El Centro de Corazón receives Healthy Kids, Healthy Families grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas  

Award will fund improving the health and wellbeing of underserved children amid COVID-19

Houston, Texas, March 2022 El Centro de Corazón today announced it was awarded a Healthy Kids, Healthy Families® (HKHF) grant by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX). The HKHF funding will support BCBSTX’s commitment to community-based organizations supporting children and families who have been impacted by the health, economic, and social implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through this project, El Centro intends to increase access to care and improve health outcomes of 5,000 low-income children (birth to 17 years of age), which includes the provision of comprehensive, integrated health services, wellness services, and COVID-19 response services through telehealth visits and necessary in-person appointments. These services include personalized, compassionate pediatric care for newborns, toddlers, adolescents, and teens to ensure healthy development and growth; COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and boosters for children and their families; nutrition, health education, and wellness services to combat childhood obesity;  comprehensive dental services for a pediatric patient population that has  a high prevalence of untreated tooth decay; and high-quality behavioral health care to improve the mental, emotional, and behavioral health of children and adolescents, which includes the provisions of comprehensive behavioral health services, integrated care, and school-based behavioral health services.  

 “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas will have a significant impact on the lives of thousands of our community’s most vulnerable children and families hardest hit by COVID-19 by providing vital resources for El Centro to serve those most in need of quality health care services and compassionate support during these challenging times.” said Marcie Mir, El Centro’s Chief Executive Officer.

Launched in 2011, HKHF started as a three-year project designed to improve the health and wellness of at least one million children through community investments. The program was extended as BCBSTX’s ongoing commitment to the health and well-being of the children and families across Texas.

 “This year’s grant process was especially important given the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sheena Payne, BCBSTX’s director of Community Investments. “So, we are happy to award these grants that will support and nurture meaningful and transformational projects across Texas. Strategically, it is also important that we continue to aid community-based organizations that are directly supporting children and families who have been impacted by the health, economic, and social implications of this pandemic.”

The HKHF program – which centers on nutrition, physical activity, disease prevention and management and supporting safe environments – has awarded $14 million in funding and impacted the lives of close to three-million children and their families in Texas.

Founded in 1994, El Centro de Corazón (El Centro) is an accomplished Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with three health center locations in Houston’s East End and offers a comprehensive range of adult and pediatric health care services for the underserved, uninsured, and underinsured, which includes primary care and family medicine, women’s health, dental, and behavioral health services. Dedicated to advancing the overall better quality of care for its patients, El Centro is recognized at all of its health center locations as Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. El Centro also provides ancillary services to assist patients to overcome barriers to accessing health care. In 2021, El Centro provided direct patient care to 11,989 low-income children and adults for a total of 44,294 patient visits.