In the News

San José Clinic Hosts Eighth Annual Fall Speaker Series Luncheon - Texas Medical Center News

October 23, 2018 - The San José Clinic welcomed donors, thought leaders and health care providers to its annual Fall Speaker Series Luncheon on Oct. 23, 2018 to discuss the growing need to address and eliminate cultural barriers in access to health care.

This year, Stephen J. Spann, M.D., MBA, founding dean of the University of Houston College of Medicine, and David S. Buck, M.D., MPH, the forthcoming college’s associate dean of community health, served as luncheon speakers. A discussion with them was moderated by Telemundo Houston morning news anchor Antonio Hernandez.

“I don’t think anyone ever becomes culturally competent,” Spann said as he addressed the crowd assembled at the River Oaks Country Club. “I think we are on a life journey of cultural humility and I prefer to think about multicultural fluency and understanding people from other cultures and understanding how that affects their health beliefs.”

As the fourth largest city in the country and the second-most diverse, addressing cultural barriers is a top priority for health care providers in Houston.

“The greatest challenge is access to care,” Spann explained. “We in Texas have the largest percent of our population that is medically uninsured … so just getting the treatment is a major challenge for these patients.”

The UH College of Medicine, which is expected to open in 2020, will train medical students to become primary care physicians who focus on providing care to the underserved, much like the San José Clinic.

“The San José Clinic was founded to break down the barriers of health care for the underserved and I think that is within our mission statement as well,” Buck said. “These issues of access and equity are vital to what we are doing and trying to do … integrating not just medical care, not just nursing care, pharmacy expertise and social work, but really integrating all of these social determinants into the practice of health—not just practice of medicine.”

Longtime Houston nonprofit San José Clinic names new president and CEO - Houston Business Journal

September 25, 2018 - San José Clinic, a 96-year-old safety net clinic in Houston, has selected a permanent president and CEO.

Maureen Sanders was named to the role, succeeding Paule Anne Lewis, who stepped down this summer to become the associate vice president of business operations at the University of Houston’s new medical school.

Sanders most recently was serving as the clinic’s interim administrator, while Heidi Bunyan had been interim president and CEO, according to the clinic's website. Sanders has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, resource development and finance, according to a press release. Before joining the clinic, she was COO for the Jackie Lyles Group, an innovation consulting practice, and served as the executive director at Mission of Yahweh and director of development at Houston Community College Foundation.

In her new role, Sanders will lead the organization in providing medical, dental and other health care services to those with limited access, per the release. In addition to being a member of the Texas Medical Center, the San José Clinic is a ministry of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and a United Way agency.

“San José Clinic serves an invaluable role in providing health care services to families and those underserved who are oftentimes in the margins in today’s society," His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, STL, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston Archdiocese, said in the release. “Under Maureen’s compassionate and bold leadership, San José Clinic will continue to embody the values of the church that are the foundational pillars of which the clinic’s legacy was built.”

San José Clinic Hosted its Annual Back to School Party for 200 Underserved Children

August 16, 2018 - On August 10, 2018, San José Clinic collaborated with many community partners to ensure nearly 200 underserved children can begin the 2018-19 academic year with the school supplies necessary for success that they may otherwise have gone without. San José Clinic hosted its annual Back to School Party, to alleviate some of the stress and burden of preparing for the school year for their patients’ families who are already working hard to get by without health insurance.

The Back to School party is entirely funded and supported by community partners including the Charity Guild of Catholic Women, Fiesta Mart, Pepsi/Frito-Lay, the Rotary Club of Houston Heights, the Greater Houston Dental Society, Undies for Everyone, Sox in the City, and Cammarata Dental.

The Charity Guild of Catholic Women donated over 200 new mesh backpacks, bundles of children’s books, baked cookies, and volunteered their time to ensure that the children had a fun and enriching afternoon at the party.  They have made it their mission to support the San Jose Clinic in particular and children’s charities in the Houston area in general. Volunteers from Fiesta Mart, Pepsi and Frito-Lay donated school supplies and a gift card for school uniforms to each child attending the event. New socks and underwear for all the children were generously donated by Sox in the City and Undies for Everyone. The children and families also received oral health education, toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss and mouthwash from Cammarata Dental and volunteers from the Greater Houston Dental Society.

This party is one of the many patient-focused events held throughout the year at San José Clinic. These events allow the Clinic to focus on the larger lives of their patients and bring joy to their families.

