Formerly Uninsured in San Francisco Can go to Private Hospitals

July 29, 2008

Efforts to help the uninsured receive care and sign up for existing coverage plans has progressed in San Francisco.

The 25,000 people who have enrolled in Healthy San Francisco, an effort that began a year ago to guarantee care to the uninsured, have received treatment at 27 community clinics for their primary care needs and at San Francisco General Hospital. But some of those patients now will be sent to private, nonprofit hospitals in the city, easing some of the stress on San Francisco General, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Communities are taking steps to address the issue of the uninsured through innovative programs such as Healthy San Francisco," says Henry Loubet, senior vice president, Keenan and Associates, a full-service employee benefits consulting firm in Torrance, Calif.

Healthy San Francisco "demonstrates that through a public/private partnership based on collaboration along with a willingness and desire to address the multi-faceted issues associated with serving the uninsured that strides can be made to improve healthcare delivery to this population and hopefully lower the numbers of uninsured San Franciscans," according to Loubet.

"Given the state of California's recent failed attempt to reach agreement on comprehensive health reform of which the uninsured was the centerpiece of the legislation, the public and private sector need to come together to develop joint programs like this to make a difference," he continues. Loubet hopes that other hospitals will follow suit. "However doing it in isolation in the absence of an innovative reform like Healthy San Francisco will effectively limit any benefit to such efforts," he believes. "To be effective, it requires a partnership like Healthy San Francisco to realize tangible benefits in serving the uninsured and reducing the numbers of uninsured."