For the past five years, since graduating residency, I have worked as a family physician at Chicago Family Health Center, a federally qualified health center with 6 clinic sites on Chicago’s South Side. We have been featured in a CBS News Report about how the expansion of health insurance through the Affordable Care Act will impact community health centers.
CFHC is at the frontlines of healthcare coverage expansion. Many of my patients have been uninsured. Now, with the Affordable Care Act, the previously uninsured patients who are American or documented immigrants can get coverage–most through Medicaid expansion, some through subsidized plans on the exchange. We got $6 million in money from the Affordable Care Act to build a new facility to expand our capacity to meet the needs of Chicago’s South Side population.
Will it be enough?
The CBS report asks:
Will the previously uninsured patients choose to stay with us, rather than seeking doctoring someplace else? (from my personal experience, so far–patients like to come see us without or with health insurance!)
Will the previously uninsured people who never before were our patients decide to seek care now that they have health insurance–and will we be able to see all these new patients? (from my personal experience, so far–yes, they will come, and maybe we can see them. People are seeking care, and we are really overloaded! We’re short on healthcare providers on the South Side. We need loads more people to see loads more patients, and the doctors who are here are threatened with burnout).
I’m proud to be working at a place that can make a difference in so many lives. And I’m concerned about the ongoing challenge of seeing all the patients who need to be seen.
What about you? Any newly insured folks reading this blog? How’s your experience been so far?