Goal:  Increase access to quality health care services

SAUP referrals graphicIn 2015 the Specialty Access for the Uninsured Program (SAUP) saw a continued increase in specialty care delivered in the safety net clinic setting – a more cost-effective option with high patient and provider satisfaction.  To date, the program has completed its goal of full implementation of 9 safety net clinic/health system ‘dyads.’  And, all adult health systems now  accept the safety net clinics’ determination of financial eligibility for specialty care.


  • 2,987 referrals for specialty care were made in 2015, with a 94% ‘show rate.’
  • 35% of specialty care was health system-based (top diagnostic categories: orthopedics, gastroenterology, pulmonology, cardiology and nephrology/hepatology)
  • 65% was provided at a safety net clinic location (most frequently for diabetic retinopathy screening)

By the Numbers

  • 510,472

    patient visits to safety net clinics in 2014.

  • 81%

    of Milwaukee’s high-risk schools are served by the Smart Smiles oral health program.

  • 28,876

    discounted medications have been provided since 2008 through prescription assistance programs

Anthony’s Story


Anthony was living at the Rescue Mission shelter in Milwaukee when he discovered a lump in his neck. He met with an outreach nurse visiting from St. Ben’s Clinic and was referred the clinic for further testing, where he found he needed to see a specialist.

But, Anthony was uninsured. He didn’t know if a specialist would see him.

Through the Partnership’s Specialty Care for the Uninsured Program (SAUP), Anthony was able to receive free diagnostic testing and saw an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist at Columbia St. Mary’s, who confirmed that the lump was cancerous. As heavy as the burden was, Anthony was grateful that despite his homelessness, he could get treatment through SAUP.

Facing a challenging course of care, Anthony was able to reconnect with family and with a renewed relationship with his father, was able to to complete his treatment — which included 35 radiation treatments and two rounds of chemotherapy — and entered remission.

Dr. Tom Jackson of the Bread of Healing free clinic is a member of the Partnership’s Clinical Council and was instrumental in the design of SAUP. “The Partnership, and especially the SAUP program, is a unique collaborative effort among traditional competitors who have worked together to improve care and fragmentation. We have learned a great deal about process improvement and removing barriers to care, across the community.”