In the News
San José Clinic leads the way in providing innovative health care to the underserved - Texas Catholic Herald
May 22, 2018 - The ministry providing comprehensive and affordable medical, dental and pharmacy care to those with limited access in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is San José Clinic. Founded in 1922, San José Clinic is currently the leading charity care provider of health care services for the underserved in the Greater Houston area.
One of 60 ministries supported by the Diocesan Services Fund (DSF), San José Clinic’s mission is to provide quality health care and education to those with limited access to such services in an environment which respects the dignity of each person. The clinic is dedicated to ensuring those who face economic and social challenges are not denied the right to quality health care.
“The clinic is currently focused on providing excellent and innovative care to address the long-term health for uninsured and underinsured adults in our community,” said Paule Anne Lewis, president and CEO of San José Clinic. “This includes examining the wider factors and impact of our patients’ health and creating programs for treatment.”
Last year alone, Lewis said San José Clinic welcomed 4,719 patients, delivering almost 33,000 total visits and filling nearly 25,000 prescriptions.
“Our patient load has been consistent in recent years, because our current capacity has been reached,” said Lewis. “With additional community and volunteer support, we can serve as the health home for even more people suffering without health coverage.”
Since last August, San José Clinic has served hundreds of individuals and families impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Lewis said San José Clinic experienced a substantial increase in demand for its services after the storm and welcomed hundreds of volunteers from around the world.
“In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Clinic removed all barriers to care for one month in order to serve all those in need,” said Lewis. “For one month, there were no costs for care for anyone seeking help through the clinic. In addition, we established temporary satellite clinics in Rosenberg and Angleton to go to those hit the hardest.”
Lewis said the great need for safety-net care in Fort Bend and Brazoria counties was brought into focus during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. She said San José Clinic is working with local and national partners to find ways to reach these communities and their uninsured individuals.
One family that received assistance from San José Clinic after Harvey was Stephanie and Jose Estrada. A few months before the storm hit, the young couple was determined to make a wonderful life for themselves and their four-year-old daughter, Genesis. They worked hard to establish an apartment in what Stephanie lovingly called their “first place to call home.”
During Harvey, the Estradas’ first floor apartment quickly began to fill with floodwaters far beyond the levels they had been told to expect. After hours in the rising waters, the family was evacuated by boat through flooded streets and abandoned cars to safety.
The Estradas tried to keep their spirits up, but then Jose’s health suddenly needed immediate attention. In the chaos of escape, Jose’s diabetes medication had been lost, and he had developed a debilitating toothache as well. Unfortunately, while both worked full-time, they did not have access to insurance. With so much uncertainty and only $50 available, the Estradas didn’t know where to turn.
Through the kindness of strangers, after calling dentist upon dentist, the Estradas got a recommendation to see if San José Clinic could help. At the clinic, Jose was quickly seen by a dentist and doctor, then received his much-needed diabetes medication. The Estradas have made it through the long road to recovery and have found a new home, just in time for Genesis to start pre-K.
Lewis said this is an example of families that are blessed through the services provided by San José Clinic, which is made possible in part by DSF funding. She said San José Clinic depends on the generosity of parishioners contributing to DSF to ensure that the Clinic’s mission can endure.
“It is with the assistance of donors like the DSF contributors that those who depend on receiving healthcare services in accordance with the teachings of the Church can access the medical attention needed to promote good health and well-being for themselves, their families and throughout the community,” said Lewis.
April 17 declared San José Clinic Day - Texas Catholic Herald
May 22, 2018 - The City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner honored San José Clinic (SJC) by declaring April 17 as San José Clinic Day at a Houston City Council meeting. SJC President and CEO Paule Anne Lewis accepted the proclamation, presented to the city council by Council Member Jack Christie, on behalf of the clinic’s supporters, staff, volunteers, and patients.
Council Member Christie introduced the proclamation and said “We’ve said it many times… Houstonians are compassionate; they just have to be asked. San José Clinic has not even been asked, but has been helping and serving Houstonians since 1922 as the original safety net for the poor and underserved in our city.”
