Local children's clinic provides free health care to help meet demand
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — In 2011 and 2012, the state of Texas had the highest number of people in the nation without health insurance, according to a recent report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
And without health insurance, desperate times call for desperate measures, which can be ineffective and risky.
"Main thing is you don't want to get sick. If you get sick, it's 'I'll take a tea, I'll take what my sister has, or what my aunt will give me, or grandma will give me," said Andy Espinoza.
While there are more than 6 million uninsured Texans, and the majority are adults between the ages of 18 and 65, that number includes more than 1 million uninsured children as well.
The Borderland is not an exception to that statistic, and one clinic in the Northeast, who recognizes that desperate need for care, offers free health care to children one day each week.
"A lot of families here in El Paso are hard-working, parents who want to give the best to their children, and sometimes they just don't have enough. I mean, it's fairly difficult to pay for rent, food, and the cost of insurance is very high," said Felix Barron, a physician's assistant at Pediamed in Northeast El Paso.
"They (parents) feel helpless, especially seeing their kids sick. Or you know, 'Mom, Dad I have a fever, I feel sick' and we really can't do anything about it," said Juan Guerrero.
Pediamed is a clinic in Northeast El Paso that sees many kids without health insurance on a daily basis - their motto is "Every child will be seen," and so they charge uninsured patients a flat fee of $49.95 that includes everything from diagnostic tests to prescriptions that need to be written.
"We did want to give back to the community and allow for these children to be seen," said Barron.
And perhaps the best deal they offer is free care on Saturday nights from 6pm to 10pm for the first 20 kids who sign up online.
"They're, you know, relieved that we have that or they can pay just to be seen," said Guerrero.
But the bigger problem still exists -- many parents just hoping nothing too serious happens to their children.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau's report, the number of people enrolled in government health programs like Medicare or Medicaid increased in 2011 and 2012, while the number of people with private coverage remained stagnant.
For more information on the free Saturdays health care for kids at Pediamed Night Clinic, visit http://pediatricnightclinic.com/