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Post-Katrina New Orleans safety-net clinic patients report more efficient, affordable health care
Date:1/15/2010

New York, NY, January 15, 2010A new Commonwealth Fund survey of safety-net clinic patients in New Orleans finds that, despite being disproportionately low-income and uninsured, these patients had fewer problems affording care and fewer instances of medical debt and inefficient care than most U.S. adults. In fact, the report, Coming Out of Crisis: Patient Experiences In Primary Care In New Orleans, Four Years Post Katrina, finds that, among the clinic patients surveyed, only 27 percent went without needed health care because of cost, compared with 41 percent of adults across the country.

According to the authors, this shows that the post-Katrina primary care pilot programa system that relies primarily on a large network of local clinics funded by federal and local government, and given financial incentives to improve carecould serve as a national model for providing primary care to vulnerable groups.

"The health care safety net in New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, but that also presented an opportunity to build something new from the ground up," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "It's exciting to see the impact that a real focus on primary care can have on the health of this vulnerable population. I hope that the lessons learned in New Orleans will be considered as we seek ways to provide high quality, affordable health care for more Americans."

With New Orleans' major public hospital and adjacent ambulatory sites closed, in 2007 the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Service gave a grant to the state of Louisiana that supported a network of independent neighborhood primary care centers in efforts to increase access to care and develop an organized system of care. The Commonwealth Fund survey was conducted 18 months after the grant was awarded to assess the impact of the project on patients' access to care and experiences, and provide lessons for national and state leaders on the value of strengthening prim
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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