Michael K GUSMANO, Gerry FAIRBROTHER and Heidi PARK : Exploring the limits of the safety net : community health centers and care for the uninsured

Published in Health Affairs, Vol 21, Issue 6, 188-194

This paper explores the extent to which community health centers (CHCs) are able to manage their uninsured patient caseloads. We found that CHCs can provide primary care, medications, and medical supplies to most of their uninsured patients on site but are limited in their ability to provide diagnostic, specialty, and behavioral health services. Uninsured patients often fail to receive additional services for which they are referred, and it is much more difficult for CHC physicians to arrange specialty or nonemergency hospital care for their uninsured patients than for their insured patients.

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