Community Health

How will the Affordable Care Act Affect Where 20+ Million People Receive Health Care?

Online Project launched to Provide Perspectives from Leaders of Nonprofit Safety Net Health Centers and Clinics on Frontlines of ACA implementation

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—As millions of people across the country attempt to gain insurance access under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Direct Relief today released, “Voices of the Healthcare Safety Net,” a project that surfaces the perspectives of the healthcare providers at the nonprofit community health centers and clinics who are tasked with implementing healthcare reform and who are most experienced at caring for people with few means.   

Listen to Voices of the Healthcare Safety Net here.

During August and September 2013, Direct Relief interviewed healthcare providers on the front lines of America’s safety net to understand how providers perceive the ACA will affect the health of people within their communities.  The providers – profiled from all parts of the country, from large institutions and small, and in areas with dramatically different populations and healthcare challenges – share a wide range of perspectives on the most pressing issues facing them today: Medicaid expansion, the health insurance exchanges, reimbursement, access, and how to provide care to undocumented people.

The perspectives of the healthcare providers are shaped by their communities and the circumstances under which they operate.  From a small free clinic in New Jersey to a large health center in Reno, Nevada, each interview offers a firsthand account of how one of the most significant pieces of legislation in history is affecting communities across the country.

These providers already play a critical role in providing access to primary healthcare services to more than 1 in 15 people in the United States, and their role is expected to become even more important to achieve the goals of increasing access as the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.

“The most informed, thoughtful views are not always delivered in the loudest voice or even heard in the din of vigorous debate,” said Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief President and CEO. “These leaders’ voices, experienced and reflective of the breadth of circumstances that exist on the frontlines of the healthcare safety net, describe the strong influence of place and the differences in circumstances that exist, and we think they are very important to hear.”

The interviews included in Voices of the Healthcare Safety Net grew out of Direct Relief’s extensive daily interaction with health centers and clinics nationwide, and the interviews are complemented by information about the facilities’ size and location published on tools developed by the mapping software company, Esri.

This ongoing project will continue to capture the voices of the U.S. health care safety net as healthcare reform continues to unfold.

Direct Relief has a unique perspective on America’s nonprofit safety net facilities as the only U.S. nonprofit organization licensed to distribute prescription medications in all 50 states and its management of the country’s largest charitable medicines program, which provides medications and supplies to more than 1,100 nonprofit clinics and health centers for patients with low incomes and without insurance

About Direct Relief

Direct Relief is a leading medical relief organization, active in all 50 states and in 70 countries, and the only nonprofit organization licensed to distribute prescription medications in all 50 U.S. states. Direct Relief supports more than 1,100 nonprofit health centers and clinics across the U.S. in emergencies and on an ongoing basis by providing free medications and supplies for people in need. It is among the largest privately funded medical aid organizations in the world, and annually earns top charity ratings, including four-star and “top-notch” rating from Charity Navigator, and a 99% fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes magazine. For more information visit

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