The availability of free or low-cost clinics can have a major influence on access to healthcare for underserved populations in Atlanta, Georgia. According to Kirby and Kaneda (200), people living in more impoverished areas tend to have worse access to healthcare and poorer health outcomes. To tackle this issue, the federal government has created Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to provide primary care services in underserved areas. The Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta has partnered with local public schools to motivate young people to pursue studies in science, engineering, mathematics, arts, and medicine.
Additionally, the ICTF program in Georgia pays many hospitals to offer medical care for free or on a sliding scale to low-income individuals. A recent study examined changes in access to and utilization of healthcare among participants in a public housing relocation program. The results showed that while some participants experienced improvements in access and utilization after relocation, others experienced a decrease. The study also found associations between major enabling factors and changes in participants' access to and utilization of healthcare. This article is the first in the series “Listening to Low-Income Patients”, which is based on qualitative research to describe different problems affecting their health, such as the quality of health care, community, and mental health and addiction.
In conclusion, free or low-cost clinics can have a considerable impact on access to healthcare for underserved populations in Atlanta, Georgia. The ICTF program is an important step towards providing medical care for those who cannot afford it. Furthermore, the Morehouse School of Medicine is helping to encourage young people to pursue studies in science, engineering, mathematics, arts, and medicine. Finally, research has demonstrated that there are associations between major enabling factors and changes in participants' access to and utilization of healthcare.