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

ary care for vulnerable patients.

When the authors compared the 2009 survey of patients in 27 New Orleans health clinics to findings from The Commonwealth Fund's 2007 Biennial Survey, a nationally representative survey of the general population, they found that clinic patients were less worried about affordability overall. In fact, half of clinic patients (49%) reported they were confident they could afford needed care if they became seriously ill, compared with only 30 percent of adults in the general population. Medical debt was also less of a concern for clinic patients, with 34 percent reporting medical bills or debt problems compared to 40 percent in the U.S. overall. Unpaid medical bills were also a far greater problem among all U.S. adults than among clinic patients (28 percent vs. 18 percent).

Clinic patients also received care that was more efficient than the U.S. norm. According to the report, only 4 percent of clinic patients reported duplicate medical tests, or that medical records or test results were unavailable at their appointment, while overall, 34 percent of U.S. patients experienced such problems. Clinic patients also had more confidence in the health care systemthree-quarters said they would be very confident in their ability to get high-quality and safe medical care; in contrast, only 39 percent of all U.S. adults were very confident that they could get high quality and safe care.

Additional Findings From The 2009 Commonwealth Fund Survey Of Clinic Patients In New Orleans:

  • 88 percent of patients found it is easy to get same or next-day appointments when sick, to access medical advice via telephone or during regular practice hours, or to get after-hours care (in the evenings, on weekends or on holidays).

  • 79 percent of patients reported exceptional communication with their doctors and 85 percent said that their health needs are "very well" met in the clinics.

  • Adult
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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