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Stethoscope and cutout of people figures Across the country, both public and private health insurance programs are launching large initiatives aimed at improving health by helping patients with unmet social needs. (Photo: Shutterstock)

PHILADELPHIA — When doctors at a primary care clinic here noticed many of its poorest patients were failing to show up for appointments, they hoped giving out free rides would help.

But the one-time complimentary ride didn’t reduce these patients’ 36% no-show rate at the University of Pennsylvania Health System clinics.

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