Utah has one the of the highest uninsured rates in the country, ranking 44th in 2012 according to a report out of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.
376,600 Utahns, or 13.2% of the population, were uninsured as of the end of 2012, according to the Utah Department of Health. While Medicaid expansion in Utah could provide health coverage to approximately 185,000 additional residents, there is a continued gap for many in our community.
Lack of health care coverage in Utah is particularly impactful for certain populations. According to census data, 35% of Latino children are uninsured in Utah, compared to 10.1% of all Utah children. In fact, the rate of uninsured Latino children grow by 10% from 2010 to 2012. A third of all uninsured children and adolescents in Utah live in Salt Lake County, adding up to more than 36,000 children without coverage in our service area.
Uninsured children are particularly vulnerable. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 young people are impacted by mental health problems at any given time and roughly 2/3 are not getting the help they need (Department of Health & Human Services), resulting in long-term skill deficits, school drop-outs, and increased risk for suicide, the third leading cause of death among youth aged 15-24.
While 50% of Americans will meet criteria for a mental disorder sometime in their life and 25% will do so in any given year, 1 in 7 will have severe forms of mental illness that are often incapacitating and frequently chronic or recurrent (National Comorbidity Survey, 2003).
Of the 110,000+ uninsured Utahns residing in Salt Lake County, more than 6,000 are in need of psychiatric services, but have little to no access without the Polizzi Clinic.
In fact, those who are uninsured and low income are twice as likely to have a psychiatric disorder when compared to the general population (Health Services Research, 2001).
The Polizzi Clinic only serves patients who cannot afford services elsewhere, providing a critical safety net that would not exist otherwise.