Centro San Vicente, helping El Pasoans stay healthy
August 13, 2015
El Paso, TX – As part of National Health Center Week, Enroll America today recognized Centro San Vicente for their work to help low income and medically-underserved communities get the care they need, educate the community about their health coverage options, and enroll the uninsured in quality coverage.
National Health Center Week aims to create awareness of health center programs and the invaluable work they do in communities across the country to ensure Americans at every income level can get access to affordable health care. Enroll America and Centro San Vicente have partnered to expand access to in-person enrollment assisters to help the uninsured find a plan that fits their needs and budget, and due in part to their work, more than 55,000 El Paso County resident have enrolled in quality, affordable health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
“Centro San Vicente’s work has made them a true cornerstone of their community and a trusted resource to uninsured El Pasoans,” said Mimi Garcia, Texas State Director for Enroll America. “Thanks in part to their hard work, we’ve seen a dramatic decline in the uninsured rate in El Paso. But we know there’s more work to be done, and we’ll continue our efforts across the city to ensure that affordable health coverage becomes a way of life in El Paso.”
Centro San Vicente is a nonprofit health center that provides adult primary care, pediatrics, dental care, behavioral health services, OB/GYN, health education and immunizations among other services. During the second enrollment period that ended last spring, Centro San Vicente partnered with Enroll America in several enrollment events where Centro San Vicente’s bilingual Certified Application Counselors provided application assistance to El Paso residents seeking health insurance.
“We’re proud to work alongside Enroll America to empower our community and help everyone access quality care and health coverage,” said Dr. José Luna, CEO for Centro San Vicente. “Centro San Vicente plays a critical role in the lives of many low income El Pasoans, and they should know that Centro San Vicente is here to help them get the care they need. With the help of Enroll America, we’re going to continue providing high quality, low cost care to whoever in our community needs it.”
According to the National Association of Community Health Centers, over 22 million people nationwide use health centers as their medical and health care home, and that number is rapidly growing. 72% of people who use health centers live at or below the federal poverty level, tend to be members of minority groups, and more than 75% are either uninsured or have coverage through Medicaid.
Health centers are especially critical because they remove barriers that may cause a patient to be unaware of their treatment options, not seek treatment for an illness or injury, or make it impossible for them to seek treatment altogether. For instance, community health centers are open to all residents regardless of their insurance status, offer transportation and other services to make accessing care easier, and are located in identified high-need areas with higher poverty levels where fewer physicians practice.
“Health centers are often the only resource people have to get information about their health and the treatment they need,” said Mimi Garcia. “Without Centro San Vicente’s leadership and tireless effort, many El Pasoans may face financial ruin from an unexpected illness or injury – or not be able to get care at all.”
Moving into the fall, Enroll America and Centro San Vicente will continue to partner as they have been to help El Paso families enroll in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act
If an uninsured El Paso area resident experiences a life-changing event, like having a baby, getting married, or moving, among other circumstances, this year before enrollment opens again in November, they may qualify for a special enrollment period. If they are eligible for Medicaid they can enroll year-round. They can use the Get Covered Connector at www.getcoveredamerica.org/connector to find and schedule an appointment with a free, in-person enrollment assister – including at Centro San Vicente – to get coverage right away.
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