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COVID-19 (coronavirus) Information

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 news and information most pertinent to our patients, clients, partners, and staff 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.

Resource Guides for Travis County Residents

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.

For a complete list of area resources, visit austintexas.gov/covid19.

What are the symptoms?

Patients with confirmed infection have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

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:

  • 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.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of a facemask is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • 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.

Download an informational flyer in English and Spanish

Download home isolation flyer for patients in English and Spanish


If You Are Uninsured

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.


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:

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.


More Options

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.


City of Austin Resources

Austin Public Health maintain a dedicated COVID-19 reference page.

Go Now

The City of Austin also maintains a local resource guide.

Go Now

COVID19 Drive Thru Testing

Central Health and CommUnityCare are committed to ensuring people without insurance have access to Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and treatment. CommUnityCare offers the only COVID-19 testing site in Travis County open to anyone regardless of whether they have insurance.

Travis County residents without insurance or a doctor who are experiencing COVID19 symptoms (e.g. cough, fever and shortness of breath) may visit the CommUnityCare Hancock drive-through testing site located at 1000 E 41st Street, Suite 925.

Medical experts screen patients first. If they meet certain criteria, patients are tested for COVD-19. Tests are free for people without insurance.

CommUnityCare calls patients with results within 3-5 business days

People should call the COVID19 Hotline, 512-978-8775, for guidance if they symptoms or have been in close contact with a person with known symptoms or who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

CommUnityCare Hancock Drive-Up Testing:

1000 E 41st Street Ste: 925

Days/Hours:

Monday – Friday; 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday – Sunday; 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Limited testing available each day.


Medical Appointments by Phone

512-978-9015 

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 512-978-8015 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 512-978-8015 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.


Message about 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 open regular business hours, while taking the following precautions to keep staff and clients safe:

  • Anyone who has a fever or is presenting respiratory symptoms is asked not to come into the office, but instead to complete a phone application by calling 512-978-8130 between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all visitors will be screened prior to entering the eligibility office. Individuals who are symptomatic will be given a paper application and instructions on how to complete the application by mail, fax or email.
  • Central Health is also limiting the number of people in waiting rooms and offices by adjusting scheduling practices which may result in rescheduling some appointments. Individuals without coverage will be given priority.

MAP applications may also be downloaded in English and Spanish:

Download a paper application and list of documents that must be provided with an application

Complete and submit the application in the following ways:

  • By Mail :
    Medical Access Program
    PO Box 300489
    Austin TX 78703
  • By Fax:
    512-776-0457
  • By Email: 
    mapdocs@centralhealth.net
    (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.


Central Health Enterprise response

Operations Response:

  • Central Health is working closely with CommUnityCare to ensure continuity of care, including prioritizing how we pay contractors for services.
  • Our medical management team, which cares for people with chronic conditions who are transitioning out of the hospital, should see little to no disruption in care at this time. We have plans in place to ensure smooth care transitions in the event we are asked to socially isolate.
  • Our health care coverage eligibility and enrollment department will prioritize new enrollments, especially those who need testing or care related to COVID-19 in the event we are on essential business functions only.

Communications Response:

  • We have posted signage at all of our facilities that is in alignment with CDC, DSHS, and APH recommendations.
  • We are handling each public meeting or event on a case-by-case basis following the City mandates, target audience, and community feedback.
  • We are disseminating information provided by CDC, DSHS and CUC on social media.
  • We are sharing information with our stakeholders, including elected officials, Community Health Champions, and our Community Advisory Committees.

Social Media Toolkits

Use and share these social media graphics to inform the community and prevent the spread of COVID‑19. Please tag @CentralHealthTX on social media when posting graphics from our COVID‑19 social media toolkit.

To download, right click link and click “save image as.”

