Families and individuals seeking affordable health services are invited to a special open house event at the Seton Medical Center's new Health Benefits Resource Center this Tuesday, Sept. 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Visitors will have the chance to meet staff members, find out how they can obtain vital assistance and access to healthcare, and enjoy ight refreshments.
“The services we provide through the Health Benefits Resource Center are aligned with our mission to provide care to the sick and those living in poverty,” said Sister Arthur Gordon, vice-president of Mission Integration at Seton Medical Center. “It helps provide a means of access to healthcare and social services with a holistic approach to the entire family.”
Providing access to health benefits and other resources to promote healthy families, the Health Benefits Resource Center (HBRC) is a centrally-located information and referral service linking families to government-sponsored health benefits and social services, including Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, Healthy Kids, Food Bank and Cal Fresh (formerly Food Stamps).
Families are assisted regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. HBRC provides free confidential assessments, referrals to community resources, and assistance in completing applications for free or low-cost health insurance programs. Services are available in English, Spanish and Tagalog.
“Being able to have access to healthcare and learning how to take charge of one’s health through education and lifestyle changes is empowering,” notes Lydia Ramirez, director of Community Outreach Programs for the Daughters of Charity Ministry Services, of which Seton is a member facility.
Ramirez explained the four HBRCs within the Daughters of Charity Health System help individuals and families by determining what services are needed, identifying which agencies can help, and then helping them navigate through the complex process of determining eligibility, completing forms and getting the necessary information processed.
Funding for the HBRC is provided by a grant from the Daughters of Charity Foundation. The Daughters of Charity sponsor Seton Medical Center and four additional hospitals between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
With large numbers of job losses and reduction in hours in recent years for many local residents, Ramirez says the health system’s HBRCs have seen an increase in the number of people seeking assistance from government programs for the first time.
“During the past year, our HBRCs assisted more than 10,000 people,” she said.
Ramirez added that some individuals decide not to pursue getting assistance because they do not think they qualify.
“We give people an opportunity for a Q&A forum; offer a free, confidential household assessment; and provide an initial eligibility screening,” she explained. “This helps more people gain access to healthcare.”
Ariel Santos, manager of the Health Benefits Resource Center at Seton Medical Center, said that many patients who come to the center are under a great deal of stress from being ill and suffering financial hardships.
“We want to take some of the burden of stress away by handling the processes that are very detailed and cumbersome,” he said.
The Health Benefits Resource Center is located on the first floor, near the main visitor elevators, at Seton Medical Center, 1900 Sullivan Ave. in nearby Daly City. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and serves the communities of southern San Francisco and all of northern San Mateo County, including along the coast.
For more information, call (855) 848-HBRC for assistance or visit www.setonmedicalcenter.org.
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