In the proclamation, Mayor Turner recognizes the important role San José Clinic plays in the health and fabric of Houston.
“The mission and work of San José Clinic has grown and evolved with Houston and provides quality, affordable healthcare for the uninsured and uninsurable,” said Turner. “While healthcare continues to change, San José Clinic will continue to adapt and pivot to address community needs.”
At the ceremony, Lewis testified to the clinic’s gratitude and impact.
“Thank you so much for this honor and this recognition of the very important work San José Clinic has been doing in our city, taking care of the most vulnerable,” she said. “We have been supported by this community solely for 96 years through philanthropy, through volunteerism, through generosity and compassion for those who work hard to make this a great city. We are proud of the quality healthcare we provide to those in most need.”
Council Members Amanda Edwards, Robert Gallegos, Michael Kubosh, Steve Le, and David Robinson also shared their support and comments for SJC.
“I have been blown away by the comprehensive nature of the services you have, but more importantly, just how invaluable you are so that we can be a community that looks after our brothers and sisters in their time of need,” said Council Member Edwards.
Medical Services for Low-Income People | Servicios médicos para personas de bajos recursos - Telemundo Houston, May 4, 2018
El 5 de mayo es una de las celebraciones más populares en los estados unidos y además de fiestas, margaritas y desfiles hay otras formas de conmemorar la batalla de puebla. Aquí en Houston habrá un festejo para ayudar a que los menos favorecidos tengan servicio médico.
More than 95 years of volunteerism helps keep Houston healthy at San José Clinic- Texas Catholic Herald
March 27, 2018 - It all began in 1922 with the vision of Monsignor George T. Walsh, a $50 donation from the Charity Guild of Catholic Women and the service of volunteers from the community. Fueled by a hope of breaking down barriers to healthcare for the underserved and caring for Houston’s growing population, San José Clinic was born.
For the last 95 years, volunteers have been working alongside clinic staff to drive the continued growth and success of the charity care clinic. The value of the total volunteer support provided to the clinic last year was more than $1 million – an enormous blessing for the charity, which receives no governmental funding of any kind.
San José Clinic’s legacy of volunteerism continues today. During 2017, the clinic’s 95th year of service, they welcomed more than 950 volunteers. These volunteers come from a wide variety of groups, careers and backgrounds to provide both direct patient care and indirect patient support at the Clinic.
“San José Clinic truly relies on our dedicated volunteers to ensure that we can continue to provide quality comprehensive care to the uninsured and uninsurable in our community throughout the year,” said Paule Anne Lewis, San José Clinic president and CEO. “Their service was especially impactful during Hurricane Harvey recovery, when more than 200 volunteers delivered care and assisted patients through the Clinic.”
Lewis said the clinic was blessed “welcome so many community-minded volunteers every year as we work towards our 100th year serving Houston, including our 2017 Volunteer of the Year, Dr. Michael Zionts. After a fruitful career of more than two decades in the Texas Medical Center, Dr. Zionts began volunteering at the Clinic. In just four years of volunteer work, Dr. Zionts provided nearly 1,000 hours of service to our patients.”
This April, San José Clinic is set to thank their dedicated supporters during Volunteer Appreciation Month. During April, 98 volunteers are set to receive the President’s Award for volunteering more than 100 hours in the past year. The honorees include students, healthcare providers, retired professionals and community members from throughout southeast Texas.
The value of all the clinic’s volunteers’ donations of time and talent are far more than monetary for San José Clinic – the impact is truly priceless, and the clinic is always looking to add new members to their team of volunteers.
San José Clinic President and CEO named national Thought Leader by New England Journal of Medicine - Catalyst- Texas Catholic Herald
March 13, 2018 - Paule Anne Lewis, president and CEO of San José Clinic, has been named a Care Redesign Thought Leader by the distinguished New England Journal of Medicine – Catalyst. Ms. Lewis is one of only three Texan Thought Leaders, the only Houstonian, and one of just four representatives of a Catholic health environment. Thought Leaders are appointed to serve as national, dynamic, engaging experts who will ‘share their knowledge on innovations in health care delivery and how to spark change in organizations of all sizes.’
