WASHINGTON — With millions of people out of work and without health insurance because of it, many families are scrambling to figure out a backup plan.
One option to consider is a federally qualified health center, which helps people who are uninsured.
Around the region, community-based health care providers like Greater Baden Medical Services in Maryland are ready to serve.
The organizations are federally qualified health centers that receive funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration. The centers are dedicated to providing primary care services to members of underserved communities, according to its website.
With more than 84,000 Marylanders out of work, according to the Maryland Department of Labor, and 10 million nationwide, GMBS CEO Dr. Sonja Bachus wants to remind citizens that they are here to help whether a patient has insurance or not.
"We take care of folks with Medicaid, Medicare, commercial and the uninsured," Bachus said. "As a safety net, we're the place where folks who'd sometimes forego care come so they can be taken care of."
The organization has been around for 47 years, serving 16,000 patients annually. But since the outbreak of COVID-19, Bachus said it's seen an uptick in requests at its call center.
The good news is all six locations, including four in Prince George's County, are not fully booked, so there’s plenty of space to help.
"The better we’'e able to take care of them, the more we can keep them out of the emergency department, so the folks who are really, really sick can go to the emergency room," Bachus said.
So, here’s how it works: You can call the GMBS’s main number at 301-888-2233 for a health assessment before scheduling at one of the center's locations.
What comes out of pocket is determined by a sliding fee scale. Bachus said it’s another assessment based on federal poverty guidelines and family size. The organization is accepting new pregnant patients.
"The actual bill that comes out of pocket will be based on income level," she said.
Around the region, there are more than 100 FQHCs in Maryland and Virginia. D.C. has 75, according to the NPI Registry. For that full list click here.
If you'd like to look up an center on your own, you can do so here.
Uninsured Marylanders also have the option to apply for insurance through the state. For more information on the Maryland Health Connection and Coronavirus Special Enrollment, check here.
Given the nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment, Greater Baden Medical Services is also seeking PPE donations.