Coordination Of Health Care Services
May 7, 2005
By OSHRAT CARMIEL, Courant Staff Writer
Hartford Mayor Eddie
A. Perez announced Friday a plan to coordinate the city's health
care institutions in a way that, he says, would make it easier
for uninsured patients to seek health care.
Called the "Healthy Communities Initiative," the plan
calls for the city's hospitals and community health centers to
communicate better, have a single computer network that tracks
patient care, and offer a universal "Health Care Safety
Net Access Card" that would help the uninsured feel that
they are part of a health care network.
The program would not offer insurance to the 27,000 that the
mayor estimates are uninsured in the city. But supporters say
that better coordination among the health care providers that
already exist in the city, and who routinely treat the uninsured
who come through their doors for care, can improve the quality
"When you can't find the dollars [for insurance], you find
it through efficiency. You find it through savings," said
Michael Sherman, chief executive officer of Community Health
Services, a community health center on Albany Avenue.
Of the 16,000 patients that Community Health Services treats,
one in four is uninsured, Sherman said. Right now, there is not
a network between Community Health Services and, for example,
Hartford Hospital, to see whether those patients are getting
duplicate, and costly, care at both sites.
Sherman said having a network would correct that, and the savings
realized would help improve health care for and outreach to the
The mayor's initiative also calls for having professional medical
translators at health care sites as a way to overcome the language
barriers that exist between medical providers in the city and
many of the uninsured who seek care.
The initiative is just a blueprint for now, but it has the backing
of key health and health-related institutions in the city, including
St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hartford Hospital, the
Aetna Foundation and the Hispanic Health Council.
The mayor and representatives from those groups said Friday
they will seek money from federal and local grants.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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