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When You Need to See a Doctor but Don't Have Health Coverage

Methodist Healthcare Ministries grant means some patients won’t have to go to the ER

San Antonio emergency rooms are often overcrowded with patients who could be treated in more appropriate and less expensive doctors’ offices but, because they do not have health insurance, their options for care are limited. Today, thanks to a grant from Methodist Healthcare Ministries, many of these patients can see a doctor for just $10 at University Family Health Center – Northwest.

Located in the South Texas Medical Center on Louis Pasteur, University Health System’s new Northwest Clinic offers board-certified family practice and pediatric physicians, on site lab and X-ray services, plus evening and weekend hours. This high level of care is available to everyone – from patients with excellent health insurance, to those with no health coverage at all.

The beautiful building is owned by the Methodist Healthcare Ministries (MHM), and the organization is covering the cost of providing care to people who do not have health insurance and who earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). The poverty level is based on family size. For a family of four it’s about $44,000 a year. Qualifying patients will be asked for a $10 co-pay.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with University Health System to improve access to care for low income and uninsured patients,” said Richard “Dick” Gilby, Chair of the MHM Board of Directors. The decision to fund the clinic was made following a study commissioned by MHM that identified increasing poverty in the northwest sector of San Antonio. “Physicians aware of uninsured patients who meet these criteria are encouraged to refer them to the Northwest Clinic,” he added.

“We have met with the emergency room medical directors at all of the hospitals in the Medical Center area to let them know they can send us patients who don’t require emergency services,” said University Health System senior vice president for Ambulatory Services Steve Enders. “We also want people who may qualify for this grant program to know they don’t need a referral.” He says patients are encouraged to walk-in if they need to see a doctor. They may also call the clinic with questions at 210-358-8820.

Those with chronic medical problems like diabetes or high blood pressure will be treated then assessed to see if they qualify for other funding programs. “These are patients most likely to end up in an emergency room,” he explained. “Our goal is to get them the ongoing treatment to prevent complications and the need for hospitalization.”

The Northwest Clinic is located at 7726 Louis Pasteur Drive. The clinic is open Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 12 noon. The phone number to call for an appointment is 358-8820.

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