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June 1994

The Larimer County Children's Clinic: A Public-Private Partnership to Provide Medical Care to Indigent Children

Author Affiliations

From the Children's Clinic, Fort Collins, Colo.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148(6):572-577. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1994.02170060026004

Objective:  To describe a unique collaboration between private and public entities to provide comprehensive health care to medically indigent children in rural Larimer County, Colo.

Setting:  The Children's Clinic, Fort Collins, Colo.

Study Participants:  Uninsured children and those eligible for Medicaid, living in families with incomes below 150% of the federal poverty level.

Selection Procedures:  Eligible patients have been enrolled in the Children's Clinic on a first-come, first-served basis.

Interventions:  A community collaboration involving an interactive system with the Children's Clinic staff, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, private primary care and subspecialty physicians, ancillary health providers, and the family practice residency program at Poudre Valley Hospital, Fort Collins. Funding for this endeavor has been composed of city and county funds, public and private grants, community business support, and local fund-raising efforts, as well as Medicaid reimbursements.

Measurements/Main Results:  Since 1989, comprehensive pediatric care has been provided to a growing number of eligible children. At present, 3619 children, aged birth to 18 years, from 2230 families are being served. From this population, there were 8945 office visits to the Children's Clinic, 1392 patient contacts by the clinic social workers, 1287 visits to the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment for well-child care, 543 referrals to subspecialists and other community health care providers, and 615 after-hours visits to the Poudre Valley Hospital emergency department between July 1, 1992, and June 30, 1993. The clinic's professional staff consists of 2¼ full-time pediatric care providers, one nurse, one medical social worker, one receptionist, and one administrator, with an expenditure of $356 471.

Conclusions:  The Children's Clinic collaboration has provided comprehensive pediatric health care to a population that previously received only fragmented care. The next step is to assess the impact of this program on the frequency of emergency department visits for these patients.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994;148:572-577)