Evaluating Health Care Services for the Medically Underserved Residents of a Western Michigan Lakeshore Community
Providing health care to the uninsured is a growing problem in our country. Many different programs have been implemented nationally in an attempt to improve access to health care. A critical consideration is who will assume the financial responsibility in order to enhance the sustainability of health care services. The community at risk needs to evaluate the specific needs of the population in order to provide adequate access to care. Once a model of care is selected evaluation of services needs to take place.
The purpose of this dissertation was to evaluate care received in a free clinic for patient satisfaction and perceived increased access to health care services. The clinic population was the medically underserved residents of a western Michigan lakeshore community.
A community coalition was formed to address the lack of access to health care for medically underserved adults in this area. With the help of the local community hospital and a large charity organization, a pilot clinic was opened in the local health department one evening per week, managed solely by volunteer providers, nurses, and social workers. A literature review was completed and the evidence showed that the best model of providing care to this population needs to be one that incorporates community collaboration and financial sustainability.
Data collection tools included a utilization of health care services tool and patient satisfaction survey. The data were analyzed and presented to stakeholders.
Overall patient satisfaction was high. Additional observations of the clinic were addressed and recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the clinic were presented to the clinic director. The evaluation also revealed many other unmet needs of this population and community.