Massachusetts clinics are busy.
Community health centers in Massachusetts saw a significant
increase in their patient load from 2005 to 2007, as the state
implemented its health reform law, according to a study from the Kaiser
Family Foundation. The 34 federally qualified clinics, which provide
comprehensive primary care for low-income and uninsured patients, served
482,503 patients in 2007, up more than 51,000 from 2 years earlier, the
foundation reported. The state's reform aims at universal coverage,
but many people remain uninsured. Although the number of health center
patients lacking insurance declined, the clinics in 2007 cared for a
much larger proportion (36%) of the state's uninsured population
than before. The experience in Massachusetts shows that community health
centers play a critical role in caring for newly insured patients while
continuing to serve as the primary safety net for those who remain
uninsured, the report concluded.