Heart of Texas CHC Keeps Waco Healthy
August 13, 2015
Waco, TX – As part of National Health Center Week, Enroll America today recognized Heart of Texas Community Health 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 appropriate 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 Heart of Texas Community Health 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 7,100 McLennan area resident have enrolled in, affordable health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
“Heart of Texas Community Health’s work has made them a true cornerstone of their community and a trusted resource to uninsured Waco residents,” 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 McLennan. 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 Waco.”
Heart of Texas Community Health is a nonprofit health center that provides adult primary care, pediatrics, preventive care, dental care, behavioral health services, educational and research programs in the medical, dental and behavioral health fields among other services. During the second enrollment period that ended last spring, Heart of Texas Community Health partnered with Enroll America in several enrollment events where Heart of Texas Community Health’s Certified Application Counselors – many of whom are AmeriCorps/Community HealthCorps members – provided application assistance to McLennan residents seeking health insurance.
“We’re proud to work alongside Enroll America to empower our community and help our community access appropriate health coverage,” said Dr. Roland Goertz, CEO for Heart of Texas Community Health. “We know that we play a critical role in the lives of many low income Waco residents, and they should know that we are here to help them get the care they need. We’re going to continue providing high quality, low cost care to those in our community.”
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 and offer other services to make accessing care easier, and are located in identified high-need areas with higher poverty levels and infant mortality 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 Heart of Texas Community Health’s leadership and tireless effort, many McLennan residents 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 Heart of Texas Community Health will continue to partner as they have been to help families enroll in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
If an uninsured McLennan 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 Heart of Texas Community Health – to get coverage right away.
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