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Study: Lack Of Healthcare Prevents Longer, Healthier Living In Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A Drexel University study released Thursday concludes that a lack of healthcare is preventing longer, healthier living in Pennsylvania.

The study concludes the problem could get worse as the state's population ages.

Drexel University concludes that race, age and economic status are all barriers to healthcare in Pennsylvania. With 40 percent of the state's population 50 and older, Pennsylvania is aging. Many of these seniors lack computer skills, don't have internet and can't access telemedicine.

"We've got to look at this issue of broadband internet, access to technology and equitable access to care from the vantage point of what can we all do to ensure that every Pennsylvanian has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible," said Harrisburg University's Dr. Geoffrey Roche.

Besides that, many live in so-called pharmacy deserts, with limited access to medicines or vaccinations.

"There are pharmacy deserts across the states in both rural and urban areas. Each of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania have at least one pharmacy desert," said Dr. Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili with Drexel University.

As other studies indicate, poor, minority communities are hardest hit.

"Residents of these areas, live in rural areas, or are of minority status, poorly educated, and live in poverty and have a limited access to transportation," said DiMaria-Ghalili.

And the report stresses the importance of elderly Pennsylvanians living long and healthy lives.

"Our older Pennsylvanians provide care to grandchildren. They are trusted advisers to many. So, when we lose them, we lose a huge part of our community," said David Saunders with the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

They also say as Pennsylvania ages, these problems will get worse. They're urging Pennsylvania politicians to take action.

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