Dozens of volunteers from the Charity Guild of Catholic Women, Fiesta, Pepsi/Frito-Lay, the Greater Houston Dental Society,
and the Rotary Club of Houston Heights gave generously of their time at San José Clinic’s Back to School party.

Charity Guild of Catholic Women volunteers filled the children’s new backpacks with bundles of books at San José Clinic’s Back to School party.

Children pose with Fiesta Mart’s Pepe the Parrot at San José Clinic’s Back to School party,/em>

San José Clinic leads the way in providing innovative health care to the underserved - Texas Catholic Herald

May 22, 2018 - The ministry providing comprehensive and affordable medical, dental and pharmacy care to those with limited access in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is San José Clinic. Founded in 1922, San José Clinic is currently the leading charity care provider of health care services for the underserved in the Greater Houston area.

One of 60 ministries supported by the Diocesan Services Fund (DSF), San José Clinic’s mission is to provide quality health care and education to those with limited access to such services in an environment which respects the dignity of each person. The clinic is dedicated to ensuring those who face economic and social challenges are not denied the right to quality health care.

“The clinic is currently focused on providing excellent and innovative care to address the long-term health for uninsured and underinsured adults in our community,” said Paule Anne Lewis, president and CEO of San José Clinic. “This includes examining the wider factors and impact of our patients’ health and creating programs for treatment.”

Last year alone, Lewis said San José Clinic welcomed 4,719 patients, delivering almost 33,000 total visits and filling nearly 25,000 prescriptions.

“Our patient load has been consistent in recent years, because our current capacity has been reached,” said Lewis. “With additional community and volunteer support, we can serve as the health home for even more people suffering without health coverage.”

Since last August, San José Clinic has served hundreds of individuals and families impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Lewis said San José Clinic experienced a substantial increase in demand for its services after the storm and welcomed hundreds of volunteers from around the world.

“In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the Clinic removed all barriers to care for one month in order to serve all those in need,” said Lewis. “For one month, there were no costs for care for anyone seeking help through the clinic. In addition, we established temporary satellite clinics in Rosenberg and Angleton to go to those hit the hardest.”

Lewis said the great need for safety-net care in Fort Bend and Brazoria counties was brought into focus during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. She said San José Clinic is working with local and national partners to find ways to reach these communities and their uninsured individuals.

One family that received assistance from San José Clinic after Harvey was Stephanie and Jose Estrada. A few months before the storm hit, the young couple was determined to make a wonderful life for themselves and their four-year-old daughter, Genesis. They worked hard to establish an apartment in what Stephanie lovingly called their “first place to call home.”

During Harvey, the Estradas’ first floor apartment quickly began to fill with floodwaters far beyond the levels they had been told to expect. After hours in the rising waters, the family was evacuated by boat through flooded streets and abandoned cars to safety.

The Estradas tried to keep their spirits up, but then Jose’s health suddenly needed immediate attention. In the chaos of escape, Jose’s diabetes medication had been lost, and he had developed a debilitating toothache as well. Unfortunately, while both worked full-time, they did not have access to insurance. With so much uncertainty and only $50 available, the Estradas didn’t know where to turn.

Through the kindness of strangers, after calling dentist upon dentist, the Estradas got a recommendation to see if San José Clinic could help. At the clinic, Jose was quickly seen by a dentist and doctor, then received his much-needed diabetes medication. The Estradas have made it through the long road to recovery and have found a new home, just in time for Genesis to start pre-K.

Lewis said this is an example of families that are blessed through the services provided by San José Clinic, which is made possible in part by DSF funding. She said San José Clinic depends on the generosity of parishioners contributing to DSF to ensure that the Clinic’s mission can endure.

“It is with the assistance of donors like the DSF contributors that those who depend on receiving healthcare services in accordance with the teachings of the Church can access the medical attention needed to promote good health and well-being for themselves, their families and throughout the community,” said Lewis.

April 17 declared San José Clinic Day - Texas Catholic Herald

May 22, 2018 - The City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner honored San José Clinic (SJC) by declaring April 17 as San José Clinic Day at a Houston City Council meeting. SJC President and CEO Paule Anne Lewis accepted the proclamation, presented to the city council by Council Member Jack Christie, on behalf of the clinic’s supporters, staff, volunteers, and patients.

