The Specialty Care Access Working Group addresses barriers to accessing specialty care for low-income persons in Denver. The 2010 Colorado Safety Net Specialty Care Assessment found that safety net clinics experienced great difficulties securing specialty care referrals for their patients, particularly for uninsured patients, but also for those with Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance. Barriers to accessing specialty care for Medicaid patients included the lack of specialists willing to see Medicaid patients, long wait times to see specialists, the lack of an adequate referral network for specialty care providers, the distance of travel to specialists, and lack of transportation for patients.
To mitigate problems associated with accessing higher levels of care, the Working Group is actively planning for the creation of a Specialty Care Referral Network to improve access to specialty care for uninsured and Medicaid patients. It is planned that the Network will be scaled up in the future to serve the Denver metropolitan area and beyond, to close an important gap in access to care in the region.