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July 1995

Volunteer Low-Risk Outpatient Surgery for Uninsured Patients in San Francisco: The Ambulatory Surgery Access Coalition

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco (Dr Schecter), the Departments of Surgery (Dr Schecter) and Nursing (Ms Burik), San Francisco General Hospital, the Department of Surgery, Kaiser Foundation Hospital (Dr Grey), The Ambulatory Surgery Access Coalition, Inc (Mss Caldwell and Elder), Weissburg and Aronson, Inc, (Mr Neumann), and Strategic Health Care Planning, Alexander and Alexander Consulting Group (Dr Hofmann), San Francisco.

Arch Surg. 1995;130(7):778-780. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430070100020

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Objective:  To provide uncompensated elective low-risk outpatient surgery for uninsured patients through a coalition of volunteer physicians, nurses, and hospitals.

Design:  Description of the process of establishing the Ambulatory Surgery Access Coalition (ASAC), the political and administrative obstacles encountered, and the clinical results of treatment of the first 25 patients in the pilot project.

Setting:  The ASAC includes the Kaiser Foundation Hospital, San Francisco, Calif, the University of California, San Francisco, the San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH), the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Consortium of Community Clinics, the Northern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, and the San Francisco Medical Society. A pilot program of uncompensated outpatient surgery was performed at the Kaiser Foundation Hospital.

Patients:  Twenty-nine patients were referred to the ASAC between january 1 and November 1, 1994. Twenty-six patients were judged to be candidates for surgery, and 25 patients met the criteria for the ASAC program. One patient was referred to SFGH for treatment because of a perceived increased risk for hospitalization after surgery.

Results:  Twenty-one patients underwent herniorrhaphy; three, excision of large inclusion cysts; and one, anal fistulotomy. Seventeen procedures were done under local anesthesia, seven under general anesthesia, and one under spinal anesthesia. None of the patients required hospital admission. No wound infections occurred.

Conclusion:  The ASAC successfully provided uncompensated low-risk outpatient surgery to 25 low-income uninsured patients in San Francisco. The coalition hopes, first, to include other San Francisco hospitals and surgical specialties, and second, to serve as a model for other communities throughout the country.(Arch Surg. 1995;130:778-780)

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