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The Alachua County Safety Net Collaborative (SNC) is committed to cooperating to meet the needs of the underserved in our community. Our collaborative formed partially as the result of the engagement efforts of the Mobile Outreach Clinic, ACORN, Helping Hands, RWHP and other founding members in response to the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) created by a community process led by the Alachua County Health Department. Individuals and organizations have self-selected to be involved in the SNC. We have been meeting monthly since the fall of 2012, apprising each other of our service provision, our clients’ needs, and ways we can share services. We advocate for one another, and provide capacity to one another.
~Although Alachua County is home to the University of Florida and UF Shands Hospital & Academic Medical Center, many community members experience limited transportation, access to food, health care, jobs and social services. In 1987, the Harvard Hunger Study ranked Alachua County as #97 of 150 “hunger counties” in the nation. This situation has changed little over the last 30 years and AC was described by the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment as a place with “marginalized communities with dire health needs, a lack of access to care and [where] health care and prevention are not priorities.”
Despite long-standing health disparities, Alachua County residents are fortunate to have a robust health care safety net that provides medical, oral health, behavioral health, education, advocacy and psychosocial services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured residents. The National Academy of Medicine (2000) defines the health care safety net as “those providers that organize and deliver a significant level of health care and other related services to uninsured, Medicaid, and other vulnerable populations.” They “are distinguished by their commitment to provide access to care for people with limited or no access to health care due to their financial circumstances, insurance status, or health condition” (Nat’l Assoc. Public Hospitals & Health Systems, 2005)~ -2017 Alachua County Community Resource Guide.
CURRENT AND UPCOMING SERVICES AND EVENTS:
We have been at hard work trying to make changes to better serve the underserved, starting in our community! Here are some projects we are currently working on:
- Create a patient survey to collect data about disparities and access to healthcare for the Community Health Improvement Plan
- Promote advocacy in health disparities
- Promote programs for affordable/subsidized housing
- Bring easier and cheaper access to healthcare by better connecting clinics to patients
- Make Gainesville more smoke-free
- Provide mental health first aid and increase mental health care
- Decrease the rate of homelessness
- Prevent chronic diseases