Emily Cheung October 7, 2019ASOC 341Documentary Analysis The film, The Providers, demonstrates the effects of social inequality and health disparities on the lives of individuals living in rural areas. This film takes place in New Mexico, where there are reoccurring health challenges such as lack of resources, lack of access to healthcare facilities, and lack of financial support programs. The film follows the narratives of different individuals and healthcare providers to portray the detrimental effects of the opioid epidemic on vulnerable communities. These issues do not only affect the individual involved with the crisis but also impacts the people around them as well. One of the narratives includes a man whose sister was arrested for her involvement in dealing opioids, and his father passed away due to the excessive amounts of drug usage. There were many reasons that an individual may resort to opioid usage and some of the cases included an escape from reality or a need for financial stability. While drug addiction is heavily emphasized upon, the lack of healthcare is the bigger challenge faced by these individuals. Those who live in isolated areas usually have to travel farther to seek medical attention, and still there may not be a sufficient amount of resources available to help them. An elderly woman who receives home visits from one of the nurses, is dependent on opioids to ease her chronic pain and even requested more opioids. Often individuals rely on this drug while others are trying to steer away from this drug. In the scene involving a woman who was a previous drug user, she sought help from a physician as she is now pregnant and wants to become drug-free in worry for the child’s future. With the increase in the cost of medical necessities, it is difficult for the patient and the clinic to acquire the technological resources needed.I believe that filmmakers made this film to draw attention to the social issues that revolve around those in low-income areas and those who have been isolated by society because they are typically receiving lower quality care. Since this clinic is free of charge for their patients, the funding is usually from government programs or insurance programs. Individuals who live in low-income communities may not have the highest quality of healthcare due to the low funding from insurance programs, lack of workers and outdated technology. These are critical issues that were also discussed in the articles, No Mercy: How Kansas Town is Grappling with it’s Hospital Closure and Rural Report: Challenges facing rural communities and Roadmap to ensure local access to high quality, affordable healthcare, which highlights the ongoing dangers of the individuals suffering in rural communities due to economic changes. The first article showed the effects of a hospital closing down in a small town in Kansas. These small towns are usually dependent on nearby clinics but since the patient population gradually decreased, this had a drastic financial impact on the hospital. Overall, the steady decline in patient volume played a critical role in the ability to sustain the hospital’s longevity. As a result of this, the closing of the hospital will lead to decreased medical attention, higher mortality rates, and staff unemployment. Most of the time, these hospitals do not have the ability to overcome these challenges because of limited resources. As mentioned in the reading, there is a decrease in individuals entering the medical workforce and to combat this issue the physician in the film outreached to high school students regarding potential medical professions in order to engage them in the field. These readings helped reinforce the ideas that were demonstrated in the film because we often forget about those who live in these situations exist and being aware of these situations prompts us to become better sociologists/critical thinkers. This is a still a prominent issue that reflects the social inequality that is occurring throughout the world. It would be helpful to know about the opportunities in which students can get involved with the hospitals in rural communities in efforts to prevent these institutions from banishing. In addition, concluding the film with a follow up on the current lives of the individuals that were interviewed would provide validating evidence to show how crucial these programs and interventions are to small communities. Fundamentally, this documentary ties into the larger issues that are present in reality, and as the inequality gap becomes larger there needs to be a greater assistance for those who do not have the capacity to receive holistic medical attention.
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