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Perspectives of Health Care Services among Free Clinic Patients in the USA: A Qualitative Study

The United States (US) is the only developed country which does not have universal health insurance. Free healthcare clinics are operated largely by volunteers for the purpose of providing healthcare services to populations who are under- or un- uninsured in the US. Few qualitative studies have been conducted on patient experience and satisfaction at free clinics and, of those that do exist; most have been administered through focus groups. Thus, the purpose of this study is to explore perceptions and satisfaction among patients at a free clinic using a qualitative approach. Free clinic patients (N=649) participated in a survey with one open-ended question asking about their perceptions of the free clinic in 2017. This study analyzed the qualitative data from the openended question only. On average, the participants responded as being grateful and satisfied with the services provided by the free clinic. However, participants felt that they would benefit from further continuity of care and a higher number of medical providers, as well as more specialists. Future services to be modified or added, as indicated by the participants, include a greater variety of class times for health education and exercise classes, as well as the addition of urgent care services. To improve patient satisfaction, it is recommended to increase promotions for volunteer opportunities in addition to more training. Furthermore, it is necessary to give patients better access to referrals to community resources that offer the additional services that they are interested in.


Noelia Juarez , Emely Puerto, Darbee Hagarty , Mary Stoddard , Shannon Weaver, Samin Panahi, Jeanie Ashby and Akiko Kamimura

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