|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
December 17, 2008
Contact: Shane Chen, (713)773-2901, x105
AAHC HOPE CLINIC ANNOUNCES FEDERRAL DESIGNATION
Houston- On Wednesday, December 17, 2008, the Asian American Health Coalition (AAHC)/ HOPE Clinic proudly announced receiving the Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike (FQHC-LA) status granted by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This new status allows the AAHC/ HOPE Clinic to continue providing care to the uninsured and underinsured citizens in the community and demonstrates HRSA’s validation of Hope Clinic’s growth and progress. “This is a major step forward for HOPE Clinic and all community health centers in Houston,” said Dr. Andrea Caracostis, CEO of AAHC/ HOPE Clinic. “Earlier this year, Texas did not receive any new FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) designations. Compared with other large cities in the country, Houston lags behind with only 8 FQHCs. Therefore, this is a vital accomplishment for Houston and for the state of Texas.”
The designation is only awarded to clinics that provide health care to medically underserved communities and meet other stringent requirements. HOPE Clinic has successfully met these requirements by serving a medically underserved area, offering a sliding fee scale starting at $15, providing or making available an array of comprehensive services, having an ongoing quality assurance program, and having a governing board of directors that is majority consumer-based representing the population served. The Look-Alike designation is the first step in attaining full Federally Qualified Health Center status, which additionally includes a federal grant annually for $650,000. AAHC/ HOPE Clinic will pursue the full designation when the new administration opens the application process.
The benefits this status brings to the clinic and the community are: enhanced Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates, access to many federally funded programs such as Vaccines for Children (VFC) for uninsured below 18-years old, on-site Department of Health and Human Services eligibility workers to provide Medicaid and CHIP enrollment services, and National Health Service Corps (NHSC) staff to provide and supplement medical, dental and mental health services.
“Becoming an FQHC has been the goal of the AAHC/Hope Clinic founders since its inception but, more importantly, it enables us to better serve our multi-cultural, limited English proficient, underserved population in southwest Houston, We thank the many volunteers, staff and community leaders who have helped us reach this point,” stated Rogene Gee Calvert, AAHC/Hope Clinic Board President.
Established in 1994 as a membership, advocacy and educational coalition, AAHC started Hope Clinic in 2002, opening four hours per month, staffed by volunteer physicians and other health professionals. Since then, Hope Clinic has grown to become a full-time, community health center that continue to provide access to care, particularly for the uninsured, underinsured of all income levels, and those with limited English proficiency. The mission of HOPE Clinic is to improve the health of residents, in Greater Houston, through culturally and linguistically appropriate services. Hope Clinic is located at 7001 Corporate Dr., open Monday and Friday, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Tuesday and Thursday, from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM. For more information about the clinic call (713)773-0803 or visit the website, www.asianhealthhouston.org .