Specialists – Doctors Care appeals to you to care for the most vulnerable
Since its establishment 30 years ago by Arapahoe Medical Society physicians, Doctors Care has served as the non-profit safety net clinic for south metro Denver, providing high quality affordable primary medical care to the uninsured and underserved, regardless of ability to pay.
Until a few years ago, Doctors Care operated a program that connected uninsured adult patients requiring specialty care with a large network of specialty care providers in the community who were willing to care for those patients on a sliding-fee-scale basis. Doctors Care is immensely grateful to those physicians who have worked with us, providing excellent specialty care to those uninsured patients.
Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, the combination of Connect for Health Colorado and Medicaid expansion significantly reduced the number of uninsured in our state. While this was an important step in improving health access for the medically underserved, we are encountering a new and expanding crisis of patients who have “coverage but no care,” particularly related to specialty consults and visits.
Would you be willing to see one or two patients a month?
Many Doctors Care patients needing specialty care find themselves without specialty care. In response, Doctors Care is reaching out to specialists, asking you to walk alongside us once again in caring for these patients in our community. Would you be willing to see one or two patients a month? Or even one patient every couple of months?
Many specialty practices have closed to new Medicaid patients other than those that come through hospitalizations or established referral physicians. Reasons are practical and understandable, often with concerns about potentially overwhelming numbers of patients coming in to practices at Medicaid reimbursement rates, and the complex social and economic barriers to care that exist for some underserved patients.
Here's what you can expect
We respect these concerns and want to minimize any challenges to providing specialty care for Doctors Care patients. Medicaid patient referrals from Doctors Care are different from other sources because of their experience working directly with a patient population charged with complex issues. In addition to the satisfaction of participating in a group providing a needed community service, when a specialist agrees to accept referrals from Doctors Care, they can expect the following:
- Absolute control over number and type of patients they will accept.
- Doctors Care providers obtain any requested pre- or post- appointment studies.
- Well established Patient Navigation and Care Coordination services address non-medical barriers to care and assist patients in being accountable and reliable.
- Patients have coverage necessary to complete additional evaluation and treatment recommended by specialist.
- Patients are seen earlier in their disease process rather than presenting for specialty care only after progressing to the point of ED visit or hospitalization.
In return, our doors are open. We are happy to accept Medicaid or uninsured patients in your practice who need primary care and want to designate Doctors Care as their PCP. Adults up to age 50 can be seen at the Doctors Care Clinic, and health navigators assist patients over age 50 in establishing primary care in associated practices. In addition to high quality medical, dental and behavioral health care, patients at the Doctors Care Clinic can receive the wide range of care coordination and social support services that make Doctors Care unique.
Our plea is simple – please consider collaborating with Doctors Care in accepting a limited number of referrals for much-needed specialty care for our patients. We are in particular need of specialty referrals for Orthopedists, Neurologists, Urologists and Endocrinologists, but would love to hear from others as well. Doctors Care takes the main barriers to seeing Medicaid patients away, leaving you to focus on their specialty care alone. If you are interested in partnering with Doctors Care, or would like additional information please contact me, Liz Herr, MD at eherr@DoctorsCare.org or 720-458-6122.
Posted in: Colorado Medicine