School of Medicine and Health Sciences Poster Presentations

Title

Building Referral Services at the Bridge to Care Clinic

Document Type

Poster

Keywords

student-run free clinic; safety net medical care

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Abstract

The Bridge to Care Clinic was started in March 2015 by the George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences student-run free clinic, the GW Healing Clinic, in partnership with the Prince George's County Health Department. It was originally created with the goal of connecting uninsured residents of Prince George's County to the health care system and providing short-term medical management to them with the hope of ultimately transitioning them to a stable medical home for long-term care. Throughout the first year of the clinic, it became clear that many of our patients could not easily be transitioned to a medical home due to their lack of insurance or ability to get insurance and often their undocumented immigration status. The Bridge to Care Clinic found that it could effectively manage patient's primary care needs, but the two largest referrals we needed to make were for imaging studies and for specialty provider consultations. There were several referrals that patients were told they would receive that were not possible to find despite extensive student efforts. While surrounding counties like Washington, DC and Montgomery County have medical safety nets in place to address these challenges, Prince George's County currently does not. The goal of this project was three-fold: (1) to complete a review of existing literature on building a referral system in the student-run free clinic setting, (2) to develop a model to guide the development of a referral network at the Bridge to Care Clinic, and (3) to work to integrate this model into clinic operations. Of the six possible referral network models outlined in the literature review, the Bridge to Care Clinic has the ability to build on the Tin Cup model, which relies on personal relationships and soliciting in order to find specialty services for patients. As a result, the Bridge to Care clinic has been working more closely with other safety net organizations in Prince George's County to understand how they deal with similar challenges in their community and to build long-term partnerships. We have also added further training and discussion in the clinic for our volunteers to help them more appropriately understand the healthcare setting that we are operating in and plan their patient care accordingly. Overall, this research allowed the Bridge to Care Clinic to more appropriately understand its limitations, to find unique solutions to its referral challenges, and to adjust patient care and patient expectations appropriately.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Open Access

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Comments

Poster to be presented at GW Annual Research Days 2017.

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Building Referral Services at the Bridge to Care Clinic

The Bridge to Care Clinic was started in March 2015 by the George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences student-run free clinic, the GW Healing Clinic, in partnership with the Prince George's County Health Department. It was originally created with the goal of connecting uninsured residents of Prince George's County to the health care system and providing short-term medical management to them with the hope of ultimately transitioning them to a stable medical home for long-term care. Throughout the first year of the clinic, it became clear that many of our patients could not easily be transitioned to a medical home due to their lack of insurance or ability to get insurance and often their undocumented immigration status. The Bridge to Care Clinic found that it could effectively manage patient's primary care needs, but the two largest referrals we needed to make were for imaging studies and for specialty provider consultations. There were several referrals that patients were told they would receive that were not possible to find despite extensive student efforts. While surrounding counties like Washington, DC and Montgomery County have medical safety nets in place to address these challenges, Prince George's County currently does not. The goal of this project was three-fold: (1) to complete a review of existing literature on building a referral system in the student-run free clinic setting, (2) to develop a model to guide the development of a referral network at the Bridge to Care Clinic, and (3) to work to integrate this model into clinic operations. Of the six possible referral network models outlined in the literature review, the Bridge to Care Clinic has the ability to build on the Tin Cup model, which relies on personal relationships and soliciting in order to find specialty services for patients. As a result, the Bridge to Care clinic has been working more closely with other safety net organizations in Prince George's County to understand how they deal with similar challenges in their community and to build long-term partnerships. We have also added further training and discussion in the clinic for our volunteers to help them more appropriately understand the healthcare setting that we are operating in and plan their patient care accordingly. Overall, this research allowed the Bridge to Care Clinic to more appropriately understand its limitations, to find unique solutions to its referral challenges, and to adjust patient care and patient expectations appropriately.