It is not always easy for Mexicans living in Houston to know all of their health care options. Too many go to Emergency Rooms as a first choice. Until now, there has been no place to get comprehensive information about health care options, programs and services in the area. Houston Public Radio’s Rod Rice reports that has changed with the opening of the Medical Information Center at the Mexican Consulate.
“The Mexican Consulate for many immigrants is a place where they trust. They can go, get the information and then be able to access the different areas of health care that we are providing to them.”
Edgar Vesga is the International Attach? at Texas Children’s Hospital, one of the partners in establishing and running the operation. He says the Medical Information Center is a central location for bi-lingual medical information.
“They will come to the Mexican Consulate, to the third floor, and there will be a co-coordinator fulltime from 9 AM to 1 PM. We also have three volunteers’ coordinators per day. They will be trained to provide all types of information in both languages, Spanish and English.”
St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital is also a partner in the project, as is the Bank of America which is helping to fund it. Rick Jaramillo is a Senior Vice President at Bank of America. He says the future of Houston depends on better education and better health care.
“If we’re going to continue to a world class city and attract world class type of educational institutions and corporations, we must do a better job of creating the future work force today.”
Jaramillo says this collaboration with a foreign consulate is unique and is one the benefits those who need medical information the most.
Carlos Gonzalez is Consul General of Mexico and says there are huge health care needs among Hispanics in Houston.
“The Mexican Consulate acknowledges the huge responsibility it has vis a vis Houston. This is a step in the right direction in remedying some of the health problems of the Hispanic community.”
Texas Children’s Edgar Vesga says St Luke’s will help provide health care information for adults so the Medical Information Center will be able to provide information from birth to nursing home.
“We couldn’t do it by ourselves, we had to bring partners, we have also spoken to the county, and the county will be training some of our volunteers. So, we will be providing good quality information. Quality information related to health care resources in the community.
Vesga says anyone wishing to volunteer as a coordinator should contact either St Luke’s or Texas Children’s Hospitals.