Centene Charitable Foundation and Superior HealthPlan — the payer’s subsidiary in Texas — announced Monday that it is investing $7.9 million for a new multipurpose community center in Uvalde, Texas.
The project is in partnership with Community Health Development, Inc. (CHDI), a federally qualified health center in the area. The community center will provide primary medical care, behavioral health care, youth development resources, college and job preparation services for students and retail space for local businesses. It will also have a tranquility garden honoring the 21 victims of the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School.
“I’m eager to see the positive impact this new facility can have on this area,” Mark Sanders, CEO of Superior HealthPlan, wrote in an email. “It offers more space for healthcare, opportunities for enhanced technology to better meet the physical and behavioral health needs of Uvalde County, and it will pave the way to better serve students, helping them grow and develop and eventually prepare for college or job training so they can be successful in the next chapter of their lives.”
Executives from Centene, Superior HealthPlan and CHDI held a groundbreaking ceremony for the center on Friday. CHDI is still raising funds for the facility, which will cost $20 million in total, the Uvalde Leader News reported. The building is expected to be completed in late 2024.
Working with federally qualified health centers like CHDI is important to improve health equity, Sanders said. CHDI was founded in 1983 and provides care to about 11,000 people in Uvalde, Real, Edwards and Zavala counties in Texas, according to the provider’s website. Nearly 85% of its patients are at or below 200% of the federal poverty line, almost 47% of its patients are uninsured and over 12% of its patients are covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
“In our experience, these healthcare organizations have deep roots in their local communities, enabling them to bridge social, ethnic and economic gaps to deliver preventive care, dental services, access to mental health care and so much more,” Sanders said.
Centene, Superior HealthPlan and CHDI have been planning the community center since shortly after the shooting at the elementary school took place, according to Sarah London, CEO of St. Louis, Missouri-based Centene.
“Six days after the horrific tragedy at the Robb Elementary School, Centene and Superior met with CHDI and local leaders to understand how we could best support Uvalde in what will necessarily be a long-term recovery,” London said in a news release. “As that process continues, expanding the resources available to the entire community for physical, mental and emotional health is an important step forward.”
Photo: Michail_Petrov-96, Getty Images