Information for Patients
The Central Health Enterprise (Central Health, CommUnityCare Health Centers, Sendero Health Plans) is closely following the developing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in our region and will post information about symptoms, diagnosis, testing, and applicable resources on this page. Austin Public Health is our local public health authority and is leading efforts to research, gather, and disseminate information to the community. For the latest news and information, please visit the APH website at austintexas.gov/COVID19.
NEW UNINSURED HOTLINE NUMBER - 512-978-8775
People experiencing coronavirus-like symptoms (COVID-19) who are uninsured and do not have an established doctor should call the COVID-19 Hotline for guidance.
This number is for uninsured Travis County residents – and established CommUnityCare patients – with COVID-19 symptoms.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Central Health affiliate CommUnityCare (CUC) has applied to be a distributor of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for established CUC patients. We are slowly receiving vaccines for distribution and are working our way through a distribution plan that follows both the State of Texas and CDC guidelines/phases for distribution. Established CUC patients will receive notification from us once they are eligible for a vaccine, including appointment information. Only notified patients will be seen, we will NOT take walk-ins at this time. Notification of vaccines will be dependent on vaccine availability.
Central Health and CommUnityCare are committed to making the vaccine as accessible as possible – specifically to people most disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Central Health and CommUnityCare are focused on an equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution and are following strict CDC/DSHS protocols to ensure those who are most vulnerable receive the vaccine as quickly as possible.
Central Health and CommUnityCare will continue to coordinate with other safety net providers to focus on areas (ZIP codes) with people most disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and other serious disease, and death. This includes people of color, people with low income, people living in areas with the highest rates of COVID-19, and people without transportation.
As vaccines become available in larger quantities, we plan to work with Austin Public Health to establish large-scale vaccination sites to serve people with low income and with no health insurance. Central Health-affiliated CommUnityCare COVID-19 testing serves as an example of how we’ve reached underserved communities with two large drive-up testing sites, and smaller testing sites at various locations.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe. The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are safe. All approved COVID-19 vaccines go through testing and clinical trials before they are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for distribution.
The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19. The vaccine does not include the live virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes the vaccine can cause mild symptoms like pain where you get the shot, fever, chills, headaches or make you feel tired. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that your body is building immunity.
Everyone needs the vaccine – even if you’ve had COVID-19. The best way to stop the pandemic is to take every precaution including getting a vaccine, wearing a mask, washing your hands often, and keeping at least six feet apart from others. When it’s your turn, get the vaccine.
How does the vaccine work? A vaccine prepares your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus in case you are exposed. Depending on the vaccine you receive, a second dose is required in 2 – 3 weeks. You will receive a reminder to schedule a second vaccine the same way you received your confirmation about the first dose.
Even when you get the vaccine, keep wearing a mask. Once you get the vaccine, keep wearing a mask, washing your hands, and watching your distance. The vaccine can keep you from getting sick, but you could still get infected with coronavirus. And if you’re infected, you can spread COVID-19 to others.
Vaccine supplies are limited. Be patient. There aren’t enough vaccines for everyone right now, but more vaccines are coming. Based on guidelines from the State of Texas, frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are getting the vaccine first. The next group to get vaccinated are people 65 and older and people 16 and over with at least one underlying medical condition. This includes pregnant women. All adults should be able to get vaccinated later in 2021.
Vaccines for CommUnityCare patients: CommUnityCare is following State and Federal vaccine guidelines to vaccinate people. Based on these guidelines, established CommUnityCare patients will be notified when it is their turn to get the vaccine.
Vaccines for vulnerable populations: Austin Public Health is currently focusing on vaccinating vulnerable communities. To find out if you are eligible for a vaccine and pre-register, visit AustinTexas.gov/covid19-vaccines. Completing pre-registration does not guarantee that you will receive the vaccine or be guaranteed a scheduled appointment. If you can get a vaccine through your doctor or another provider, please do so.
Patients with confirmed infection have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
- shortness of breath
- repeated shaking with chills
- muscle pain
- sore throat
- new loss of taste or smell
If you are experiencing these symptoms contact your health care provider.
Be sure to call ahead before going to your doctor’s office or emergency department to prevent any potential spread.
How to avoid infection
The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu:
- Wear a face mask.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and war, water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Testing and Appointments
- Testing is currently open to anyone with or without symptoms or a potential exposure.
- CUC patients can get tested by their CUC provider during an appointment or at our PATIENT ONLY after hours COVID testing clinics located at Hancock and Southeast Health & Wellness Center Monday-Friday from 4pm-8pm.
Drive Up Testing Sites & Info (Greater Austin Area) below are open from 8:30am-4:30pm
- Monday-Saturday-Hancock Clinic Parking Lot-1000 E 41st, Austin, TX
- Monday-Friday-Burleson Road Testing Site-7019 Burleson Road, bldg., 1, Austin, TX (Starting 10/17 Saturdays 8:30am-4:30pm)
All Eastern Travis County Sites below are open from 8:30am-4:30pm
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Hornsby Bend Health Center, 14312 Hunters Bend Road, Austin, TX 78725 – This site is by APPOINTMENT ONLY: Please call 512-978-8090 to schedule.
- Monday, Friday – Barbara Jordan Elementary, 6711 Johnny Morris Rd, Austin, TX 78724
- Wednesday – Manor Senior High, 14832 FM 973, Manor, TX 78653
Things to Know:
• No appointment or Dr referral is needed.
• Testing is done in your vehicle or walk ups are also accepted.
• Testing is free if uninsured, if you have insurance please call your insurance company to find out where you can access a test.
• You can call our COVID-19 hotline at 512-978-8775 for more information.
