In commemoration of national “Covering the Uninsured Week,” which runs this year from March 10-16, the San Ysidro Health Center (SYHC), San Diego Kids Health Assurance Network, Community Health Group, Sweetwater School District and Health Access Through Schools, will co-sponsor a free regional community health fair on Saturday, March 15, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at San Ysidro High School.
The health fair will focus on enrolling children and teenagers from low to moderate income families into state-sponsored health insurance programs like Healthy Families, Medi-Cal, and California Kids. Fee transportation will be provided from several schools in the area.
“There are 40 million Americans who are currently uninsured,” said Ed Martinez, Medical Director of San Ysidro Health Center, “and a quarter of those are children. This is a crisis, and it is one of our country’s biggest health challenges. We’re hoping to raise public awareness of the issue by holding this health fair and really focusing attention on getting eligible children enrolled in a state-sponsored healthcare program.”
Martinez said that qualified adults interested in enrolling their children or teens in the Healthy Families program will be able to apply the day of the fair, using an on-site computer and the Internet to access Health-E-App, a state-sponsored application process. In order to enroll their child, parents must present either pay stubs for one month or a tax return; identification with name and address; an original or copy of the child’s birth certificate; proof of child support, alimony, social security or disability payments, if applicable; and a check or money order for the first month’s payment. The cost of Healthy Families is $4 to $9 per child per month or no more than $27 per family per month.
Besides application processing, a variety of health care information and wellness programs for adults and pregnant women will be available, in addition to health screenings for diabetes, hearing, blood pressure, dental, immunizations, and pregnancy and HIV testing. San Ysidro Health Center’s Healthy Steps mobile units will also be on-site to provide medical consultations and assistance.
The health fair will also feature food, live music, children’s activities and prizes.
The uncertain economic climate, higher unemployment, and the rising cost of health care have contributed to a nationwide increase in the number of uninsured Americans, adding to the existing crisis created by the need for affordable healthcare in the border areas of San Diego. Uninsured families are sometimes forced to choose between paying for health care or paying their rent and bills. Many uninsured children are eligible for free or low cost coverage through state-sponsored programs, but many parents are unaware that these programs even exist.
“Our mission is make the parents aware of some of the healthcare options for themselves and their children,” Martinez said. “We’re hopeful we can begin the process of getting the message out there and start turning the tide on the issue of uninsured families. If left untreated, it has a devastating cumulative effect on the families, the community and society as a whole.”
San Ysidro High School is located at 5353 Airway Road, across from Brown Field in south San Diego. Free transportation will be provided from Southwest Middle and High Schools, Mar Vista Middle and High Schools, and Montgomery Middle and High Schools. Attendees will be picked up at those locations at 9 a.m. and returned by 2 p.m.
For additional information about the health fair or SYHC’s programs, please call 619-692-8443 or visit them online at www.syhc.org.