Nearly one million Ohio residents have reported they do not have a family physician that they regularly see for illness. The 2010 Ohio Family Health Survey suggests that there were two major reasons so many go without this family doctor.
Waiting rooms and appointments is no ones favorite thing but Doctors from Marietta Memorial Hospital say skipping out on a family doctor and regular visits could be putting you at risk-- for the future.
"From vaccinations for children, and vaccinations for adults, and monitoring many things that impact our health care over our lifetimes," explains Marietta Memorial Hospital Doctor and Director of Hospital Medicine, Dr. David Casto. "Blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol, all those things need to be followed very carefully and by doing that we'll be healthier and will save money in the long run as well."
The survey suggests that almost half of the one million say they do not see the importance of a family doctor and many have reported they visit the Emergency Room when sick. Doctor David Casto says the ER is meant for serious injuries that need that level of care... also noting the co-pay is much higher for the ER.
He explains a regular doctor can provide the relationship as well as preventative care.
"You need someone who knows you and your family so when you get sick, you make that call, you're talking to someone who knows you well," says Doctor Casto.
Another one-third of those who responded to the survey said they were unable to afford regular visits. The Washington County Job and Family Services says the process to apply for free health insurance for lower income families has become much easier.
"I think a lot of people don't realize that it is so simple anymore, I think that think they still have to come in for an interview, you know, you have to report everything," says Supervisor of Washington County Jobs and Family Services, Candy Nelson. "The only thing we're asking for is income... we aren't look at the resources or children, you know we aren't looking at those kinds of things."
Officials with the program say everything for applying for the insurance can be done online and over the phone. They explain there is nothing to lose by applying and after the application is in... the work is done. Also at Marietta Memorial they say there are programs at the Hospital making it possible for low income families to make these visits.
"Those unable to pay for their office visit there are ways for us to work with them understanding what their insurance is, and if they don't have insurance we can work on a sliding scale basis just to help them with that," explains Doctor Casto.
Those with Marietta Memorial Hospital say they regularly do surveys throughout the community to be sure they are meeting the needs of those who need a doctor to see on a regular basis and they also provide a physician referral line to help people find the right doctor for themselves and their family.
Marietta Physicians Referral Line: 740-568-5241
To apply for Health Insurance through The Jobs and Family Services visit:
odjfsbenefits.ohio.gov or wcdjfs.org