AUSTIN (KXAN) – Suvida Healthcare, a clinic focused on serving Hispanic seniors, announced it will open a permanent south Austin site in June. Representatives from the clinic said they hope their services will make it easier for this population to access healthcare.
“We want to be a valuable resource in the neighborhoods that we’re placing our centers in. It is really important for us to be mutually beneficial for our entire community. And we understand that it’s going to be a group effort to provide care for our Hispanic seniors. And we feel like we’re just the missing puzzle piece,” said Vanessa Garcia, neighborhood center director for Suvida.
Suvida’s goal is to focus on understanding the cultural values of Latinos where their clinics are located. Each center will have a “guia” – the Spanish word for “guide” – who will work with the patients and their family members to make navigating healthcare less overwhelming.
“We’re focused on the culturally relevant care to our Hispanic community and our Hispanic seniors,” Garcia said. “We understand that care for our patients’ doesn’t involve just the patient but the entire family. And we want to cater to our “abuelitos” and “abuelitas” [who] are in high need in our area,” she continued.
The Hispanic population has higher disproportionate rates of several chronic health conditions and the highest uninsured rates of any racial group in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mexicans and Puerto Ricans are twice as likely to die from diabetes than non-Hispanic white people. Mexicans are also nearly twice as likely to die of chronic liver disease than white people, according to the CDC.
“I think if we can bring it back down to the basics, where there’s simple education for things like our diet – a really sensitive subject,” Garcia said. “We want to provide a safe space and open space for the community to feel like they’re welcome.”
Suvida works with Medicare and will provide resources to help patients enroll. They already have three clinics in Houston and a temporary clinic in Austin. Garcia said they have plans to open 40 centers around the country in the next five years. Within the year, Suvida will open a second Travis County clinic in north Austin.
“When a Latino visits a clinic, you might feel like it’s the most dreadful thing in the world – probably worse than going to the DMV. So when you come to us, we want you to feel like you’re with family,” Garcia said.