The number of Johnson County residents without healthcare was a growing problem in the early 1990s. A significant number were not receiving insurance from their employers and could not afford it on their own. Despite Johnson County's robust economy, people were falling through the cracks.
Families were forced to make tough decisions - pay for health insurance or pay the rent. At the time, Medicaid was mainly for children, so adults needing care often waited until they were so sick that a trip to the Emergency Room was imminent. Mandated by law to provide care, hospitals passed the cost on to taxpayers.
"It's really the same problem we have today - people couldn't afford insurance," said Jeff Ellis, a founding board member and two-time president of the Partnership board of directors and past board president of UCS. "The adult indigent load at hospitals was growing and costing all of us money. We said, 'Let's try to get some primary care to keep people healthier and get them care when they need it.'"