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Availability of Safety Net Providers and Access to Care of Uninsured Persons

October 2004
Health Services Research, Vol. 39, No. 5
Jack Hadley, Peter J. Cunningham

Shorter distances to the nearest safety net provider increase access to care for the uninsured. Expanding the safety net-establishing new community health centers, opening new public hospitals and subsidizing more private hospitals that provide care to the uninsured-would increase the number of people that live near a safety net provider and, therefore, increase their access to care. However, the improvements in access by being closer to a safety net provider are relatively modest when comparing the uninsured to those with Medicaid or private insurance coverage. The results indicate that even when the uninsured live near a safety net provider, there are still considerable disparities in their access to care compared with people with insurance.

Free access to this article is available at the Health Services Research Web site.


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The Center for Studying Health System Change Ceased operation on Dec. 31, 2013.