Council Member Christie introduced the proclamation and said “We’ve said it many times… Houstonians are compassionate; they just have to be asked. San José Clinic has not even been asked, but has been helping and serving Houstonians since 1922 as the original safety net for the poor and underserved in our city.”

In the proclamation, Mayor Turner recognizes the important role San José Clinic plays in the health and fabric of Houston.

“The mission and work of San José Clinic has grown and evolved with Houston and provides quality, affordable healthcare for the uninsured and uninsurable,” said Turner. “While healthcare continues to change, San José Clinic will continue to adapt and pivot to address community needs.”

At the ceremony, Lewis testified to the clinic’s gratitude and impact.

“Thank you so much for this honor and this recognition of the very important work San José Clinic has been doing in our city, taking care of the most vulnerable,” she said. “We have been supported by this community solely for 96 years through philanthropy, through volunteerism, through generosity and compassion for those who work hard to make this a great city. We are proud of the quality healthcare we provide to those in most need.”

Council Members Amanda Edwards, Robert Gallegos, Michael Kubosh, Steve Le, and David Robinson also shared their support and comments for SJC.

“I have been blown away by the comprehensive nature of the services you have, but more importantly, just how invaluable you are so that we can be a community that looks after our brothers and sisters in their time of need,” said Council Member Edwards.

Council Member Jack Christie with Advisory Board chair Phil Morabito of Pierpont Communications, San José Clinic president and CEO Paule Anne Lewis, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Board member Bob Schick

Medical Services for Low-Income People | Servicios médicos para personas de bajos recursos - Telemundo Houston, May 4, 2018

El 5 de mayo es una de las celebraciones más populares en los estados unidos y además de fiestas, margaritas y desfiles hay otras formas de conmemorar la batalla de puebla. Aquí en Houston habrá un festejo para ayudar a que los menos favorecidos tengan servicio médico.

More than 95 years of volunteerism helps keep Houston healthy at San José Clinic- Texas Catholic Herald

March 27, 2018 - It all began in 1922 with the vision of Monsignor George T. Walsh, a $50 donation from the Charity Guild of Catholic Women and the service of volunteers from the community. Fueled by a hope of breaking down barriers to healthcare for the underserved and caring for Houston’s growing population, San José Clinic was born.

For the last 95 years, volunteers have been working alongside clinic staff to drive the continued growth and success of the charity care clinic. The value of the total volunteer support provided to the clinic last year was more than $1 million – an enormous blessing for the charity, which receives no governmental funding of any kind.

San José Clinic’s legacy of volunteerism continues today. During 2017, the clinic’s 95th year of service, they welcomed more than 950 volunteers. These volunteers come from a wide variety of groups, careers and backgrounds to provide both direct patient care and indirect patient support at the Clinic.

“San José Clinic truly relies on our dedicated volunteers to ensure that we can continue to provide quality comprehensive care to the uninsured and uninsurable in our community throughout the year,” said Paule Anne Lewis, San José Clinic president and CEO. “Their service was especially impactful during Hurricane Harvey recovery, when more than 200 volunteers delivered care and assisted patients through the Clinic.”

Lewis said the clinic was blessed “welcome so many community-minded volunteers every year as we work towards our 100th year serving Houston, including our 2017 Volunteer of the Year, Dr. Michael Zionts. After a fruitful career of more than two decades in the Texas Medical Center, Dr. Zionts began volunteering at the Clinic. In just four years of volunteer work, Dr. Zionts provided nearly 1,000 hours of service to our patients.”

This April, San José Clinic is set to thank their dedicated supporters during Volunteer Appreciation Month. During April, 98 volunteers are set to receive the President’s Award for volunteering more than 100 hours in the past year. The honorees include students, healthcare providers, retired professionals and community members from throughout southeast Texas.

The value of all the clinic’s volunteers’ donations of time and talent are far more than monetary for San José Clinic – the impact is truly priceless, and the clinic is always looking to add new members to their team of volunteers.

San José Clinic President and CEO named national Thought Leader by New England Journal of Medicine - Catalyst- Texas Catholic Herald

March 13, 2018 - Paule Anne Lewis, president and CEO of San José Clinic, has been named a Care Redesign Thought Leader by the distinguished New England Journal of Medicine – Catalyst. Ms. Lewis is one of only three Texan Thought Leaders, the only Houstonian, and one of just four representatives of a Catholic health environment. Thought Leaders are appointed to serve as national, dynamic, engaging experts who will ‘share their knowledge on innovations in health care delivery and how to spark change in organizations of all sizes.’

