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Misplaced Compassion?

Woman treated in clinic

I have the great privilege of visiting over 20 migrant and community health centers every year. I am consistently impressed with the quality and dedication I see among health center clinicians. As a rule, clinicians working in federally funded health centers are individuals who highly value compassionate primary care. There are times however, when I see misconceptions among clinicians about what best serves the clinic and in turn, the patients. A common problem I see is clinicians undercoding a patient visit because he or she thinks that this will help the uninsured patient to pay less for that service. While this is very well intentioned, the trouble is that undercoding undermines the ability for health centers to document the true extent of their populations’ need. Without that documentation health centers have a much harder time raising funds that in turn help those patients most destitute. Is this an issue you see in your health center? If so, have you done anything to address it?