A History of Safety Net Health Care in New Orleans, 2005-2017 Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • February 26, 2019
  • Holcomb, Emma
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management
  • On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, leading to devastating flooding of much of the southeast of the state, including New Orleans. The flooding devastated New Orleans’s safety net health care system, closing Charity Hospital, the city’s major provider of uncompensated and Medicaid care, permanently. Between 2005 and 2017, major restoration of the safety net health care system has occurred through a combination of federal funding initiatives and community-based health care movements. Safety net health care in New Orleans is now delivered through a loose network of private nonprofit community-based health centers.To understand the change from a centralized public hospital-based safety net care system to a decentralized private system, I built a history of the safety net health care system in New Orleans by systematically analyzing a variety of primary and secondary source documents about health care sites that provided care regardless of ability to pay in New Orleans over a time period of 2005 to 2017. I organized these sources by date and mapped the existing health care sites at the points of August 2005, October 2006, December 2010, and December 2017, to demonstrate the change in the number and location of such sites.This history revealed that availability of health care sites in New Orleans, both before and after Hurricane Katrina, has been a result of funding choices at the state and federal level. It also highlights the importance of the community in building sustainable community health care for all within their own neighborhoods, and provides lessons for other areas looking to transition to community-based safety net health care. The history of safety net health care in New Orleans is incomplete, but through community commitment and dedicated funding, care for the most vulnerable in New Orleans continues to improve.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Bender, Deborah
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health
Academic concentration
  • Health Policy & Management
Honors level
  • Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2018
  • English

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