Low Literacy and Health Care

The problem of adult low literacy is far-reaching.  The impact on health care is overwhelming.

    • Adults with low-level reading skills may not be able to read medical directions, health-related literature or prescription labels.
    • Understanding a doctor’s orders, calculating how much medicine to take, reading disease-prevention pamphlets — all are ways adults can keep themselves and their families healthy. But millions of adults lack these essential health literacy skills, which adds an estimated $230 billion a year to the cost of health care in the U.S.
    • Chronic health conditions may worsen when not properly monitored causing frequent doctor or emergency room visits, hospitalization or even death.
    • Michigan would save more than $750.2 million in health care costs over the lifetimes of each class of dropouts had they graduated.

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