Without the preventive care and disease management made affordable by health insurance, conditions like diabetes and heart disease go undetected and untreated until they reach crisis proportions. The uninsured become trapped in a cycle of emergency-room care, which drives up healthcare costs for all patients. As part of the solution, Salvus Center offers a model of affordable healthcare in a setting that fosters accountability and long-term relationships between patients and providers.