Health clinic for uninsured could come to Grayson County - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Health clinic for uninsured could come to Grayson County

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SHERMAN -- Doors may be locked now, but a vacant medical building in Sherman could soon be the place tens of thousands of uninsured Grayson County residents go when they get sick.
According to County Health Department Director John Teel, 30,000 people in Grayson County don't have health insurance; 21,000 more are enrolled in Medicaid.

"That's a very large number," he said.

But under a new program recently approved by Grayson County Commissioners, all of those patients could come to the new clinic for medical care, instead of filling up hospital emergency rooms.

"We intend on hiring a staff of about a dozen men and women who could handle between 10,000 and 12,000 visits per year," Teel said. He said how they will do the hiring is still being worked out.

Under the plan, a clinic visit would cost between $20 and $60 dollars -- depending on income -- for an uninsured patient. The clinic will bill Medicaid and Medicare if recipients use the facility.

"Let's see if we really can do Medicaid and Medicare possibly smarter. Can we literally cut down on the amount of bills that are sent to the federal government, called the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Let's see if we can cut down in a years time and years into the future," Teel said.

Both the Texoma Medical Center and the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital worked on the project that began in 2011, and both stand to benefit.

Kitty Richardson with the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital says nearly a quarter of all its emergency room patients don't have insurance.

"You'll see, now, truly more people coming in to use it as a true emergency room instead of those without insurance using it as their primary care office," Richardson said.

Although the county has approved the project, it's still needs approval of about $3 million in federal funding that accounts for 60% of total funding.

The County says it will submit documents to get approved in mid-February and expects a decision from the feds by late-March.

The clinic is scheduled to open August 31.