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Health Team

Partnership to Help Uninsured Get Health Care

Posted March 27, 2007 4:26 p.m. EDT
Updated March 27, 2007 5:57 p.m. EDT

— Three Raleigh hospitals and other health-care organizations on Tuesday announced a joint effort to provide care for uninsured people.

The Capital Care Collaborative will include WakeMed, Rex Healthcare and Duke Raleigh Hospital, along with Wake County Human Services, the Wake County Medical Society, Wake Health Services Inc., Alliance Medical Ministry and Urban Ministries of Wake County's Open Door Clinic. The partnership is designed to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and match more patients with primary-care physicians.

A Web-based program for sharing patient information will coordinate care among the different health-care providers a patient might visit. The program also will determine which patients qualify for state or federal reimbursement programs such as Medicaid or for charity care programs.

"We're going to increase access to health care for the uninsured. We're going to reduce duplication of services. We're going to positively impact the financing solutions for health care of the uninsured," said Dr. Susan Weaver, president of the collaborative and director of Alliance Medical Ministry, a clinic that serves uninsured patients.

North Carolina ranks 10th nationally in the percentage of people without health insurance. About 20 percent of Wake County residents lack health insurance, officials said.

Members of the Wake County Medical Society formed the Capital Care Collaborative last April. Long-term goals involve helping provide for mental health needs and improved access to prescription drugs, officials said.

The Web-based program could, for example, allow health-care providers to collect information about patients' prior medical history and medications prescribed by other caregivers, which would improve the safety and quality of care delivered, the organizers said.