AMITE — The Tangipahoa Parish Council on Monday unanimously agreed to a proposed Access Health Louisiana clinic designed for those without health insurance or in a low-income bracket.
Establishing and staffing a health clinic in the parish depends on Access Health Louisiana’s ability to win a federal grant, said Mark F. Keiser, executive director of the company.
Keiser said the company plans to apply for a $650,000 grant in August, and if the grant is awarded, the company would move quickly to open a clinic, preferably in a 4,000-square-foot building.
He said the company has not yet settled on a location for the clinic.
Keiser said Access Health Louisiana has clinics in a number of parishes, including Washington and St. Tammany, has a “great track record” in obtaining federal grants and, if the federal money is not forthcoming this year, will apply again in the future.
A major first step in obtaining the grant is the council’s support, Keiser said, adding that the company has the support of both North Oaks Health Systems in Hammond and Hood Memorial Hospital in Amite as well as nursing educators at Southeastern Louisiana University.
He said Access Health Louisiana works with both Tulane and LSU medical schools to help train doctors and other health professionals.
“Our vision is to exceed national performance standards for quality care and to improve access for patients through expanded medical services and new sites,” Keiser said.
Once a health center is opened, he said, it will operate 40 hours a week with some “after hours” and weekend opening slots. The clinic will offer basic medical care, addiction services and school-based wellness centers.
“We tend to focus on youth, and we work with the schools to try and improve the health of young people so that they will not be a burden on the nation’s health systems as they grow older,” Keiser said.
Parish Councilman Louis Joseph said he is particularly pleased the company plans to address how to better serve those with mental illness.
Keiser said Tangipahoa Parish’s population profile indicates the need for health care for the poor and uninsured.
“We can’t solve all the health problems in our state and in our communities, but we aim to be one more aspect, one more facet, in serving the very important health needs of all the people,” he said.