Serving Orlando’s Homeless Community
After seeing a significant need for access to quality health care in the Orlando homeless community, Dr. Rick Baxley began providing health care services through his volunteer service at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. In 1993, he decided to form a separate outlet for providing this assistance, and the Health Care Center for the Homeless, Inc. (HCCH) was established. Acting as a true social entrepreneur, Baxley saw a need and filled it.
From over a decade ago to today, the mission of HCCH is to expand access to quality health care services that will improve the quality of life of Orlando’s homeless residents. The hope is to assist them with moving from homelessness to living a life of self-sufficiency. In 2013 alone, the organization provided health care services to 14,074 unduplicated patients.
HCCH serves those who are homeless, uninsured and underinsured with incomes that are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines living in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance are accepted, but for those that are uninsured, a sliding fee scale is offered for payment that is based on the individual’s income and family size. The bottom line: No one is ever denied services because of their inability to pay.
As the current president and CEO of HCCH, Bakari Burns acts as the primary spokesperson for the organization, articulating a clear vision while developing and promoting health initiatives that are aligned with their mission.
“Every day, I have the opportunity to serve and care for some of our most disadvantaged community members,” Burns said. “It brings me joy to have been able to assemble a great team of caring employees who have made a commitment to ensuring that our patients are provided the highest quality of care possible – each patient, every day!”
The team at HCCH is made up of a variety of professionals, including physicians, advanced registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, dentists, dental hygienists, mental health counselors and other clinical and administrative support staff.
The staff and patients currently operate out of the Orange Blossom Family Health Center in Orlando as well as a new satellite site that opened in March on the U.S. Route 192 corridor in Kissimmee. This new site has made quality services accessible to the thousands of people who are forced to live in the motels that line the once popular thoroughfare. Over the next six months, HCCH will be opening two other satellite sites in Sanford and East Orange County.
The organization has an Open House planned for May 20, 2014. The annual fundraising event, “Heart to Heart Gala,” is scheduled for November 2, 2014, which includes food, silent and live auctions, music and stories of hope from staff and clients served.