CUC-Priscilla

Help Shape the Future of Sexual Health Services by Joining Our Community Advisory Panel 

CommUnityCare Health Centers is excited to announce a transformative initiative aimed at enhancing sexual health services in our community. This new initiative is thanks to a $2.5 million, five-year award from the CDC Enhancing STI and Sexual Health Clinic Infrastructure (ESSHCI). This award signifies a major step forward in addressing the pressing sexual health needs of our community, with a focus on underserved and priority populations.

At the cornerstone of this initiative is creating a Community Advisory Panel, which will play a role in shaping the future STI and HIV prevention and advising the planning of a new sexual health access point.

CommUnityCare Health Centers is seeking individuals passionate about promoting sexual health awareness, reducing health disparities, and advocating for the community to join the Community Advisory Panel. Recruitment for the Community Advisory Panel is open now through August 2024. The goal is to have a fully established panel by September 2024.

 

 

 

We are seeking individuals from priority populations with an emphasis on multi-marginalized people, such as those who are unsheltered or unhoused, and persons of color:

  • Black/African American community members
  • Latinx/Hispanic community members
  • Women
  • People who identify as LGBTQIA+
  • Young adults ages 18-24
  • People who use drugs

CLICK HERE to join the CommUnityCare Community Advisory Panel.

“STIs remain a significant public health issue, disproportionately affecting certain groups within our community. CommUnityCare Health Centers is dedicated to developing innovative strategies to address these health disparities,” said Jael Williams, Care Manager Supervisor – Sexual Health Programs. “By involving community members in the panel, we ensure that the voices and experiences of those most affected by these issues are heard and integrated into the solutions.”

More information is available on our website, talkactprotect.org. If you have any questions regarding the Community Advisory Panel, please contact us at advisory.panel@communitycaretx.org or call 512-716-7499.

Get Ready for Back to School with CommUnityCare Health Centers

In honor of National Health Center Week, CommUnityCare Health Centers is excited to host three back-to-school events to prepare Central Texas children for the upcoming school year.

National Health Center Week (August 4th – 10th) serves as an opportunity to showcase the dedication and efforts of Community Health Centers nationwide that diligently work to enhance health outcomes and reduce health disparities. This year’s National Health Center Week theme focuses on empowering communities by connecting them with health centers. 

As Central Texas’ largest nonprofit health center, we ask you to join us at one of our three back-to-school events where we will offer FREE children’s immunizations, backpacks, school supplies, paletas, community resources, plus more! These events are for children 3-18 years of age. 

Appointments are limited and registration is REQUIRED for both immunizations and backpacks. Before registering, please review our FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – FAQs ENGLISH | FAQs SPANISH

 

 

 

 

NOTE: THERE ARE LIMITED SLOTS AVAILABLE. WALK-IN SERVICES FOR BACKPACKS ARE AVAILABLE THE DAY OF EVENTS FROM 11 A.M. – 12 P.M. ALL BACKPACKS DURING WALK-IN SERVICES ARE FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE WHILE SUPPLIES LAST. 

Saturday, August 3rd, 2024 

WHERE: Southeast Health & Wellness Center | 2900 Montopolis Dr, Austin, TX 78741 

WHEN: 8 a.m.-12 p.m. 

To register for backpacks at Southeast Health and Wellness Center, CLICK HERE. (FULL)

To register for immunizations at Southeast Health and Wellness Center, CLICK HERE

 

WHERE: Pflugerville Health Center  | 2700 W. Pecan St, Suite #450, Pflugerville, TX 78660   

WHEN: 8 a.m.- 12 p.m. 

To register for backpacks at Pflugerville Health Center, CLICK HERE. (FULL)

To register for immunizations for Pflugerville Health Center, CLICK HERE

 

Saturday, August 10th, 2024

WHERE: North Central Health Center | 1210 W Braker Lane, Austin, TX 78758 

WHEN: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. 

