Medill Reports presents a story on community health centers in Chicago that try to fill access-to-care gaps for people too sick to get health care coverage or too poor to afford other care.
"Community health centers … are private, non-profit operations that fill a gap between for-profit health systems and free public health clinics. There are 36 of these federally qualified health centers in Illinois. Financial support comes from federal funds, Medicare, Medicaid, state programs, private insurance and philanthropies." Illinois community health centers served more than 1 million patients in 2008.
Many function as a "medical home" model of care — which serves as a sort of patient home base — that attract talented doctors. Health centers can face challenges when referring patients to specialty care, which "isn't an option" for federally-qualified centers. And the nearby Cook County health system often has long waiting lists (Sullivan, 3/8).