Physicians Needed to Provide Specialty Care to Uninsured Patients Through Metro Care, WyJo Care – from KC Medicine, the Journal of the Kansas City Medical Society
Nearly 175,000 people in the Kansas City metropolitan area—8.4 percent—are uninsured.1 That means when a medical crisis arises, they are likely to have to delay care or take on potentially crippling debt.
You can help meet this need by donating a few hours a month to the Medical Society’s charitable care programs, Metro Care in Missouri and Wy Jo Care in Kansas. Both programs operate under the Kansas City Medical Society Foundation.
Often, those without health insurance are working in one or more low-wage jobs without health benefits. They earn too much to qualify for government programs such as Medicaid, but not enough to afford health insurance and meet essential needs for food, clothing and housing.
Joe suffered from chronic hip pain and was concerned about his ability to continue working. He did not have health insurance through his employer. His family physician referred him to Metro Care which connected him with Robert Haas, MD, and Liberty Hospital. He received a hip replacement with no out-of-pocket expense. He returned to work. “Metro Care, Dr. Haas and Liberty Hospital gave me my life back,” he said.
While Kansas City has a network of safety-net clinics for primary care, the community relies largely on the donated services of individual physicians for specialty care. Metro Care and Wy Jo Care are designed to help meet this need.
Physicians who donate services through Metro Care and Wy Jo Care have the peace of mind of knowing their commitment to community service will be managed in an organized way.
- Patients are referred to the programs by safety-net clinics and individual primary care physicians. Participating specialists also can refer patients.
- Each participating specialty care physician pledges a number of new charitable patients they will accept.
- Metro Care and Wy Jo Care serve as a centralized entry point for referrals. They assign patients on a rotating basis, so cases are distributed evenly within specialties.
- Patients are pre-screened for eligibility before being referred to the specialist.
- The programs continue to help coordinate care throughout the case. Program staff will schedule the patient’s first appointment, then can help connect patients with ancillary services and tests if needed. The programs also can facilitate additional assistance such as medical interpreters.
- Area hospitals have been generous in their support of Metro Care and Wy Jo Care patients.
- Medications typically are funded through assistance programs available from safety-net clinics.
Metro Care and Wy Jo Care have four basic eligibility standards:
- Must be resident for at least three months of Clay, Platte or Jackson counties (Metro Care), or Johnson or Wyandotte counties (Wy Jo Care). Service in north Kansas City is coordinated with Northland Health Care Access.
- Family income of less than 200 percent of federal poverty level
- Have no health insurance
- Not eligible for any government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, VA or workmen’s compensation
For more information about becoming a charitable care volunteer through Metro Care and Wy Jo Care, contact Natalie Lynch, provider relations director, at 913-526-8231, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mid-America Regional Council website. www.marc2.org/healthdata
MetroCare, WyJoCare Success Stories
For the past several years, Oscar had been living with pain in his right knee. He is uninsured and did not have the resources to find a private doctor for his knee problem. Swope Health Wyandotte, where Oscar receives primary care, referred him to Wy Jo Care to see a specialist. Wy Jo Care arranged for interpretation at his appointments before, during and after surgery. Wy Jo Care also helped to coordinate care along the way. Oscar said, “I want to thank the Wy Jo Care program and staff from El Centro for having supported me for my surgery on my right knee, helping me cover the cost of the surgery and medicine. I give thanks to the surgeon and his team; may God bless you and shower you with blessings.
Maria was facing an emergency as her uterus had prolapsed, leaving her in pain and discomfort. Wy Jo Care provided care coordination and arranged for medical interpreting. Over the next few months, Maria had two operations and many follow-up appointments. After her final appointment she said, “Estoy mucho major!” (I’m much better!)
Learn more about Kansas City Medical Foundations Charitable Care – in KC Medicine, the Journal of the Kansas City Medical Society.