Many hospitals struggle with how to get patients to see a primary-care physician rather than visiting the emergency department (ED) for nonemergency ailments, and Palmetto Health is no different. Six years ago an idea came to life at Palmetto Health that would provide a healthcare delivery system specifically for low-income, uninsured residents of Richland County, SC. In November 2001 Richland Care began as a comprehensive solution to provide healthcare to the uninsured in Richland County and provided a way to lessen the bottleneck in the ED. The Richland Care model is a medical home network and consists of the following services: 1. primary care, 2. pharmaceuticals, 3. specialty care, 4. hospital care, 5. mental health and substance abuse, 6. disease management, 7. identification of users, and 8. educational materials. Through June 2007, Richland Care has touched the lives of nearly 12,000 people, which is approximately 34% of the target population. Richland Care is not the solution to the uninsured situation, but it is a solution. It is a solution based on community partnerships.
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