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WMJ. 2004;103(7):56-60.

The Milwaukee General Assistance Medical Program: patient perspectives on primary care in an urban safety net.

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Center for Healthy Communities, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226, USA.



The General Assistance Medical Program (GAMP) is a managed care model that provides a network of services through community-based clinics and area hospitals. An evaluation of the program included patient focus groups to determine the effectiveness of this safety net.


Focus groups were conducted with patients at various hospital and community-based clinics. Researchers identified patterns and themes that emerged from the data.


The focus groups had the following themes: (1) eligibility and enrollment policies, (2) patient advocacy, (3) primary care access, and (4) patient recommendations for improving GAMP.


Patient feedback allowed for several improvements in the GAMP system, including an overview seminar and health education materials for new enrollees. Future research could include studying similar safety nets and public insurance programs to compare to GAMP. GAMP still faces many challenges as the "safety net" providing care to these populations in Milwaukee.

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