Health Safety Net
by: Capella Tucker, April 4, 2006 12:04:00 am
The website is a comprehensive list of non-profit private and public health clinics that offer healthcare to the uninsured and underserved in the community. Saint Luke's Episcopal Health Charities Executive Director Gail Bray says the work for Project Safety Net began before the hurricanes of last summer. Bray says the number of evacuees now in Houston adds to the importance of the project.
"We already had a problem with the uninsured of course in our community. With the uninsured, a lot of the problem is they don't have a primary medical care center to go to so if they need medical care or their children needs medical care they go to the emergency room."
And that's one of the most expensive ways to get treatment for commonplace problems. Bray hopes the project will be helpful for health planners. The information details areas where clinics are and are not available. This can be compared to where the greatest numbers of uninsured families live. Bray says they are working on getting the word out.
"So in talking with our friends at the Texas Medical Center Library, the city libraries and the county libraries, and we've done this before, we've partnered with them before, we are going to be able to partner and put this information on kiosks and strategically place the kiosks in areas like Fiesta stores or libraries so they can access it without having to go through the internet."
There's the potential for some clinics to become overloaded with patients.
"Once you advertise this clinic is located in your neighborhood or a contiguous zip code or something like that, then, you know, what if you don't get the right payer-mix, they've got to pay their bills too. But everybody realizes that we've got to work together as a community and you put 74 clinics together on a map then I think the referral will help."
Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.