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Acad Med. 2012 May;87(5):651-5. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31824d5269.

The crimson care collaborative: a student-faculty initiative to increase medical students' early exposure to primary care.

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  • 1Crimson Care Collaborative, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


The current shortage of primary care physicians (PCPs), particularly as more individuals obtain health insurance and seek primary care services, is a growing national concern. The Crimson Care Collaborative (CCC) is a joint student-faculty initiative in post-health-care-reform Massachusetts that was started with the explicit goal of attracting medical students to primary care careers. It fills a niche for student-run clinics, providing evening access to primary care services for patients without a PCP and urgent care services for patients of a Massachusetts General Hospital-affiliated internal medicine clinic, with the aim of decreasing emergency department use in both groups. Unlike other student-run clinics, CCC is integrated into the mainstream health care structure of an existing primary care clinic and, because of universal health insurance coverage in Massachusetts, can bill for its services. In addition to the clinical services offered, the student-run research team evaluates the quality of care and the patients' experiences at the clinic. This article describes the creation and development of CCC, including a brief overview of clinic operations, social services, research, laboratory services, student and patient education programs, and finance. In the wake of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, CCC is an example of how students can aid the transition to universal health care in the United States and how medical schools can expose students early in their training to primary care and clinic operations.

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