Navigating affordable child healthcare at Amistad Health Center


Routine doctor check-ups are vital for a child’s development, but for some families, those doctor visits aren’t happening as frequently as they should.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Routine doctor check-ups are vital for a child’s development and to help diagnose any sort of life changing illness kids could experience. 

But for some families, those doctor visits aren’t happening as frequently as they should.

Parents are said to be facing tough financial situations that have them choosing between whether they see a doctor or pay rent, water or any other bills.

Amistad Community Health Center CEO Dr. Eric Baggerman said that he unfortunately sees parents who have missed their child’s checkups. He attributes it to the rising cost of living families are being met with every day.

Corpus Christi mother Marle visits Amistad for many reasons, but said her primary one is affordable care.

“I like it because it’s affordable, the doctors are good and my baby is healthy,” she said.

Marle said that she understands why some parents might have to choose between taking their kids to a doctor or not.

“Sometimes we don’t have the money, here is where they give us the help we need they help us a lot and they help us when we can’t pay for it,” she said. 

Marle’s son is one of over 11,000 patients doctors are expected to see this year at the nonprofit facility which is an increase.

Baggerman said that prolonging medical health can lead to serious complications down the road if not taken seriously. 

“Some people will come in when they are sick and not for the regular checkups and those regular checkups are where you prevent those bigger things down the road,” he said.

Baggerman told 3NEWS that missing important visits can not only lead to a delayed diagnosis but can end up costing more in the long run if left untreated. 

“There are still lots of viruses out there, gastroenteritis, most conjunctivitis in the eyes than I’ve seen in a while, its really lots of mental health issues too. One of the biggest things we see, in all ages of children right now,” he said.

The clinic sees high foot traffic because of the surplus of services that the office offers. Baggerman said that no one is immune to the financial toll inflation has caused.

“We’ve seen the stress in the families that come here to our clinic, we’ve seen the stress in the staff that is with our clinic, and we’ve seen the stress in our clinic itself, our bills go up,” he said. 

Above everything, Baggerman said that the clinic’s goal is to provide quality health whether you can afford it or not.

“Whether someone has resources and insurance taken care, or they don’t have resources or insurance they’re taken care of, we meet them at where they are at and give them the top quality care they get,” he said. 

Baggerman said the clinic has a number of ways to assist families like Marle’s who might be feeling that tight squeeze even when it comes to affording medications. 

“And then also when it comes to kids just help them grow,” he said.

There are a variety of options for families who are needing healthcare cut are unsure what is available to them. We also checked in with Driscoll Children’s Hospital, which has the Driscoll Health Plan. 

Victoria Morales with outreach and enrollment for Driscoll Health Plan works with parents on how to apply for programs like Medicaid and CHIP.

“So if they qualify for Medicaid for instance, there will be no charge, they could go see provider visits as much as they need to, also work with a specialist. Depends on what is needed for their family, but no cost to that program if they qualify for CHIP there might be a slight cost,” she said.

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