Offerring Health Care Services To Low-Income, Uninsured US Residents

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AP/USA Todayon Tuesday examined efforts by health officials and specialistsnationwide "to address glaring disparities in U.S. health care"by expanding health screenings and lifestyle education programs toplaces where uninsured and low-income residents most often gather. Anumber of states are conducting education programs for barbers andbeauticians to help them teach their clients about stroke symptomsand the importance of screenings, while many churches are hostingblood pressure exams and health education fairs.

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The MedicalCollege of Wisconsin in a partnership with ColumbiaSt. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee recently launched a nine-monthstudy to determine whether chronic disease management servicesoffered at food pantries can improve the health of patrons, accordingto AP/USA Today. The $450,000 charity-sponsored projectwill continue for three years and will target common chronic ailmentsincluding diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. It aims to offerscreenings to 2,500 patients.

Patients will be required topay for a part of the services and medications, and those who areseriously ill will be referred for advanced care. Jim Sanders of MCWsaid that for $4 or $5, patients can receive a month's supply oflow-cost generic hypertension or cholesterol drugs. Health careofficials also will register qualified patients for Medicaid andother health care programs, AP/USA Todayreports.

Georges Benjamin of the AmericanPublic Health Association said, "The most importantprinciple here is going where the people are," adding, "Thereno reason you can't do immunizations there, no reason you can't donutritional counseling there. ... It makes a lot of sense"(Neergaard, AP/USA Today, 12/25/07).

Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Health Policy Report, search the archives, andsign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report ispublished for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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