To register for backpacks at North Central, CLICK HERE. (FULL)

To register for immunizations at North Central, CLICK HERE.

 

Please be advised that we will no longer be conducting a backpack drive-thru as in previous years. Attendees must park at the event site and enter the building to access backpacks, immunizations and community vendors. 

 

If you need assistance, please review our FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – FAQs ENGLISH | FAQs SPANISH. If you continue to experience issues registering for immunizations or backpacks after reviewing the FAQs, please contact us at (512) 978-9015 or communityrelations@communitycaretx.org.

Due to high demand, there are limited slots for the CommUnityCare Health Centers Back-to-School event. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please see below for additional backpack distribution events happening around Central Texas.


People’s Community Clinic Back to School Community Resource Event

Saturday, 7/13/24 | 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

People’s Community Clinic, 1101 Camino La Costa, Austin, TX, 78752

Back-to-School Event – People’s Community Clinic (austinpcc.org)


Manos de Cristo Back to School Program

Monday – Friday, 7/22-26/24 | 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (**Or until supplies last**)

Midtown Church Austin, 4425 Red River St., Austin, TX, 78751

Back-to-School Program – Manos de Cristo


Dell Children’s Health Plan – Back to School Annual Event

Saturday, 8/3/24 | 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

KIPP South Campus, 5701 S I-35, Austin TX, 78744

Back to School Annual Event – Dell Children’s Health Plan (dellchildrenshealthplan.com)


Dove Springs Back to School Bash

Saturday, 8/3/24 | 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

George Morales Dove Springs Rec Center, 5801 Ainez Dr., Austin, TX, 78744


Manor ISD 24th Annual School Resource Fair & Back to School Enrollment Bash

Saturday, 8/10/24 | 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

**(Manor ISD Students Only) **

Manor Senior High School, 14832 FM 973, Manor, TX, 78653

CommUnityCare Health Centers Mourns the Loss of Beloved Physician

Dear CommUnityCare Patients,

It is with very heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of our beloved physician, Dr. Edwin Melendez, earlier this week. 

Dr. Melendez was known for his kindness, humor, medical knowledge and skill. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him — especially his patients and their families, many of whom had received care from Dr. Melendez for more than ten years at William Cannon Health Center, Southeast Health and Wellness Center and Blackstock Family Medicine. 

Thank you for your understanding as we work diligently to ensure that you, and all our William Cannon patients, still receive medical care when you need it. We sincerely apologize if your appointment has been affected. In the coming days and weeks, if you need care, please call 512-978-9015, option 1 to schedule an appointment with another one of our providers at William Cannon. If it is an urgent issue, you may always visit one of our walk-in clinics at the Southeast Health and Wellness Center or Hancock Walk-In Care. While Dr. Melendez is truly irreplaceable, we are working to find a physician who will be able to serve as your dedicated primary care provider for years to come.  

We understand that losing a trusted physician can be difficult, and we are here to support you during this time. If you would like to speak with one of our behavioral health consultants as you process this news, please call 512-978-9015, option 1. Please let us know that you would like to schedule an appointment with the behavioral health team to help process the loss of your physician, Dr. Melendez, and we will be glad to help you. 

A service mass is scheduled at Holy Trinity Church in San Antonio to celebrate Dr. Melendez’s life. His family welcomes patients and families to attend. As we receive more information from Dr. Melendez’s family, we will share additional details via our website, www.communitycaretx.org. 

Providing care for his patients was truly one of the greatest joys of Dr. Melendez’s life. Thank you for being such an important part of it.  

 

Update regarding Dr. Melendez’s Services:

Date and Time: Monday, July 1st at 10 a.m.

Location: Holy Trinity Church

20523 Huebner Rd.

San Antonio, TX 78258

A gathering will be hosted afterward. The family invites all to attend and requests only plants the day of the service, no flowers. 

