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February 2, 2005

Ability of Community Health Centers to Obtain Mental Health Services for Uninsured Patients

JAMA. 2005;293(5):550-556. doi:10.1001/jama.293.5.554-c

To the Editor: Federally funded community health centers (CHCs) in 8 southeastern states provided comprehensive primary care services to 2.3 million patients in 2003. Forty-six percent of these patients are uninsured, 66% have family incomes below the federal poverty level, and 60.5% are ethnically African American, Hispanic, or Latino.1 Based on anecdotal reports of access problems, we conducted a survey to assess the ability of CHC clinicians to obtain specific mental health services for their uninsured patients.