Medical Appointments by Phone
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, more health care providers in Austin and across the country are offering patients medical appointments without leaving the safety of their home. Telehealth offers faster, more convenient access to care, and during this pandemic, it is safer for patients and staff. CommUnityCare patients can call 512-978-9015 to schedule a medical/health visit by phone instead of in-person.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Central Health-funded CommUnityCare Health Centers is offering patients medical appointments without leaving the safety of their home. Call 512-978-9015 to schedule a medical/health visit by phone instead of in-person. Approximately 75% of CommUnityCare appointments are now by telephone, and providers and patients report high satisfaction.
By caring for patients over the phone, CommUnityCare can limit potential COVID-19 exposure for patients, staff, and the community – and ultimately help slow the spread of this disease. We know that medical appointments are incredibly important, and we want to provide them in the safest, most appropriate way possible.
CommUnityCare staff is currently calling and texting patients that already have scheduled appointments to determine whether or not they can occur by phone. Patients who have not heard from CommUnityCare about their scheduled appointment or are wanting to make a telephone health/medical appointment should call 512-978-9015.
Eligible appointments include chronic disease management for people with conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, and many acute conditions that don’t require lab work. Medication refills that don’t require a doctor’s approval can also be completed over the phone.
The shift to telemedicine visits and decreasing in-person appointments will also help with the priority of conserving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which is in limited supply across the country. CommUnityCare staff is screening every patient and visitor for symptoms of COVID-19 before entering a facility, which includes a temperature reading. This requires that the employee has PPE.
CommUnityCare is also moving quickly to offer video appointments with providers. We hope by the end of this week, up to 50 percent of our appointments will be by phone instead of in-person.
If you do not have insurance or a doctor, but you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), call the COVID-19 Hotline at 512-978-8775 for guidance. This number is for all Travis County residents with COVID-19 symptoms who don’t have insurance or an established provider.
To minimize spread of the virus, please call 512-978-8775 rather than going directly to a clinic, urgent care or emergency department.
Stay home and call 512-978-8775 for guidance if you have symptoms such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have any of the symptoms above or has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The COVID-19 is based on risk criteria that will be assessed at time of phone call or visit. There are many instances where a test is not recommended. To find out if a test is recommended for you, call 512-978-8775.
MAP (Medical Access Program)
As a result of containment measures being taken to minimize spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many Travis County residents are losing their jobs, their income, and their health insurance. If you are uninsured and have lost your job, you may be eligible for one of Central Health’s coverage programs – MAP or MAP BASIC.
Currently all MAP Eligibility Offices are closed. Individuals can apply for MAP one of 3 ways.
- Online: apply4map.net
- Over the phone by calling 512-978-8130
- Download a paper application here
Here is a list of documents you may need to include with your application.
- Applicant Responsibilities
- Self Employment Form
- Residence and Financial Support Form
- Employment Verification Form
If you apply online you will be able to upload your documents in your application.
If you have already applied and received a letter from us requesting you provide us with additional information or documents, you can submit those documents:
- Through our online site documents.apply4map.com or
- By mail: Medical Access Program PO BOX 300489 Austin, TX 78703 or
- By Fax 512-776-0457 or
- By email firstname.lastname@example.org (Note: applications and documents sent through a client’s email may not be secure)
Non-Citizens/Non-Legal Permanent Residents
Even if you are not a U.S. citizen or legal U.S. permanent resident, you should get tested and treated if needed. COVID-19-related care will not hurt your immigration application, and it is okay if a government program pays for your care.
Getting Health Insurance through the ACA Marketplace
As a result of containment measures being taken to minimize spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many Travis County residents are losing their jobs, their income, and their health insurance. If these life changes happen to you or someone in your household, you could get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace.
- The Health Insurance Marketplace offers special enrollment periods for:
- Loss of qualifying health coverage
- Changes in household income – meaning loss of a job
- Changes in your household size
- Change in residence
- Change in status
If you are currently enrolled in a Health Insurance Marketplace plan, and your income changes, contact the Marketplace to report the change. You could be eligible for a tax credit.
Call 1-800-318-2596 or visit healthcare.gov.
Foundation Communities also provides assistance with Health Insurance Marketplace applications (by appointment over the phone). Below are various ways you can schedule appointments for assistance to determine if you have qualifying events and are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period:
- Via the following link: https://booknow.appointment-plus.com/yr4hl26q/
- Leave a voicemail message at 512.381.4520
- Email: email@example.com
- Call 2-1-1
As of today, Foundation Communities is not providing tax services. Due to the current situation, all in person services have been temporarily suspended. Foundation Communities is working on implementing a virtual process for tax assistance. I will keep everyone posted as things progress.
If you or someone in your household is being affected by income or health insurance loss, you may also be eligible for local health coverage programs such as the Medical Access Program (MAP), Medicaid, or Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP). In Travis County, call Central Health at 512-978-8130 to see what program may work for you. If you would like to apply for MAP click on the link apply4map.net to complete an online application.
During the pandemic, Central Health wants to ensure people living outside of Austin in more remote areas of Travis County have access to important resources and information. We are partnering with multiple groups and organizations to ensure communities have the resources they need. We are also calling MAP/MAP BASIC members living in Eastern Travis County and sharing resources with them. Below are links with information about health care, food, and transportation resources in these communities.
- Pflugerville: COVID-19 Information & Resources
- Northeast Travis County (Manor & Colony Park): COVID-19 Information & Resources
- Hornsby Bend (including Webberville): COVID-19 Information & Resources
- Southeast Travis County (Del Valle & Creedmoor): COVID-19 Information & Resources
For a complete list of area resources, visit austintexas.gov/covid19.