 

With gratitude, 

William Cannon Family Medicine 

 

CommUnityCare Health Centers Continues Diligent Work to Ensure  

Affected Medicaid Patients Renew Coverage 

One year after Medicaid coverage unwinding, patients and health systems across the country continue to feel the effects of continuous Medicaid coverage ending.  

“Patients received a letter in the mail letting them know if they had to go through that recertification process for Medicaid. The problem with that is because we had continuous Medicaid for three-plus years, some folks moved and didn’t get the envelope, others didn’t hear about it, or they didn’t understand why they received the envelope,” said CommUnityCare Chief Operating Officer, Nancy Ban. “So, we had many patients who did not know how to get back on Medicaid.” 

Throughout the pandemic the federal government allowed people to continuously keep Medicaid enrollment as part of the COVID-19 public health emergency. In March 2023, that continuous coverage ended and caused millions of people to lose coverage. As a result, the state of Texas has been at the center of the Medicaid unwinding with more than 2 million enrollees losing benefits. 

According to the HRSA Health Center Program Uniform Data System, nearly 40% of patients at CommUnityCare Health Centers receive services using Medicaid coverage. Due to the end of the continuous coverage, nearly 15,000 patients throughout the Federally Qualified Health Center were disenrolled from Medicaid.  

Today, CommUnityCare Health Centers continues to diligently ensure its patients can access high-quality healthcare at its health centers.  

“We’ve been calling patients to confirm their appointments, informing them of documents that need to be submitted, and making sure that they’re updating information, “said CommUnityCare Financial Screening Specialist, Marisol Garcia. 

Ban adds that all Medicaid patients have received direct communication about continuous coverage ending, all front desk staff have been prompted with how to help patients, and extended weekend hours have been offered with financial screeners to help patients reenroll.  

CommUnityCare Health Centers is also utilizing a third party named Resource Corporation of America and a partnership with Foundation Communities to help reenroll patients that it has been unable to reach.  

“It is essential that our patients have coverage, even though we do not turn any of our patients away, we want to set up our patients for success even outside of our four walls,” added Ban. “We make sure that if our patients are not able to get on Medicaid for whatever reason, we have other options for them and our financial eligibility specialists can help them with receiving other assistance options,” added Ban.  

For more information about renewing your Medicaid coverage, click here. 

CommUnityCare Health Centers and Central Texas Food Bank 

Partner Up to Feed Families 

At CommUnityCare Health Centers, we understand the impact that proper nutrition has on the health and well-being of the communities we serve. That is why access to food is a fundamental determinant of health. Adequate access to nutritious food can support better management of chronic conditions, improve overall health and even reduce the risk of developing certain diseases.  

CommUnityCare Health Centers is proud to partner with the Central Texas Food Bank Mobile FARMacy program. The FARMacy program makes it possible for healthcare providers at CommUnityCare Health Centers to ‘prescribe’ nutritious food. Patients are able to access a mobile FARMacy pantry while accessing medical care at a CommUnityCare Health Center location and easily shop for nutritious food that meets USDA MyPlate standards.  

“We pride ourselves on having a one-stop-shop and providing our patients with social resources along with the other services in our health centers. So, our partnership with Central Texas Food Bank has been fantastic and we’re able to provide services to our patients while they’re in the clinic. We were able to serve 961 distinct individual patients, whose total households include nearly 1500 people,” said Clarissa, Manager of Community Health Social Services at CommUnityCare Health Centers. 

This collaboration is not just about distributing food; it’s a testament to the power of collective action in addressing the multifaceted challenges faced by the community. “It has been amazing to connect our patients with what they need, not just within a clinical setting, but also health care, transportation, we’re overcoming a lot of barriers within this partnership,” explains Clara Ann, Community Engagement Lead at CommUnityCare Health Centers. “It’s a symbol of empowerment, offering patients the independence to choose their groceries and reclaim control over their health.” 

