The Allegheny County Health Department has updated and expanded its directory of local health centers and clinics that serve people who have minimal or no health insurance. Department spokesman Guillermo Cole says the guide was first published in 2007 and this is the second update this year...
"In addition to health centers and clinics, there are a number of other organizations listed that can with other needs such as prescription drugs, vision care, dental care, even transportation."
It also features a listing of health insurance options for the unemployed and low-income families.
Cole says some of the organizations that are included for the first time are the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Ways to Work, and Gilda's Club which offers free support groups and programs for those living with cancer and their loved ones.
The directory is intended primarily for social service agencies and other community organizations dealing with the uninsured, but Cole says individuals might also find it useful as a handy guide to care providers and social service agencies.
In many cases, the providers use a sliding fee schedule based on household income and family size for patients with no insurance. Cole says the fees might be as little as $25 or less and possibly waived in cases of extreme financial hardship.
Cole says he thinks this guide will remain a valuable tool..."Nationally, our hope is that one day we'll have a health care system that provides access to health care for all and that health care becomes truly affordable for all and available to all. But until then, there will be a need, sadly for this kind of guide."
The directory is available on line under "Timely Topics" or by calling 412-687-ACHD.