Podcast Series: Georgia’s Health Safety Net
I am pleased to share with you a series of brief podcasts featuring the vital work of Georgia’s health safety net. Prepared by Philip Graitcer for Healthcare Georgia Foundation, the podcasts tell the story of patients and providers at Grady Health System, Good News Clinics, and Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council.
Throughout Georgia, there is an informal network of clinics and hospitals that provide health care to those who don’t have health insurance, or can’t afford to pay - people who typically wouldn’t be treated in the our current health care system. Georgia’s health safety net keeps the poor and uninsured from falling through the cracks of our fragmented and overburdened health care system.
There are more than 1.7 million Georgians - nearly one person in five - who need the health safety net for their health care - many more than can be served by the clinics and hospitals that provide free or reduced cost care.
But Georgia’s health safety net is a patchwork of providers that depends on volunteerism and good will. Its financial resources are strained. Geographic distribution of the providers is uneven. Every part of the safety net is burdened by an increasing budget shortfall and patient load. Yet, they continue to be the “first in and last out” in our current crisis in health care. Click here to view a map of Georgia’s free clinics.
The need for the health safety net will continue until all Georgians have access to a health care system that can provide for their care, regardless of their ability to pay.
Gary D. Nelson, PhD
President, Healthcare Georgia Foundation
Click on the links below to learn more about Georgia’s health safety net.
Grady Health System Since the beginning of the recession, Grady Hospital has seen 67-thousand uninsured patients - patients who have never been in the Grady system before. Besides straining the budget, this influx of patients have swamped emergency department personnel. Grady hospital is trying to redirect some of those patients to other clinics to redirect overcrowding. Listen (right-click on the link to download the MP3 file)
Good News Clinics (Gainesville) Another aspect of Georgia’s Health Safety Net are free, or volunteer, clinics. There are about 100 of them in the state - all staffed by volunteer physicians, dentists, and nurses. No charges are made for patient care, and many of the clinics have become the lifeline and medical home for those working poor who can’t afford insurance. Listen (right-click on the link to download the MP3 file)
Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council Although safety net clinics are located throughout the state, they don’t have the capacity to provide health care to all Georgians who need them. In Chatham County, where there are five safety net clinics and two hospitals, the Chatham County Safety Net Planning Council is trying to coordinate efforts of the health care providers in the safety net. Listen (right-click on the link to download the MP3 file)