To make this program a success, CommUnityCare Community Health Workers and Care Management team members connect with patients and prospective new patients by helping them learn about the free food program, assisting with grocery shopping and helping patients with transportation. This temporary program ran from October 2023 through May 2024 but is a testament to bringing communities together. CommUnityCare Health Centers is excited to partner with Central Texas Food Bank in future endeavors and grow a healthier, resilient community.  

Excerpts from this article were made possible through collaboration with the Central Texas Food Bank.

CommUnityCare Health Centers Expands Health Care Access in Eastern Travis County 

CommUnityCare Health Centers and Central Health have long recognized the need to expand health care delivery to the Eastern Crescent in Travis County. As part of this ongoing effort, CommUnityCare Health Centers will transition its in-person medical mobile services at Creedmoor Community Center and Barbara Jordan Elementary School to brick-and-mortar locations. This change of service will allow CommUnityCare Health Centers to expand its services and effectively serve its patients.

In 2018, Central Health purchased a Recreational Vehicle (RV) that has since been operated as a medical mobile clinic by CommUnityCare Health Centers. The medical mobile clinic has helped meet access to healthcare needs, while plans were made to build brick-and-mortar clinics in Hornsby Bend, Del Valle and Colony Park.  

CommUnityCare services at the mobile clinic and a temporary modular clinic in Hornsby Bend have served as a bridge while plans for new Eastern Crescent clinics were developed. Eastern Travis County celebrated the opening of the new Central Health Hornsby Bend Health and Wellness Center in Fall 2023. In December 2023, CommUnityCare Health Centers began providing patients in Hornsby Bend with family medicine, women’s health and lab services three days a week and has experienced a strong patient demand since opening. The Del Valle Health and Wellness Center is also expected to open in late 2024.  

Patients can expect the following with the new change of service:  

  • Increased services at Hornsby Bend Health and Wellness Center from 3 to 5 days. 
  • A total of 84 new appointment slots each week in the Eastern Crescent. The mobile clinic could see 13 patients a day, while a brick-and-mortar clinic can service 24 patients a day.  
  • A telehealth kiosk and CommUnityCare staff member (non-provider) will rotate at Barbara Jordan Elementary School to help patients navigate telehealth services or connect them with the appropriate resources. CommUnityCare leadership is evaluating whether the same setup can be done at Creedmoor Community Center, in the interim a medical assistant or community health worker will remain available on-site during the transition period.  
  • In person access will continue at Northeast Resource Center as Central Health and CommUnityCare Health Centers continue to plan for a Colony Park Health Center.   
  • For patients with limited transportation options, CommUnityCare Health Centers will continue to offer transportation assistance through its partnership with Lyft and zTrip.  
  • All patients recently seen have been made aware and future Creedmoor appointments have been scheduled at other CommUnityCare Health Center locations.  

The Hornsby Bend Health and Wellness Center has served as a backup location for mobile clinic services when the RV is out of service. In the past two years, the RV has had more than 75 days where it was out of commission due to needed repairs and intermittent availability of a CDL driver. The RV is also approaching the end of its life making it increasingly difficult to obtain parts for timely repairs.  

Central Texas is growing rapidly, as has demand for the services provided by CommUnityCare Health Centers. In 2023, CommUnityCare Health Centers served a record number of more than 134,000 unique patients and demand continues to grow. CommUnityCare Health Centers, in partnership with Central Health, is part of an expanding safety net health care system, with a goal of improving the health and well-being of the communities it serves.  

For more information about the CommUnityCare Health Center realignment journey, click here.

CommUnityCare Health Centers Named as one of the 2024 Top Workplaces USA

Austin, TX – CommUnityCare Health Centers, a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) corporation providing primary care health services to the medically underserved, is excited to announce it has earned a 2024 Top Workplaces USA award by Energage. Energage is a purpose-driven organization that develops solutions to build and brand Top Workplaces. 

Top Workplaces USA celebrates organizations with 150 or more employees that have built great cultures. Over 42,000 organizations were invited to participate in the Top Workplaces USA survey.

