The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has awarded a total of $1,904,400 to Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) Health Centers and Neighborhood Health Center (NHC) to provide health care services during 2017 to more than 4,000 children and teens in Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington and Yamhill counties, who are currently ineligible for federal or state publicly funded health insurance programs.
Virginia Garcia received $1.7 million of the total amount and will serve as the lead organization for the grant. The collaborative program began earlier this year and will run for 12 months.
Known as “I’m healthy!/¡Soy sano!,” the program will identify and create ways to reach children and teens under 19 years old who currently have no significant health coverage under the Oregon Health Plan or Qualified Health Plans.
“Virginia Garcia is excited to be the lead agency for this important grant. Children make up 48 percent of VG’s population and are central to our mission,” said Serena Cruz, executive director, Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation. “This program will help to end a vicious health care cycle for many families. When children don’t get care, they get sick and their parents can’t work, which means they don’t get paid. When kids are healthy, they are set up for school success, their parents can work and families can thrive.”
Virginia Garcia plans to utilize the existing relationship they have with six school districts in Washington and Yamhill counties through their school-based health centers. They have also created a website that provides general information for the program and information on how to apply.
“The goal of “I’m healthy!/¡Soy sano!” is to provide primary and preventive care services at no cost to our uninsurable pediatric patients. Our warm and welcoming school-based health clinics provide the optimal environment for children, teens and families to connect with their provider and feel empowered to take charge of their health,” said Lindsay Verber, “I’m healthy!/¡Soy sano!” program manager.
“Children under the age of 18 represent 32 percent of all people in poverty. Approximately one in every five kids live in poor families,” said Regina Dehen, ND, LAc, NUNM chief medical officer and dean of clinics. “Many children accessing health centers across Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties are uninsured and live in first-generation immigrant homes with caregivers who do not embrace mainstream medicine and have little or no ability to pay. We’re delighted to join our partners at Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center and Neighborhood Health Center to make a difference in the health of the kids in our combined service area.”
NUNM, which was awarded $110,400, is reaching out to this population to help increase their access to care. NUNM’s health centers, located throughout Portland, Beaverton and Hillsboro, will provide free primary and preventive care services to pediatric patients who are otherwise ineligible for health care coverage. Services will range from wellness visits to vaccinations. Through the “I’m healthy!/¡Soy sano!” partnership, children and teens can also receive referrals for free health care services at other “I’m healthy!/¡Soy sano!” partners offering dental, vision or behavioral health services.
“The well-being of our children is vital to the future of our communities. Neighborhood Health Center is excited to be a part of this collaboration with other community health centers in the Portland area to ensure the most vulnerable among us get the healthcare they need.” said Jeri Weeks, CEO of Neighborhood Health Center. “This collaborative effort allows for increased efforts to identify and connect more uninsured families with healthcare for their children to get and stay healthy.”
Neighborhood Health Center, which was awarded $92,000, plans to utilize the existing relationships they have with school districts in Washington and Clackamas counties through their school-based health centers as well as outreach programs to identify and enroll children in schools and clinics. Services will include primary care, well visits, vaccinations, as well as dental exams