|DALLAS, TX – Parkland Health has teamed with several community-based organizations (CBOs) to help improve access to care for residents living in areas with the highest morbidity and mortality rates identified in the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA).
The CHNA identified significant health disparities in Southern Dallas County and documented the incidence of diseases across racial and ethnic minorities, socio-economic factors, underserved populations and access to care. The access to care and coverage program targets residents in ZIP Codes 75210, 75211, 75215, 75216, 75217 and 75241.
Carmelita Vazquez, 48, of Hutchins is one of many individuals who’ve taken advantage of these services.
“We feel very blessed and thankful to have come across the social media post that led us to these services,” said Vazquez. “At the time of our visit, we were new to the area and unemployed due to COVID.”
Vazquez and her husband Roberto visited Inspired Vision Compassion Center in April of 2021 where Roberto was immediately scheduled for a follow up appointment with a Parkland provider after noticing his blood pressure was high.
“The doctor we were referred to urged us to visit the Emergency Department because everything indicated my husband was close to having a heart attack,” said Vazquez. “Days later we were in Parkland’s ER. My husband was in need of heart surgery.”
Teresita Oaks, Director of Community Health Programs at Parkland says these are the types of scenarios Parkland hopes to avoid by bringing theses services to the community.
“These organizations are located in South and Southeast Dallas County neighborhoods where people normally gather. They include food banks, churches and social services organizations,” said Oaks. “They’re trusted by residents and bring much needed health screenings and insurance coverage assessments that will help lead them to healthier lives.”
Services offered at the community hubs include:
Patient financial eligibility specialists work on-site to assist individuals with the financial screening process. The specialists identify health coverage to include grants, federal programs, and Parkland’s Financial Assistance Program. Community Health Workers (CHWs), recruited and hired from these ZIP Codes, complete health screenings at the community hubs. Using a community screening tool tailored for these settings, CHWs input patient results of health screenings into Parkland’s electronic medical record platform. If a follow-up is required by a provider in less than three months, CHW’s will schedule an appointment. They’ll also help connect the patient with social resources, if needed.
“It is our hope that by starting with an insurance eligibility assessment before working with our team to schedule follow up care with a Parkland provider, it will increase the likelihood of that patient having the right coverage at the time of their appointment,” said Vidya Ayyr, Director of Community Social Impact at Parkland. “This is an important step towards addressing health equity through increasing patient access.”
Community hubs are located in areas where community members gather. Locations include:
All services are at no cost to the patient and may vary by location. Visits last about 20 minutes and no appointment is needed.