SHERMAN, TX - Grayson County will soon be getting a primary care clinic for uninsured patients and medicaid recipients.
The county is taking advantage of a state waiver under the Affordable Care Act, that allows states to experiment with medicaid funding.
County Judge Drue Bynum said the program is a collaboration of the County, both County hospitals, and the Texoma Health Foundation. The Foundation voted Tuesday to contribute $300,000 to the project.
"Even though it's a federal program that many people don't view as able to work, I think here in Grayson County we've found a way to collectively come together with a private organization, two private hospitals, and a public organization - the county - and we're gonna make this thing work," he said.
Bynum said under state law, the county already spends eight percent of its budget on indigent health care. Under the wavier, the federal government will multiply county funds 1.5 times.
Grayson County Health Department Director John Teel said the program should save money over time - in addition to cutting emergency room crowds.
"If you could treat them in a lower cost clinic, rather than a much more expensive emergency department, we would save money for those hospitals, we would save money for the county, and we would save money for the federal government," he said.
Bynum said Wilson and Jones Medical Center donated space at the old Medical Plaza Hospital for the clinic. He said the most exciting part of the project has been the cooperation of both hospitals toward a common goal.
"We're going to be able to address needs to our county that truly have been a problem," he said. "Not only here - and in the state of texas - but nationwide."
The next step is to present the project to the state and then to the federal government.
Bynum says he hopes the clinic will begin treating patients early next year.