Flip No. 61

Pre-screen Patients to Improve Voucher Deployment

Identifying patient needs ahead of appointments at a free clinic allows for better utilization of resources for care delivery

By Durham Lab Participants

Developed at Flip the Clinic Lab: Durham

For people in need of specialty care but without the funds or insurance to cover the services, clinicians are often provided with vouchers for care delivery. In theory, these donated vouchers are a wonderful way to get important medical care to the people who need it, however, the system for reimbursing them has a tragic flaw. Because of the way the system is run—vouchers are dispensed quarterly, creating a “save this just in case” mindset before use, and one voucher is exchanged for one patient’s care visit, creating an imbalance of voucher value for varying levels of care need—vouchers go unused or are not used with the clinician who would provide the most help to a specific patient case. Those in need are falling through these gaps and specialists aren’t recovering the costs they could for caring for these patients which results in specialists withdrawing their support for the free clinic program.

One simple pre-screening call, which reverses the flow of the standard pre-appointment system—would serve as a powerful tool to make the most out of existing vouchers. If a clinic were to connect with patients in need first, they could preload access to vouchers and ensure that the right patient is seeing the right specialist. More people in need receive access to care, and with a little more information on the front end, both patients and specialists will get more out of their visit experiences.


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