Established in 2005, the South Side Healthcare Collaborative (SSHC) is a network of more than 30 community-based health centers, free clinics and local hospitals that have come together to help South Side Chicago families and patients establish a long-term relationship with a regular doctor and get the health care they need in the right place. The mission of this network is to build ongoing relationships between South Side residents and primary care doctors to focus more on wellness and prevention, catch illnesses and health conditions earlier, and better manage chronic disease to reduce unnecessary and costly emergency room visits. The collaborative also works to improve access to other health and social support services that help maintain optimal health and well-being.
Community-based health centers offer comprehensive primary care services and a connection to a regular doctor. Many also offer dental, pharmacy and social support services. These underused resources form the core of the Collaborative, and are among the best options for regular and routine care.
As part of the network, the University of Chicago Medical Center has a group of specially trained and dedicated Patient Advocates in its emergency room. The Patient Advocates counsel patients who may seek routine care in the emergency room about the community health care resources on the South Side and link them to the network through appointments to a conveniently located clinic to help meet their ongoing health care needs.
In the first five years of the Collaborative, almost 27,000 patients were educated about the health care resources in the community and more than half of those patients have successfully connected to primary care doctors on the South Side.