Socioeconomic factors—from poverty to food insecurity—affect not only health outcomes for individuals, but also the support that clinics receive to deliver quality care to vulnerable populations.
According to David Satin, M.D., member of the U’s family medicine and community health faculty, the two are closely linked due in part to how government agencies and health insurance programs rate clinics.
“Clinics serving our most disadvantaged patients rank worst on scores designed to measure quality,” says Satin. “As a result, funding to the poorest clinics is compromised because they have the appearance of providing poorer quality care.”
With Masonic support, Satin is partnering with Michael Scandrett, executive director of the Minnesota Health Care Safety Net Coalition, to “level the playing field” for clinics serving society’s most vulnerable patients. Together, they are working to capture the impact of socioeconomic factors on quality measures and equip various entities to account for these factors when evaluating and funding clinics.
So far, they have investigated quality measures for colorectal and cervical cancer screening and plan to incorporate other measures as their work progresses. Their ultimate goal is to create an index that will provide a more complete picture of vulnerable populations served by clinics and the support needed to provide quality care.
“Without Masonic support, this project would have been one of the best ideas that no one ever heard about.”