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Federal Aid Strengthens Health Care Safety Net
Communities with Well-Established Safety Nets Benefit the Most
FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
ASHINGTON, D.C.—An infusion of federal funding has helped many communities expand services and strengthen linkages among health care safety net providers, according to a study released today by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC).
Two federal initiatives—community health center (CHC) expansion and Community Access Program (CAP) grants—have improved access to care for low-income people and increased coordination among CHCs and other safety net providers, especially hospitals, the study found. However, communities with weaker safety nets were less likely to receive federal aid.
"To some degree, communities with strong safety nets were in a better position to win grants—its a case of the strong getting stronger," said Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D., president of HSC, a nonpartisan policy research organization funded principally by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The studys findings are detailed in a new HSC Issue Brief—Federal Aid Strengthens Health Care Safety Net: The Strong Get Stronger. The study by John F. Hoadley, an HSC consulting researcher from Georgetown University, HSC Research Analyst Laurie E. Felland and HSC Research Assistant Andrea Staiti is based on HSCs 2002-03 site visits to 12 nationally representative communities: Boston; Cleveland; Greenville, S.C.; Indianapolis; Lansing, Mich.; Little Rock, Ark.; Miami; northern New Jersey; Orange County, Calif.; Phoenix; Seattle; and Syracuse, N.Y.
Ten of the 12 HSC communities—except Little Rock and Syracuse—received CHC expansion and/or CAP grants. CHC expansion grants focus on adding preventive and primary care services at new or existing health centers, with a goal of increasing the number of patients treated annually at CHCs from about 10 million in 2001 to more than 16 million in 2006. CAP grants are designed to enhance collaboration among safety net providers and improve coordination of existing inpatient and outpatient care for uninsured and underinsured people.
Other key study findings include:
The Center for Studying Health System Change is a nonpartisan policy research organization committed to providing objective and timely research on the nations changing health system to help inform policy makers and contribute to better health care policy. HSC, based in Washington, D.C., is funded principally by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is affiliated with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.