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Adapting the Chronic Care Model to Treat Chronic Illness at a Free Medical Clinic

This pilot project was designed to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of an adaptation of the chronic care model applied to uninsured patients in a free medical clinic staffed by volunteer physicians. Of the 149 enrolled patients, 117 had hypertension, 91 had diabetes, and 51 had hyperlipidemia. Patients were enrolled in a chronic disease registry from March 1, 2001 through September 30, 2002 at the Salvation Army Free Clinic (SAFC). Two part-time registered nurses served as care managers providing disease-specific management using evidence-based guidelines. Consistent specialty consultation was available via phone, e-mail, or physician visit. Patient self-management was encouraged through collaborative goal setting. There were 40 patients lost to follow-up; 109 completed the study. A clinically significant improvement was obtained in at least one chronic disease for 79 patients. The chronic care model was a useful template for the delivery of effective chronic disease care to a group of uninsured patients at a free medical clinic.

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