“It is an honor to join this prestigious group of health care executives and leaders,” shared Ms. Lewis. “I am pleased that NEJM-Catalyst recognized the need to include the perspective of the only safety-net clinic in the world’s largest medical center to this national discussion.”
Ms. Lewis has been appointed a Thought Leader as she begins her eighth year of leadership at San José Clinic, Houston’s oldest and premier safety-net clinic. This accolade follows her recent participation in NEJM-Catalyst’s “Expanding the Bounds of Care Delivery: Integrating Mental, Social, and Physical Health” symposium, moderating a panel investigating health system solutions.
Ms. Lewis is a native Houstonian with twenty-five years of healthcare administration experience in the local market. As president and CEO of San José Clinic, she has driven the addition of the Clinic as a Texas Medical Center Member institution, the Clinic’s first national publication in the NEJM-Catalyst, and the successful implementation of a nationally-recognized quality assurance program.
“I am pleased for this opportunity to represent the vulnerable populations served by San José Clinic and other safety-net clinics throughout the country, as well as the chance to share our faith community’s generosity and innovation,” elaborated Ms. Lewis. “Since 1922, the Clinic has empowered patients and their families to take ownership of their health and live healthier lives. It is important to spread the word that San José Clinic remains committed to providing the highest quality of care in a patient-centered environment.”
January 24, 2018 - For over three months, Congress let the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, go unfunded. Then, the bill that allowed the government to reopen after a temporary shutdown also provided money to CHIP. Hadn’t that happened, nearly 400,000 children and pregnant women in Texas could have lost health coverage; 9 million nationwide.
CHIP is a federal program meant to be a safety net for some of the most vulnerable people: those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and yet don’t have access to other insurance. Houston’s San José Clinic gets those who don’t qualify. It bills itself as one of the city’s first “safety net clinics,” providing affordable healthcare for the uninsured and uninsurable.
Dr. Diana Grair is with the clinic. She says she’s grateful to be able to help her patients but, she warns, the clinic can only do so much.
“It’s still frustrating: when you have a patient that needs surgery, for example. I mean, I cannot help those patients,” says Grair. “And for CHIP, I mean, that’s even more important. Because I feel like those children that are here have no way of getting insurance, are sick or, even worse, have some sort of developmental issue. And we are not able to help with that.”
In 2016, 48 pct of San José Clinic’s patients lived at or below the poverty line: making a little over $24,000 a year, for a family of four. Only about 6 percent of the clinic’s patients are children, but a lot of Grair’s patients have kids who are on CHIP.
“For these kinds of families, at least when it comes to their children, having that health care coverage and having that insurance, for them, that’s much more important than their own health,” said Grair. “And so we need that coverage, we need that kind of care.”
Teresa Vasquez, 45, is one Grair’s patients. She has five children: four are on CHIP.
“Our problem is that we live day-to-day on paycheck-to-paycheck,” Vasquez says in Spanish. “The money that we make is always accounted for by existing expenses. Doctor visits are an additional expense, and CHIP is very important to all, children and adults.”
Heidi Bunyan is San José Clinic’s Chief Operations Officer. She says had CHIP gone away, they would have had to react quickly.
But, Bunyan highlights, if programs like CHIP aren’t funded, it’s not just that the care goes away. “That, in fact, will not happen. It might even get exacerbated, because these kids aren’t being taken care of regularly. And, so, whatever diagnosis they have gets exacerbated because their parents are scared to take them anywhere. What happens at that point? I mean, it’s really a huge snowball effect,” she says.
Funding for San José Clinic isn’t unlimited. They’re not funded by the government. They don’t take insurance, so that usual reimbursement doesn’t exist. Patients are asked to make a contribution toward the costs for their care, based on their annual income. But, Bunyan says their operations are fully funded by donations and grants. And that’s difficult, since the state of Texas has the highest uninsured population in the country.
According to First Focus, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C., since CHIP was enacted in 1997 the uninsured rate for kids nationwide dropped by nearly 68 percent.
CHIP now insures 9 million children and pregnant women… at least until 2023.
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