Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, 2022 Community Benefits

Access to Specialty Care for the Uninsured–A Coordinated Approach

With 5-10% of Milwaukee County residents uninsured at any point in time, Milwaukee’s health systems have sponsored free clinics and worked closely with Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs) and other community clinics to weave a stronger safety net of care for low-income and vulnerable individuals. While these safety net clinics can provide primary care to uninsured patients, access to specialty care remained a challenge.

Through the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, the four Milwaukee health systems—Advocate Aurora Health, Ascension Wisconsin, Children’s Wisconsin and Froedtert Health—established the Specialty Access for Uninsured Program (SAUP) to create a barrier-free, coordinated process to provide much needed specialty testing and treatment for uninsured patients. 

SAUP improves efficiency and effectiveness of care between health partners, and offers timely, managed, and clinically appropriate access to specialty care for more than 21,000 uninsured patients who are established in a primary care medical home at one of Milwaukee’s eleven participating safety-net clinics. The result? In 2021 alone, the three adult health systems have guided more than 1,500 referrals for specialty services – from cancer treatment to vascular surgery!

20-year-old Haydee visited her community health center to remove a simple cyst on her forehead. When the results were positive for Lymphoma, Haydee didn’t know what to do. She was uninsured and scared. Through SAUP, Haydee was able to see an oncologist and get treatment. She was so grateful, a few years later after graduating college Haydee returned to work at the hospital where she received care.