Even with the Affordable Care Act in full swing, Texas continues to lead the nation in uninsured citizens. While the number of Texans without health insurance dropped last year to 19 percent – from 22 percent in 2013 – we still hold the dubious distinction of Number 50. What do those Texans do for healthcare? The Harris Health System often fills the need, and then some.
A good example is Allan McDougle. When this Heights resident wanted treatment for an earache, a terrible sore throat, and to get his winter flu shot, he discovered that it would cost more than he wanted to spend at the walk-in clinic nearest to his home.
McDougle was smart – he tracked down one of Harris Health System’s same-day centers, the Sunset Heights Clinic. Harris Health System is a non-profit agency operated by Harris County with the mission to keep its citizens safe and healthy. Now celebrating the Sunset Heights Clinic’s third anniversary, HHS operates six same-day clinics in Harris County.
“I went to a drugstore walk-in clinic, but the price for tests, a shot, and treatment would have been more than $200,” McDougle stated. “I knew there had to be a more affordable service. Then I found the Sunset Heights Clinic.”
McDougle spent 20 minutes with a medical professional who tested him for high blood pressure, strep throat, flu, and diabetes, then wrote several prescriptions, and gave him a flu vaccine. The visit cost him $95. “I know it sounds strange, but I felt better almost right away,” McDougle stated.
Located at 1623 Airline Drive, the clinic’s facility includes a spotless, 4,671-square-foot building with eight exam rooms and two treatment rooms. It serves infants from 18 months old, to seniors. It is open 8 am. to 8 pm. every day but Sunday. The hours help make healthcare available to school-aged children and working adults.
While vaccines are available, that service is only one part of the effort. The clinic’s board-certified professionals also provide treatment for minor injuries including those requiring sutures, as well as treatment for common illnesses, allergies and other health issues.
“We are here to serve the public,” stated Jeffery Nwabeke, Senior Operations Manager for all six of the HHS’s same-day clinics. “The cost for a visit is a flat $95 and that includes treatments, shots, written prescriptions if necessary, and we have a small laboratory, so we can do lab work. It’s a real value. Many of our patients would wind up in an expensive emergency room if we weren’t here.”
If you are thinking that the affordable price must be a trade-off for a three-hour wait to be seen, think again. “There is no need for an appointment; walk-ins are welcomed,” Nwabeke continued. “We see most of our patients in 15 to 30 minutes of arrival, sometimes far less. It is a rewarding experience for us. We seek feedback from our patients and it is always wonderful to discover that they appreciate us. We know we are making a difference in the lives of local families.”
The Sunset Heights Clinic accepts many insurance plans including Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. In fact, this clinic treats more children than any other HHS same-day clinic. For more information go to harrishealth.org.