Analysis of the demographic characteristics and medical conditions of the uninsured utilizing a free clinic

Stephen John Notaro, Marium Khan, Nina Bryan, Christina Kim, Theresa Osunero, Mary Grace Senseng, Megan Eiten, Kinnary Desai, Mohammed Nasaruddin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The number of medically uninsured people in the United States rose from 46 million in 2008 to an astonishing 50.7 million in 2009. This population is unable to seek medical care due, in part, to the decrease in employment-based health insurance and the increase in the cost of health care. Free health clinics exist to ensure access to health care by providing a safety net for underserved populations, ultimately decreasing health disparities among people of different socioeconomic statuses. The purpose of this study was to determine the demographic characteristics of the uninsured people who utilized a free health clinic and the purpose for their visits. Investigators gathered information from over 2,000 hand-written medical records to determine whether the demographic characteristics and health conditions of the uninsured differed from the general population. While there was no predominate medical condition in this population, special attention is needed to the prevention of smoking and obesity among the uninsured. This uninsured population had a significantly higher rate of smoking (P<0.01) and obesity (P<0.05) than the general population. In addition to treatment for medical conditions, 1 in 4 patients came for a physical exam. This study adds to the literature by describing characteristics of a free clinic population and their medical conditions. This research can contribute to the improvement of a health care delivery system that is challenged in providing access to medical care by lowincome and uninsured populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-506
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Community Health
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012

Keywords

  • Free clinics
  • Health care safety net
  • Primary care
  • Uninsured

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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  • Cite this

    Notaro, S. J., Khan, M., Bryan, N., Kim, C., Osunero, T., Senseng, M. G., Eiten, M., Desai, K., & Nasaruddin, M. (2012). Analysis of the demographic characteristics and medical conditions of the uninsured utilizing a free clinic. Journal of Community Health, 37(2), 501-506. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-011-9470-7