The South Side community, made up of nearly one million people in 34 neighborhoods, has a critical need for quality health care. With high rates of diabetes, asthma, hypertension and other chronic conditions, regular access to primary care is crucial. The Urban Health Initiative’s (UHI) founding principle is to ensure that community residents have access to quality primary health care. A critical step to receiving quality health care is helping patients find a regular doctor at a place where they can establish a primary care relationship.
Patients who do not have a regular physician miss the opportunity to receive preventive care, early detection of conditions and prompt treatment. Diseases appear and even worsen due to the absence of a regular doctor. This leads to episodic care often sought in an emergency room. Through the Urban Health Initiative, patients need not rely on emergency rooms as the provider of choice.
The South Side Healthcare Collaborative, a program of UHI, is a group of clinics and hospitals working together, and the Initiative’s cornerstone effort to connect community residents and emergency room patients with physicians. These clinics and hospitals provide preventive care, regular treatment for non-emergent health problems, long-term management therapy of chronic disease, and referrals to specialists.