“It is an honor to join this prestigious group of health care executives and leaders,” shared Ms. Lewis. “I am pleased that NEJM-Catalyst recognized the need to include the perspective of the only safety-net clinic in the world’s largest medical center to this national discussion.”

Ms. Lewis has been appointed a Thought Leader as she begins her eighth year of leadership at San José Clinic, Houston’s oldest and premier safety-net clinic. This accolade follows her recent participation in NEJM-Catalyst’s “Expanding the Bounds of Care Delivery: Integrating Mental, Social, and Physical Health” symposium, moderating a panel investigating health system solutions.

Ms. Lewis is a native Houstonian with twenty-five years of healthcare administration experience in the local market. As president and CEO of San José Clinic, she has driven the addition of the Clinic as a Texas Medical Center Member institution, the Clinic’s first national publication in the NEJM-Catalyst, and the successful implementation of a nationally-recognized quality assurance program.

“I am pleased for this opportunity to represent the vulnerable populations served by San José Clinic and other safety-net clinics throughout the country, as well as the chance to share our faith community’s generosity and innovation,” elaborated Ms. Lewis. “Since 1922, the Clinic has empowered patients and their families to take ownership of their health and live healthier lives. It is important to spread the word that San José Clinic remains committed to providing the highest quality of care in a patient-centered environment.”

In-Depth: Houston ‘Safety Net’ Clinic Relieved After Congress Funds CHIP - NPR News 88.7

January 24, 2018 - For over three months, Congress let the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, go unfunded. Then, the bill that allowed the government to reopen after a temporary shutdown also provided money to CHIP. Hadn’t that happened, nearly 400,000 children and pregnant women in Texas could have lost health coverage; 9 million nationwide.

CHIP is a federal program meant to be a safety net for some of the most vulnerable people: those who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and yet don’t have access to other insurance. Houston’s San José Clinic gets those who don’t qualify. It bills itself as one of  the city’s  first “safety net clinics,” providing affordable healthcare for the uninsured and uninsurable.

Dr. Diana Grair is with the clinic. She says she’s grateful to be able to help her patients but, she warns,  the clinic can only do so much.

“It’s still frustrating: when you have a patient that needs surgery, for example. I mean, I cannot help those patients,” says Grair. “And for CHIP, I mean, that’s even more important. Because I feel like those children that are here have no way of getting insurance, are sick or, even worse, have some sort of developmental issue. And we are not able to help with that.”

In 2016, 48 pct of San José Clinic’s patients lived at or below the poverty line: making a little over $24,000 a year, for a family of four. Only about 6 percent of the clinic’s patients are children, but a lot of Grair’s patients have kids who are on CHIP.

“For these kinds of families, at least when it comes to their children, having that health care coverage and having that insurance, for them, that’s much more important than their own health,” said Grair. “And so we need that coverage, we need that kind of care.”

Teresa Vasquez, 45, is one Grair’s patients. She has five children: four are on CHIP.

“Our problem is that we live day-to-day on paycheck-to-paycheck,” Vasquez says in Spanish. “The money that we make is always accounted for by existing expenses. Doctor visits are an additional expense, and CHIP is very important to all, children and adults.”

Heidi Bunyan is San José Clinic’s Chief Operations Officer. She says had CHIP gone away, they would have had to react quickly.

But, Bunyan highlights, if programs like CHIP aren’t funded, it’s not just that the care goes away. “That, in fact, will not happen. It might even get exacerbated, because these kids aren’t being taken care of regularly. And, so, whatever diagnosis they have gets exacerbated because their parents are scared to take them anywhere. What happens at that point? I mean, it’s really a huge snowball effect,” she says.

Funding for San José Clinic isn’t unlimited. They’re not funded by the government. They don’t take insurance, so that usual reimbursement doesn’t exist. Patients are asked to make a contribution toward the costs for their care, based on their annual income. But, Bunyan says their operations are fully funded by donations and grants. And that’s difficult, since the state of Texas has the highest uninsured population in the country.

According to First Focus, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C., since CHIP was enacted in 1997 the uninsured rate for kids nationwide dropped by nearly 68 percent.

CHIP now insures 9 million children and pregnant women… at least until 2023.


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