Members of the Healthy Communities Cook County (HC3) Coalition have been working hard within their communities to strengthen and expand the Cook County direct access program known as Enhanced Carelink.
Enhanced Carelink allows low income, uninsured Cook County residents to access free or low cost care at any of Cook County Health and Hospitals System's (CCHHS) hospitals or clinics. Patients can proactively enroll (before they need to access health care services) and are assigned a medical home, given membership card and an enrollment handbook with services that are included in the program, and those who need it are provided with care coordination.
HC3 members have hosted town halls and other community events to educate eligible patients on the program and have collected extensive feedback on the enrollment process, which has been shared with CCHHS in order to improve the program. HC3 is meeting regularly with CCHHS to hear updates on the program, share feedback, and brainstorm ways to strengthen and grow the program.
Enhanced Carelink is currently confined to the 2 hospitals and 12 clinics of the CCHHS. These health institutions are a great place to start caring for all low income uninsured Cook County residents, but don't have the capacity to meet the need that exists. HC3 members have recently been working with Cook County Commissioners, CCHHS and other providers to work toward expanding the program to include more health providers. Our goal is to one day have a program that includes CCHHS hospitals and clinics, other non-profit hospitals, Free and Charitable clinics and FQHCS within the network, providing low cost, reliable care to patients in their communities.