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Utilization of Free Health Clinics in Underserved Populations

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Title: Utilization of Free Health Clinics in Underserved Populations
Author(s): Kim, Christina D.; Kahn, Marium; Osunero, Theresa
Contributor(s): Notaro, Stephen J.
Subject(s): Free Health Clinics
Abstract: The number of uninsured people in the United States rose from 46 million in 2008 to an astonishing 50.7 million in 2009. This population is unable to seek medical care due to the decrease in employment-based health insurance and the increase in the cost of health care. Free health clinics are available in order to ensure access to health care by providing a safety net for underserved populations, ultimately decreasing health disparities among people of different socioeconomic statuses. The purpose of this study is to determine the demographic characteristics of the uninsured people who utilized the free health clinic and the purpose for their visits. Investigators gathered information from over 2,000 hand-written medical records to determine whether the demographic characteristics and health conditions of the uninsured differed from the general population. No predominate medical condition was observed. In addition to treatment for medical conditions, 1 in 4 patients came for a physical exam. This uninsured population had a significantly higher rate of smoking (P<0.01) and obesity (P<0.05) than the general population. This study adds to the literature by describing characteristics of a free clinic population and their medical conditions. While there was no predominate medical condition in this population, special attention is needed to the prevention of smoking and obesity among the uninsured. This research can contribute to the improvement of a health care delivery system that currently presents challenges in accessing care by low-income and uninsured populations.
Issue Date: 2011-04
Genre: Presentation / Lecture / Speech
Type: Other
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/25769
Publication Status: unpublished
Peer Reviewed: not peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-07-11
 

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