AUSTIN — A new health clinic is being built on North Kostner Avenue and when it's finished nobody will be shut out due to lack of insurance.
“Anyone who walks through our door, we don’t turn them away because of their inability to pay,” said Berneice Mills-Thomas, executive director of Near North Health Service Corp.
On Tuesday, officials gathered near construction equipment at 1520 N. Kostner Ave. for a groundbreaking for the Louise Landau Health Center. Alderman Emma Mitts (37th) said “the need [for a clinic] is great.” It is expected to be finished by the fall of next year.
The clinic will have 21 patient exam rooms, a suite for dental services, offices for nutritional and social service programs, a fitness center, space for cooking demonstrations and a "healing garden."
“We believe our patients deserve something really nice. We didn’t just throw something up. We’re try to get them the best quality building, the best quality care, the best quality of employees,” Mills-Thomas said.
Construction of the 27,500 square-foot facility is partially funded with about $4 million in federal grant money from President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Near North Health officials say the facility will hire more than 50 staffers who will focus on preventive care and promotion of healthy lifestyles. About three quarters of Near North's patients have incomes below the federal poverty level.
Near North operates eight other primary care sites throughout the city, as well as three centers specializing in care for women, infants and children.