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Health Care Access For Low-Income People: Significant Safety Net Gaps Remain

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Publication Date: June 2004

Publisher(s): Center for Studying Health System Change

Author(s): Laurie E. Felland; Suzanne Felt-Lisk; Megan McHugh

Series: Issue Brief No. 84

Topic: Health (Quality of health care)

Type: Brief

Abstract:

Despite signs that low-income and uninsured people's access to primary health care services has improved, serious gaps in care exist, especially for specialty physician, mental health and dental care, according to the Center for Studying Health System Change's (HSC) 2002-03 site visits to 12 nationally representative communities. Key factors contributing to these gaps in the safety net include declining private physician and dentist involvement, changes in funding and facilities, and more people in need. Community leaders have developed a variety of innovative strategies to add specialty, mental health and dental services but could benefit from more support from state and federal policy makers.