“This recognition is a testament to the dedication and talent of our team members, who make our organization such a special place to work. We are committed to creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture where everyone can thrive, and this award is a validation of our efforts,” said CommUnityCare Vice President of Human Resources, Yomi Fabiyi. ”I look forward to continuing our journey of excellence and further enhancing our workplace for the benefit of all our employees and patients who we serve every day.”

Winners of the Top Workplaces USA list are chosen based solely on employee feedback gathered through an employee engagement survey, issued by Energage. Results are calculated by comparing the survey’s research-based statements, including 15 Culture Drivers that are proven to predict high performance against industry benchmarks.

CommUnityCare Health Centers provides access to primary care services including family medicine, pediatrics, dental, behavioral health, women’s health, specialty care, plus more.

“Earning a Top Workplaces award is a badge of honor for companies, especially because it comes authentically from their employees,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “That’s something to be proud of. In today’s market, leaders must ensure they’re allowing employees to have a voice and be heard. That’s paramount. Top Workplaces do this, and it pays dividends.”

At CommUnityCare, we believe caring for others begins with caring for our team members. Begin your career at CommUnityCare Health Centers, apply today!

Parents Form Community Inside Medical Home through CenteringParenting® Program 

“It’s really an incredible model, you’re drawing out of the parent and empowering them to harness what they already know and key into that maternal or parental instinct,” said Dr. Michelle Gallas, Pediatrician at CommUnityCare Health Centers. “So, the idea is that families form a community inside of the medical home.” 

Parenthood has its ups and downs, especially for first-time mothers. New mothers often face symptoms of depression and stress as they adjust to parenthood. The CenteringParenting® Program is a group-focused approach offered at CommUnityCare Health Centers that better helps meet the health and social needs of patients who often face barriers when accessing healthcare. 

“This is the first time I have come to a doctor who has this type of program,” said Maria Angela Estrada, a mother and patient participating in the CenteringParenting® Program. “I love the idea. I believe it is something really beautiful that takes place here.” 

The group-focused care model is designed to host around six to eight dyads, or pairs of parents and their babies for routine health maintenance visits. Parents and babies are grouped together based on age increments, often one-month blocks. The group of similarly aged babies and their caregivers will meet ten times over the course of three years.  

“This program brings a tremendous amount of value not just to the families but also to the providers,” said Dr. Michelle Gallas, lead Pediatrician who has been running groups for the last decade at Community Care. “These families are able to build confidence, achieve better health outcomes, and form a connection with their providers, like no other.” 

Program visits are made up of three components: assessment, education and support. Upon arrival, babies receive a physical exam that includes vitals, developmental surveillance, screenings and immunizations. Then a facilitated discussion of infant and parenting related topics takes place led by providers and support staff. Finally, support or community within the medical home is built throughout the sessions.   

“The key word here is facilitation. We are offering up the question and they [parents] are the experts. They are sharing challenges, doubts and advice with each other,” added Dr. Gallas. “We offer our expert opinion when needed, but really want the best advice come from other mothers so families really get the chance to feel like they are not alone.” 

As part of the CenteringParenting® Program, mothers are also able to stay engaged in their own healthcare. The wellness visits and discussions offer a touch point to check in with mom and keep them engaged in their well-being. Mothers are provided follow up care such as well-woman exams, post-partum visits, family planning including birth control options and financial assistance.

“When I have any doubts and I get a response, I feel relieved because there are things I don’t know as a first time mom,” said Melani Navarro Hernandez, a mother and patient participating in the CenteringParenting® Program. “The moms in the group who already have children are able to answer my questions about things such as breastfeeding and sleeping schedule. I love it.” 

CenteringParenting® and CenteringPregnancy® Programs have been implemented into the care model at CommUnityCare Health Centers since 2009. The pandemic caused a hiatus, but the programs have recently made a return in the health centers and are growing. CenteringParenting® is an extension of the CenteringPregnancy ® Program, a similar group-focused model to discuss various topics with pregnant women and their healthcare providers.  

