AccessHealth SC, a statewide effort that encourages and supports community-based networks of care, began in 2008 as way to bring together a broad range of healthcare providers and health-related resources to improve the care of uninsured South Carolinians. By leveraging resources and aligning services with a coordinated approach to care, AccessHealth networks serve as medical homes that provide ongoing access to services ranging from preventative and behavioral care to addressing chronic conditions and medication needs. Network partners can include hospitals, free clinics, certified rural health clinics, community health centers, physicians, medication providers, behavioral health providers and local health departments.
In 2017, 11 AccessHealth networks supported 30 counties and more than 12,000 people in South Carolina for at least six months, leading to dramatic reductions in emergency room visits and in-patient stays. A recent study by the Institute for Families in Society at the University of South Carolina found a 42% reduction in in-patient stays and a 37% reduction in emergency room visits once network participants enrolled in the program. The potential cost avoidance for these efforts is well over $20 million, meaning AccessHealth networks not only provide a better quality of life for uninsured South Carolinians, they also reduce the financial burden South Carolina hospitals face when it comes to uncompensated care.
“AccessHealth networks are a ‘big picture’ solution to the challenges that hospitals face in serving uninsured, low-income patients,” says Laura Cole, Population Health Manager at the South Carolina Hospital Association who directs AccessHealth SC. “By providing these patients with a medical home and leveraging resources in the local community, we can improve utilization of healthcare services, improve the patient’s quality of life, and enhance the health and well-being of our communities all across the state.”
For more information about AccessHealth SC, click here.