Providers of Primary Care to Homeless Women in Los Angeles County

Published in: Journal of Ambulatory Care Management, v. 25, no. 2, Apr. 2002, p. 53-67

Posted on on January 01, 2002

by Jeffrey Luck, Ronald Andersen, Suzanne L. Wenzel, Lisa Arangua, Dalia Wood, Lillian Gelberg

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Little is known about the access barriers homeless women face at the sites where they are most likely to receive primary health care. To investigate this issue, the authors administered a mail survey to administrators and clinicians at clinic sites that were actual or potential providers of primary health care to homeless women in Los Angeles County in 1997. The response rate was 65%. Ninety percent of the homeless women seen by responding sites were seen at only 34% of those sites (designated as major providers). Deficiencies were identified in several structural and process characteristics that enhance access to and quality of care for homeless women, including clinician training in care for homeless persons; formal screening for homeless status and associated risk factors; and on-site provision of comprehensive health services, including mental health, substance abuse, reproductive health, and ancillary services. Some, but not all, deficiencies were less severe at major providers. Their results suggest that, although providers of care to homeless women share challenges faced by many safety net providers, there are several policy interventions that could improve access to and quality of care for homeless women.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.