If you are an established patient at CommUnityCare Health Centers, please connect with your OB Care Coordinator at 512-978-9435 if you are interested in learning more about CenteringPregnancy® and CenteringParenting® Programs. Information is also available at FindHelp.org.  

The CenteringParenting® Program is offered at the CommUnityCare Pflugerville and North Central Health Centers. CenteringPregnancy® is offered at the CommUnityCare East Austin and North Central Health Centers.  

CommUnityCare™ Health Centers Named Top Workplace in the Greater Austin Area 

Austin, TX – CommUnityCare Health Centers is excited to announce it has earned a Top Workplaces 2023 in Central Texas award by the Austin American-Statesman Top Workplaces.  

“We are proud to be named a 2023 Top Workplace. This achievement is a testament to the unwavering dedication and passion our exceptional team at CommUnityCare Health Centers brings to their work every day,” expressed Jaeson Fournier, President and CEO.  “This recognition, coming from our amazing employees, fills us with gratitude and humility.  Especially considering the commitment and effort our team invests each day to achieve greater health equity for the patients and communities we are so privileged to serve.”  

The award recognizes local organizations that demonstrate a positive work environment and culture, honorees are selected solely through employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey. The confidential survey uniquely measures culture drivers critical to an organization’s success.  

“The CommUnityCare team and Board have worked hard to make CommUnityCare a fulfilling, supportive and welcoming workplace. Our team draws inspiration from our mission to provide equitable healthcare to those who otherwise face barriers to care. It is quite an honor to be named a top workplace in Austin,” said CommUnityCare Health Centers Board Chair, Dr. Tom Coopwood. 

CommUnityCare Health Centers provides access to primary care services including family medicine, pediatrics, dental, behavioral health, women’s health, specialty care, plus more through the lens of health equity. With 27 health centers and nearly 1,3000 employees, CommUnityCare Health Centers provides high-quality care for the un- and underinsured.

At CommUnityCare Health Centers, we believe caring for others begins with caring for our team members. Begin your career at CommUnityCare Health Centers, apply today! 

CommUnityCare Health Centers Awarded $2.5 Million to Boost Sexual Health Services 

Austin, TX – CommUnityCare Health Centers has been granted $500,000 per year for the next five years by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The $2.5 million total award to the Travis County-based health center is part of a broader national strategy aimed at assisting communities dealing with a high occurrence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and a lack of adequate STI clinical services. 

The financial award, named the Enhancing STI and Sexual Health Clinic Infrastructure (ESSHCI), comes from a sustained federal effort known as Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. CommUnityCare Health Centers is among the 26 recipients across the nation to receive this critical ESSHCI funding. 

Recent information from the CDC indicates that STIs are becoming more common among various U.S. population groups, including racial and ethnic minority groups, men who have sex with men, and individuals aged 15-24 years. Locally, Austin Public Health reported in April 2023, that Travis County was experiencing an uptick in STI rates, signaling a pressing need for more resources focused on sexual health.  

“Equitable access to sexual health services is essential to the health and well-being of the communities we serve,” said Dr. Nicholas Yagoda, Chief Medical Officer at CommUnityCare Health Centers. “It’s important that timely prevention, screening and treatment be easily available to help stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections and serious health problems later in life. We are honored to partner with the Centers for Disease and Control to better serve patients who often face greater health disparities.” 

The David Powell Health Center in Central Austin has served as a hub for HIV treatment and Prevention for Central Texans since 1990. The Federally Qualified Health Center has since expanded sexual health services throughout the system.  

CommUnityCare served more than 129,000 individual patients in 2022 across 28 clinical sites in Central Texas. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, CommUnityCare provides care to the un- and under-insured through a combination of funding from Central Health, federal and state government sources and private grant funding. Patients without insurance or other financial support are offered a sliding scale fee based on their household income.