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Ignite More: Healthcare Equity - Q&A with Dr. JaQuita Fields

The mission of Ignite More is to collaborate with thought leaders and change-makers to discuss tough issues affecting communities around the world. 3i’s quarterly Ignite More virtual panel series started during the 2020 lockdown, as a way to keep “do-gooder” discussions going. In 2022, Ignite More has evolved into a written interview series that gives our quarterly experts more time with the topic and less trouble with the scheduling. Without further ado, our Q3 topic: Healthcare Equity…

At a time when human rights are being reconsidered by the U.S. Supreme Court, and access to affordable healthcare is a luxury, health equity is struggling more than ever. This quarter, Ignite More interviewees will explore how healthcare equity is advocated for, created, implemented, and communicated across various organizations. Or in some cases, how it could be. Keep an eye out for more Q&As throughout the month of September.  

Ignite More: JaQuita Fields

JaQuita Fields, DHA, Sr. Provider Relationship Manager at VSP Vision Care

JaQuita Fields is a Doctorate in Healthcare Administration specializing in Health Advocacy. She has worked in various healthcare sectors within population health and vendor management, focusing on collaboration and quality of care. 

3i: How do you define health equity?

JF: To me, health equity is when everyone has the opportunity to receive the highest level of care without experiencing inequity due to health disparities, economic status, or systematic differences.

How does health inequity affect you personally and professionally?

JF: Currently working in the health care insurance sector, I see the disparities and offerings provided to various populations for vision and medical coverage. As I complete my day-to-day job task, I become emotionally drained, knowing that some underserved communities pay more insurance premiums than others. 

How does your organization strive for health equity?

JF: My current organization is intentionally creating a mobile health station to travel to underserved communities to offer health care at minimum to no cost. However, we recognize that this solution may not be feasible long term, but the goal is to provide education, awareness, and care throughout communities on the importance of eye health. 

How does health equity pertain to your role? 

JF: My current role is to ensure the members of my territory have access to vision care. If there is a barrier where the individuals that may or may not have our insurance can not access a provider, how can we alleviate the gap? My day-to-day task is identifying vision obstacles in rural, suburban, and urban communities. Then create recommendations on how our company can expand the network and offerings to these areas to improve their vision care.

What does health equity look like in an ideal world?

JF: In an ideal world, health equity looks like everyone has the resources to obtain quality health and well-being services regardless of demographics, race, economic status, or social affiliation.

How can communities contribute to a more equitable future in healthcare?

JF: Communities can contribute to a more equitable future by fostering collaboration, which can turn into shared values. These actions create a foundation for a more efficient healthcare system.

How do you communicate about health equity to your staff and community?

JF: I gather data that review population health for vision care throughout my everyday work. After collecting the data, I check the background of the communities, the current offerings, and if any of our initiatives will benefit the population by providing vision care access, 

What kinds of programs have you created?

JF: During the tenure of my career, I have helped initiate onsite clinics for various fortune 500 companies, educational toolkits on what preventive health means and how to gain access with or without coverage, and implemented coordination of care between family and health providers through palliative care initiatives, and most recently pop-up mobile clinics.

What resources do you use? Offer?

JF: I currently use various software my current employer uses to identify health inequities. However, before implementing programs or providing guidance, I research current offerings and programs to prepare a recommendation to help bridge health gaps. 

What results have you seen? Specific initiatives/examples?

JF: I’ve seen companies decrease their medical cost coverage by implementing initiatives around well-being for their underserved employee groups. For example, FedEx hub offers various shifts for their employees to work, but the times they go in or get off are before or after health facilities are available for health care. This resulted in health disparities within this sector of business. There was a rise in various underlying conditions that could have been avoided if preventive care had been established. Therefore, the onsite clinics were created to offer 24-hour preventive care services and other well-being programs like health coaching, nutrition, and a pharmacy. The initiative decreased insurance rates, and the employees and family members had access to care, creating more health and positive outcome for FedEx.

A current initiative was providing mobile vision clinics to rural and underserved communities that do not have vision care providers within 20 miles. The mobile unit provides the same preventive eye care service as a brick-and-mortar, except it is at no cost to members that do not have insurance. 

What do you recommend for other companies and communities to address healthcare inequities in America?

JF: I recommend that other companies analyze their employee well-being score to see how it impacts their employees, home, and communities. If a company can provide something like an onsite clinic, it benefits the employee and their families who may or may not have access to a healthcare provider. 

Insurance companies provide coverage to individuals at one set price and not a fee based on the company or how much money they will receive in return.

America should help reduce poverty by providing better-paying jobs to support families. Individuals are working 3-4 jobs to make ends meet. When they work, they cannot take time for themselves or their family, and not taking time for themselves can cause family health concerns that could have been avoided.

A huge thank you to Dr. Fields for her time and expertise! Check back next week for more on healthcare equity, and if you’re interested in contributing to this topic (or another one in the future), please send us an email: info@weare3i.com.

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