South Side Health Collaborative holds forum to help residents find primary care 'home'

South Side Health Collaborative holds forum to help residents find a primary care 'home'

November 8, 2005

Anyone from the South Side of Chicago who is concerned about access to healthcare is invited to attend a forum to be held at the DuSable Museum of African American History on Tuesday, November 15, 2005, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Hosted by the South Side Health Collaborative, the forum is designed to help those who live in the community--but do not have a medical "home"--connect with primary care providers in their neighborhoods.

A recent study by researchers in Chicago and Minneapolis found that patients who were seen in hospital emergency rooms were often unable to arrange timely follow-up appointments at local clinics. Even patients with private insurance were unable in one-third of cases to get an appointment within one week.

Without adequate follow-up care, many patients wind up back in the emergency room--a costly, inconvenient, and ineffective way to deliver healthcare.

This forum is designed to help many of the 600,000 residents of the South Side link up with some of the 300 primary care physicians and the more than two-dozen Federally Qualified Health Clinics in their neighborhoods.

It will feature a panel of experts on primary healthcare, including family practice specialist Michele Walker, MD, from Access Community Health Network; Bonnie "Pete" Thomas, MD, medical director of Project Brotherhood at the Woodlawn Health Center; and Theresa Anderson, RN, MSN, CEN, family nurse practitioner at the University of Chicago Hospitals.

Michelle Obama, vice president for community affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals, will serve as moderator.

The South Side Health Collaborative is a partnership, supported by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, which is devoted to improving access to quality healthcare for the uninsured, underserved, and special needs populations.

The Collaborative pulls together 13 Federally Qualified Health Clinics, two social service organizations, private physicians, and the University of Chicago Hospitals. Its goal is to help patients find a medical home, enabling them to build a lasting relationship with a primary care physician in their neighborhoods.

Since the program began in January 2005, members of the Collaborative have interviewed more than 12,000 patients who came to the emergency room at the University of Chicago Hospitals for care because they did not have a regular physician. They have helped more than 1,000 patients connect with a primary care provider, often making an appointment for follow-up care before the patient leaves the ER.

The forum is free and open to the public. Limited free parking is available at the DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Place. There will be children's activities, dinner, and a complimentary participation incentive. Those who are interested should call (773) 702-5600 to register.