Serving the Underserved

An Evaluation of the First Year of Montgomery Cares

by Carole Roan Gresenz, Janice C. Blanchard, Nicole Lurie

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This report summarizes findings from the first year of a planned five-year evaluation of the Montgomery Cares initiative, a Montgomery County, Maryland-funded program designed to provide basic health care to low-income, adult uninsured county residents through financial support to community clinics. The authors’ findings: Patients are predominantly minority women with significant health needs. The number of patients seen increased 25 percent and the number of patient visits increased 12 percent after program implementation. Although satisfaction with the care provided at the clinics is high, room for improvement exists in the availability of translation and bilingual services. Among the authors’ recommendations are improving patients’ access to a live voice at the end of the telephone line; increasing the availability of appointment slots and minimizing wait times for an appointment; sharpening providers’ attention to potentially underdiagnosed conditions; making complete and accurate data collection a priority; and ensuring that patients receive guideline-appropriate preventive care and recommended care for chronic conditions.

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