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Emily Quiney ACF Abstract FY12

"Evaluating Access to Health Care Services for the Medically Underserved Residents of a Small Lakeshore Community in West Michigan"

2012 Midwest Nursing Research Society (MNRS) Research Conference: Onnovative Transition Care Models

Background: Providing health care to the uninsured is a growing problem in our country. Many different programs have been implemented nationally in an attempt to alleviate access to care for the uninsured including community clinics, free clinics, mobile health clinics, and nurse-managed centers. Before a solution can be reached, each community at risk needs to evaluate the specific needs of the population in order to provide adequate access to care. Factors involved in this decision are demographics, number of uninsured, specific health care needs, and modes of transportation available in the community. In addition, a critical consideration is who will assume the financial responsibility in order to enhance the sustainability of the health care services.

Purpose: To evaluate care received in a free clinic to determine if there is satisfaction perceived improvement in access to health care services for the medically underserved residents of a small lakeshore community in western Michigan.

Methods: A community coalition was formed to address the growing problem of lack of access to health care for medically underserved adults in this area. With the help of the local community hospital and a large charity organization, a pilot clinic was opened in the local health department one evening per week, managed solely by volunteer providers, nurses, and social workers. A literature review was completed evaluating what has been done in similar communities to address the limited access to health care for the medically underserved. The evidence shows that the best model of providing care to this population needs to be one that incorporates community collaboration and financial sustainability.

Results: This project took place from September 2011 through January 2012. Data collection tools included: a utilization of health care services tool and patient satisfaction survey developed by the Michigan Academic Consortium (MAC). Modifications of the original survey, developed by the MAC, were made based on the type of care provided in the free clinic. The data was analyzed and presented to characterize the status of patient satisfaction and utilization of health care services as it relates to clients being seen in the free health clinic.

Conclusion: Through the translation of evidence to this community initiative, access-patient satisfaction and utilization of health care services, was improved for this population.