206527 Serving the Uninsured: Conducting a Baseline Assessment to Measure the Success of A Local Safety Net in Providing Access to Care

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:30 AM

Beth Newell , Alameda Health Consortium, San Leandro, CA
Luella Penserga, MPH , Alameda Health Consortium, San Leandro, CA
Free and low-cost care for low-income uninsured is delivered through a patchwork of local “safety net” providers: public health departments, public hospitals, community health centers, community organizations, family planning clinics, mobile van programs, private hospitals, and physicians. Services for the uninsured are financed through limited and fragmented local, state, and federal revenue streams.

Community health services planning and policy development is hindered by difficulties in developing a macro-level view across fragmented safety net provider organizations. In Alameda County, California, safety net providers collaborated to address this challenge by conducting a baseline assessment of primary care services to the uninsured, with 2007 as the baseline year. This assessment quantified the number of uninsured being seen across different provider organizations and measured the safety net's capacity through specific indicators such as wait times for primary and specialty care appointments. In addition we present a gap analysis of insurance coverage, safety net expansion needs, and workforce shortages. In the baseline year, approximately 196,000 were uninsured, with more than half accessing primary care through the local safety net. To expand health services to the remaining un-served uninsured population, Alameda County would need to expand the workforce by 95 primary care physicians, with additional mid-levels, specialists, and other health care workers. Moreover, the baseline presents two methods of quantifying the financial resources needed to extend either full insurance coverage or primary and specialty care delivered through the safety net to this population.

Learning Objectives:
1. Design a framework for conducting a safety net capacity measurement 2. Differentiate categories of various safety net providers 3. Identify and evaluate local, state, and national data sources for measuring safety net capacity and the demand for safety net health services 4. Explain methodologies for conducting a gap analysis to inform local system planning.

Keywords: Community Health Planning, Safety Net Providers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: n/a
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.