The Business Case for Charity Care

Chris Pokabla, MD

Memphis has significant challenges in delivering healthcare. Our medical community is often times  under-staffed and under-resourced.   Our population has a high percentage of uninsured patients.

Here are some representative statistics:

  • 112,000 people in Shelby County are uninsured
  • 17% of working-age adults are uninsured
  • Many patients are on waiting lists up to 10 months  forcritical specialty care

We have great community resources including Christ Community Health Services, Church Health, Cherokee Health, and  other safety net clinics. We now have  Project Access West Tennessee , which seeks to increase access to specialty care for the uninsured population. Each of these institutions work independently, sometimes collectively, and with a host of other agencies to impact access to healthcare .

Care is often fractured and there are difficulties in coordination.  Another challenge is the magnitude of the problem. But, these problems present an opportunity as physicians to help the uninsured patient population.

It’s important to  talk  about how  time consuming and sometimes onerous these issues can be . Let’s discuss potential solutions and ways we can contribute to provide the needed care for our underinsured community.   

Email your thoughts to me at ccummins@mdmemphis.org.