Bexar County health report details how economic factors impact health

SAN ANTONIO – The existing health disparities in Bexar County are obvious, according to a new report.

People living on the North Side have better access to health care compared to the West and East sides.

Now, community leaders are reviewing the 2022 Bexar Community Health Needs Assessment Report from the Bexar County Health Collaborative.

Deputy Director of San Antonio Metro Health Dr. Anita Kurian is one of many community health leaders reviewing the report from the BCHC. It details how economic and education disparities correlate to health issues.

“I think all of us need to look at improving factors upstream and that starts with our social, economic, social determinants of health,” Dr. Kurian said.

The darker areas on the map below have higher reports of Covid-19.

The health collaborative reported southern zip codes to have a higher concentration of confirmed covid-19 related illnesses.

Reported COVID-19 cases in each zip code across Bexar County in April 2022. (Provided by Metro Health)

“Your life expectancy is not determined by your genetics or your race ethnicity. It is by the zip codes where you live in,” Dr. Kurian said.

Compare that to the areas where most people have health insurance, the dark areas flip. The north is darker because more people are insured.

Insured populations across Bexar County. (Provided by Metro Health)

“These health disparities exist. We knew it does. You know, COVID exacerbated that,” Dr. Kurian said.

The report also shows how education levels can impact health.

Covid-19 cases and high school education zip code correlation. (Provided by Metro Health)

Zip codes with a higher proportion of people not finishing high school also had higher rates of covid-19 cases, data shows.

Dr. Kurian said people with less education were employed with companies with limited work-from-home options or limited paid time off, leading to more severe infection.

“Not that they wanted to, but they could not afford to take time off. So it’s very important that we seriously look at as a community, look at the paid sick leave policies in all of workplaces as well,” Dr. Kurian said.

The full report can be found here.

In addition, now is the time to enroll for insurance. Enroll SA is a nonprofit offering bilingual experts who can help people find an affordable plan.

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