Having Someone in Their Corner Helps TB Patients Negotiate System

Old Disease, New Challenge: Tuberculosis in the 1990s

From 1994 to 1997, Bellevue Hospital, New York, formed a coalition with five community-based organizations to screen for tuberculosis infection and disease in the community and provide appropriate patient management services.

The coalition agreed on a plan to share responsibility for screening and medical supervision among Bellevue and the community-based organizations.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national program Old Disease, New Challenge: Tuberculosis in the 1990s.

The coalition hired five community liaison workers who played a critical role in the project. Each worker was assigned to one of the community-based organizations. Their role was to navigate, on behalf of the patients, and negotiate systems both at agencies and at Bellevue.

Key Results:

  • Bellevue Hospital opened three satellite clinics at community-based organizations, and hopes to open more in the next few years.
  • Community-based organizations offered food coupons were offered as an incentive for having a chest x-ray after having a positive skin test, and client response was enthusiastic.
  • In 1995, the program was selected for "Honorable Mention" in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Bureau of Primary Care—Models that Work competition.