Methodist in the Media

Access to Care Is Biggest Barrier to Healthy Living in Southwest Iowa

Published: Sept. 9, 2022

When reporting for a recent series of articles, it quickly became apparent that what’s killing people in southwest Iowa is not only medical conditions like heart disease and cancer, but a lack of access to health care.

When asked why mortality rates in southwestern Iowa are higher than the national average, each of the doctors interviewed for these articles named residents’ inability or unwillingness to seek medical care until symptoms become so troublesome that they’re often forced by concerned family or friends to finally schedule an appointment with a primary care physician or visit an emergency room.

“I see a lot of stoic people,” said Dr. Robert Armbruster, a cardiologist at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Hospital. “The man I just met here this afternoon, he never comes in, you know. They’re just kind of a stoic crew sometimes. And it’s either the family that prompts them or the wife, the daughter, etc., grandchild even, that prompts them to seek attention.”

The Daily Nonpareil: Access to care biggest barrier to healthy living in southwest Iowa