As part of National Community Health Center Week, AccelHealth is recognizing its local patients, staff, and stakeholders, as well as the homeless and housing authorities.
“It’s a special week and each day is about a designated area that community health centers serve,” said AccelHealth Marketing Director Jill Evans. “We have the homeless, we have housing authority, we also have a time that we celebrate children and children’s health, as well as our patients, stake holders, and employees.”
Thursday’s stops included a pair of stakeholders in the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department as well as KOXE/KBWD radio. Evans, as well as AccelHealth CEO Esther Taylor, dropped off gift baskets to both establishments and thanked them for their contributions.
Speaking with Brownwood City Manager Emily Crawford and Brownwood/Brown County Health Department Administrator Lisa Dick Thursday morning, Evans said, “City managers and city mayors are taking on a lot. They hear what the state wants them to do and they hear what nationally you’re supposed to be doing, then they hear from the local businessman. We see social media out there and we see that you’re getting it from both sides, so where do you find the balance? What’s happening in Dallas is so different than what’s happening in Brown County, so the decisions that are being made for the big cities maybe don’t reflect what the needs are for the smaller. We appreciate your wisdom and leadership in fighting for us and the needs we have currently.”
Prior to the stop at KOXE, Evans said, “Our stakeholders are our radio stations and news outlets. We get to say thank you to KOXE for letting Dr. (Tom) Byrd and (Dr.) Michael (Cloy) come on and answer the questions that are coming through social media.”
Friday’s focus will be on AccelHealth employees.
“We’re going to celebrate our employees and they’re tired,” Evans said. “They get up early in the morning and set up outside clinics, then it’s late night clean up. Now we’re going through a double clean up where we have a set time each day for those that are needing COVID screening.”
Earlier in the week, AccelHealth donated Walmart gift cards to The ARK Shelter, and also paired up with Dairy Queens in Brownwood, Dublin, Comanche, Stephenville, and De Leon to provide free ice cream cones to the kids who come in for immunizations and a wellness check. They receive a token upon their visit to redeem for a free ice cream cone.
AccelHealth is considered a Federally Qualified Health Center, as Taylor explained.
“Community Health Cares are literally saving the American taxpayer so much money because FQHCs – Federally Qualified Health Centers – our fee structure is based on the patients’ ability to pay,” Taylor said. “In most places you either pay or you can’t be seen. But with us. we see everybody. From the under served or uninsured, we see everybody. We take all insurances and there are just over 11,000 FQHCs in the U.S. and we have treated 29 million patients in the last 55 years.”
Evans added, “FQHCs believe every person deserves health care and so many have given up.”
Taylor, the former CFO of AccelHealth, has been in the CEO role for a little over a year.
“My job as CEO is to ensure that fiscally we’re where we need to be and our staff is qualified,” Taylor said. “In the last eight months we’ve hired six top quality providers in Brownwood alone that are now part of AccelHealth.
“I am very proud of our staff, they are amazing, not only the providers but all the behind the scenes people. They go above and beyond every day and those people, no one ever sees. The ones who are highlighted are our providers, who we also love very much.”
Among the recent hires is Dr. Brandon Gilmore, who oversees the Brownwood Regional Medical Center Emergency Room and works “a couple of Fridays a month,” at AccelHealth, according to Taylor.
“Rural America loses so much in the ER,” Evans said. “A lot times it’s not an emergency, they just have nowhere else to go. We are so blessed to have Dr. Gilmore, who is head of the ER, and he can say, ‘You know what? Let’s get you over to AccelHealth. That’s a clinic that will take you in’ and that saves so much money.’”
Taylor added, “I talked to (BRMC CEO) Jace (Jones) and I sat on the patient advisory board just to see what we can do to help lower the strain of the ER visits. We take Medicaid patients, we take those who are uninsured.”
AccelHealth also has a program that provided discounts on prescriptions.
“We have discount prescriptions with Jacobs Pharmacy, CVS, Walgreen’s and Walmart so it’s affordable and they can get their medicine,” Evans said. “Why give a prescription to a patient if they can’t afford it?”
Along with medical and dental, AccelHealth offers services for those with behavioral and mental health issues or those battling substance abuse and addition, Counseling sessions for substance and addiction are as low as $5 and $10, Evans said.
AccelHealth is located at 3804 U.S. Highway 377 South in Brownwood. Call 325-643-5167 for more information.