Facebook

  • Symptoms (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • Affordable Care Act Enrollment (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • MAP Eligibility (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • Testing and Treatment for Non Citizens (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • Who To Call (JPG)

English | Spanish

Instagram

  • Symptoms (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • Affordable Care Act Enrollment (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • MAP Eligibility (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • Testing and Treatment for Non Citizens (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • Who To Call (JPG)

English | Spanish

Instagram Stories

  • Symptoms (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • Affordable Care Act Enrollment (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • MAP Eligibility (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • Testing and Treatment for Non Citizens (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • Who To Call (JPG)

English | Spanish

Twitter

  • Symptoms (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • Affordable Care Act Enrollment (JPG)

English 1 | English 2 |Spanish 1 | Spanish 2

  • MAP Eligibility (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • Testing and Treatment for Non Citizens (JPG)

English | Spanish

  • Who To Call (JPG)

English | Spanish

Media Contact

For media requests, please contact Vice President of Communications Ted Burton at 512.978.8214 or via email at ted.burton@centralhealth.net.

Central Health’s offices are located at 1111 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, TX 78702.

512.978.8000


City of Austin Resources

Austin Public Health maintain a dedicated COVID-19 reference page.

Go Now

The City of Austin also maintains a local resource guide.

Go Now


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:

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.


More Options

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.


Important Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Medical Access Program (MAP) Eligibility

In-person interviews for Central Health’s Medical Access Program (MAP) have been suspended in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Instead, all interviews will be conducted by telephone beginning Monday, March 23. The phone number is 512-978-8130.

If someone comes to a Central Health Eligibility office seeking MAP enrollment, staff will safely provide a paper application to complete off-site and submit as described below. MAP applications may also be downloaded in English and Spanish:

Download a paper application and list of documents that must be provided with an application

Complete and submit the application in the following ways:

  • By Mail :
    Medical Access Program
    PO Box 300489
    Austin TX 78703
  • By Fax:
    512-776-0457
  • By Email: 
    mapdocs@centralhealth.net
    (Note: applications and documents sent through a client’s email may not be secure)

Individuals experiencing homelessness will still be seen at the eligibility office at Central Health Southeast Health & Wellness Center, 2901 Montopolis Drive.

We are monitoring the situation closely. There may come a time when we will be unable to see anyone in-person and will ask that all applications be done by phone. Please check our website prior to coming into the an office for the most up to date information.


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.  


Central Health Enterprise response

Operations Response:

  • Central Health is working closely with CommUnityCare to ensure continuity of care, including prioritizing how we pay contractors for services.
  • Our medical management team, which cares for people with chronic conditions who are transitioning out of the hospital, should see little to no disruption in care at this time. We have plans in place to ensure smooth care transitions in the event we are asked to socially isolate.
  • Our health care coverage eligibility and enrollment department will prioritize new enrollments, especially those who need testing or care related to COVID-19 in the event we are on essential business functions only.

Communications Response:

  • We have posted signage at all of our facilities that is in alignment with CDC, DSHS, and APH recommendations.
  • We are handling each public meeting or event on a case-by-case basis following the City mandates, target audience, and community feedback.
  • We are disseminating information provided by CDC, DSHS and CUC on social media.
  • We are sharing information with our stakeholders, including elected officials, Community Health Champions, and our Community Advisory Committees.

Media Contact

For media requests, please contact Vice President of Communications Ted Burton at 512.978.8214 or via email at ted.burton@centralhealth.net.

Central Health’s offices are located at 1111 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, TX 78702.

512.787.8200

 


 

Central Health Enterprise response

Operations Response:

  • Central Health is working closely with CommUnityCare to ensure continuity of care, including prioritizing how we pay contractors for services.
  • Our medical management team, which cares for people with chronic conditions who are transitioning out of the hospital, should see little to no disruption in care at this time. We have plans in place to ensure smooth care transitions in the event we are asked to socially isolate.
  • Our health care coverage eligibility and enrollment department will prioritize new enrollments, especially those who need testing or care related to COVID-19 in the event we are on essential business functions only.

Communications Response:

  • We have posted signage at all of our facilities that is in alignment with CDC, DSHS, and APH recommendations.
  • We are handling each public meeting or event on a case-by-case basis following the City mandates, target audience, and community feedback.
  • We are disseminating information provided by CDC, DSHS and CUC on social media.
  • We are sharing information with our stakeholders, including elected officials, Community Health Champions, and our Community Advisory Committees.

Press Releases