Senator Cornyn Visits Houston Health Clinic

Senator John Cornyn visited the Ripley House in Houston to draw attention to the need for preventative care and medical access for children. The Ripley House is one of four project medical homes run by Texas Children's Hospital. They provide free or reduced cost services to uninsured children. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson has more.

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There are nine million uninsured children in this country and 1.4 million of them live in Texas. Senator John Cornyn says Texas needs to do a better job of providing health care for those kids.

"We currently have 700,000 children in Texas who are eligible for Medicaid and eligible for CHIP, the Children's Health Insurance Program, but they're not signed up."

The Senator says part of the problem is parents don't have accurate information about the resources available to them. Texas Children's Hospital runs the Project Medical Home at Ripley House. Hospital President Mark Wallace says preventive care is more cost-effective and healthier for children than continuing the cycle of going in and out of emergency rooms for treatment.

"At this particular Project Medical Home we had about 9,000 patient encounters this past year. In all four of the Project Medical Homes we had about 36,000 patient encounters in one year. So this is a concept and an intiative that we know is very, very effective."

Texas Children's Hospital plans to open a fifth Project Medical Home in 2008 in cooperation with Windsor Village United Methodist Church and Wallace says they're committed to opening even more sites in the future to address the healthcare needs of children. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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