MELBOURNE, Fla. - Tuesday is lining up to be a day of opportunity for Brevard County's 88,000 residents without health insurance.
First, open enrollment for health insurance begins under the Affordable Care Act, commonly called "Obamacare."
Also on Tuesday, the Brevard Health Alliance is opening its largest facility, a 35,000-square-foot complex in Brevard that will provide primary care, family medicine, pediatrics, dental, behavioral health and patient education to the uninsured and under-insured. The complex is at Sarno and Croton roads in Melbourne, according to Local 6 news partner Florida Today.
"This will be a place . . . of healing, of wellness for our county's medically disadvantaged individuals," said Lisa Gurri, chief executive officer of BHA, during an open house last week.
She singled out Health First and Parrish Medical Center for their financial contributions to help make this complex and five other BHA clinics successful over the years.
Gurri also mentioned contributions from the Space Coast Health Foundation, the charity that resulted from the sale of Wuesthoff Health System to Health Management Associates in 2010.
As part of its anti-trust settlement with Health First in November, both organizations agreed to join forces with BHA to offer medical help to the uninsured and underinsured residents of the county.
BHA was awarded a nearly $2.4 million federal grant in May 2012 to create the regional center. The BHA award was among nearly $22 million in grants given to 16 Florida recipients under the Affordable Care Act. Only grants to health centers in Clearwater, Miami and Fort Myers were larger.
The center will add 60 new jobs in its first year of operation, according to a release. Among those are four doctors, two dentists, one hygienist, two advanced registered nurse practitioners and a psychologist.
The complex also will have two case managers and two medication assistance program employees to help patients fill and maintain their prescriptions.
BHA expects to treat about 11,000 patients in its first year at the new complex, which features state-of-the-art equipment in colorful surroundings.
The agency projects in three years its staff will be at capacity (127) and it will treat more than 20,000 patients.
Since opening in March 2005, BHA reports it has treated more than 54,000 residents for free or on a sliding-scale basis. Patients have had access to more than $25 million in free medications and more than $28 million in free diagnostic services provided by Brevard's hospitals.
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