NHM Health Focus: Help Close the Health Gap
Take a Loved One for a Checkup!
Each year the third Tuesday in September (this year it is September 19) is celebrated as "Take a Loved One for a Checkup Day." The purpose of the event is to remind us all to encourage others to see a health professional or make an appointment to see one in the near future.
One way to make such a visit both comfortable and productive is to know what to say to your health professional. "Your Doctors and Nurses: What to Ask Them and What to Tell" in the Pocket Guides to Good Health, available for adults and children provide some guidelines. These and a companion guide Pocket Guide to Staying Healthy at 50+ are available in Spanish and in English.
Research has shown that many individuals need to be motivated to seek out regular health care. While most people wait until there is an emergency before they go see a doctor (Health care professionals understand the value of preventive care), Take A Loved One for a Checkup Day is an excellent way to screen individuals, and where necessary, refer them for follow-up care. (Office of Minority Health, HHS)
Health in the United States is not the same for all. For example:
You can help someone who hasn't seen a health provider recently get a checkup. You might provide transportation, help make an appointment, assist with babysitting, or give other support so that someone, who otherwise would find it difficult to do so, can visit a physician or other health provider for a checkup.
Or, if you haven't had a checkup in a while, make an appointment for yourself. If they (or you) don't already have a doctor, or don't have health insurance, use the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) resources to contact your local community health center or local health department to ask about free or low-cost care. If you have insurance and don't use it, there is no better time than now.
If you need assistance finding a health provider, call 1-800-444-6472 and ask to speak to one of the HHS information specialists.
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has the following resources addressing these health issues:
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