What's New | August 27, 2014
Enhancing Primary Care Access and Capacity
Underserved communities often lack adequate access to primary health care services, increasing the risk of poor health outcomes. High demand for services can result in primary care clinics taking on large numbers of patients, leaving limited time for patient visits; many clinicians do not have the time or resources to connect vulnerable patients to the social and support services they need.
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The featured Innovations describe three programs that enhanced access to primary care. One program embedded community health workers in clinical teams to help low-income patients navigate the health care system and obtain appropriate clinical and community-based services; a second used information technology to attract more primary care providers in underserved rural areas, improving patient access; and the third profile describes State legislation that increased primary care capacity in underserved communities by designating them “health enterprise zones,” thus making them eligible for financial and technical support.
The featured QualityTools include a guide to building a community "HUB" to promote collaboration, accountability, and improved outcomes for at-risk patients; a tool kit for training community health workers to help high-risk patients achieve individualized health goals; and a Web site that provides evidence-based resources about the medical home and its potential to improve the quality, safety, and effectiveness of primary care.
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