Background Paper

No. 79

The Primary Care Safety Net: Strained, Transitioning, Critical
September 28, 2010


Jessamy Taylor, MPP


This background paper examines the primary care safety net. It describes key primary care safety net providers, including federally qualified health centers, free clinics, local health departments, and safety net hospital outpatient departments and clinics, among others. The paper also explores the changing role of the primary care safety net in a post–health reform marketplace.

Related Materials

For additional information, see these related papers: "High Hopes: Public Health Approaches to Reducing the Need for Health Care" (Background Paper 78, September 27, 2010); "Governmental Public Health: An Overview of State and Local Public Health Agencies" (Background Paper 77, August 18, 2010) ; "Health Care Shortage Designations: HPSA, MUA, and TBD" (Background Paper 75, June 4, 2010); "Resilience and Renaissance: Efforts to Rebuild a Healthier New Orleans" (report on May 26–28, 2009, Forum site visit) ; and "Fundamentals of Community Health" ( Background Paper, August 31, 2004)

See also "Focus on Reform: Health Care Safety Net-Related Provisions" (Forum Session, July 16, 2010); "Transforming Health Care Delivery: Insights from the New Orleans Safety Net" (Forum Session, April 16, 2010); and "Oral Health Checkup: Ten Years After the Surgeon General's Report" (January 21, 2011).

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