Health Care Edition 2020
respondents said they “strongly agree” they have the ability to pay rent for the next threemonths compared to 53% of non-white respondents. Meme Styles, founder and president of Measure Austin, said the results, along with recent protests against social injustice, show Austin is not as progres- sive as the city likes to believe. “When we're hit with a pandemic—or an uprising— that’s when your true progress is tested. We failed the test when it comes to COVID-19,” Styles said. Thepost-pandemic future In a June 11memowritten toMayor Steve Adler and Austin City Council about the city’s response to the coronavirus disparities, APHacting Director Adrienne Sturrup wrote that the response and recovery from the virus are expected to continue through 2021. Jay Fox, president of Baylor Scott &
The county health provider owns 14 acres of land at the site of the former University Medical Center Brackenridge Hospital. Demolition is underway to make way for a 17-story oce tower that will house some of Dell Medical School’s oces. Central Health will receive more than $5 million in lease and rent revenue over the next three years to fund its outreach eorts to underserved communities such as Hornsby Bend, Colony Park and Del Valle. Another milestone for the zone will come July 30, when City Council will have a hearing on a zon- ing overlay for Central Health’s property laying out the restrictions and uses for future redevelopment. Michele Van Hyfte, vice president of urban design at the Downtown Austin Alliance, said it will be another step toward making the zone a reality. “We’re very excited it’s gone from an idea to con- struction,” Van Hyfte said. Geronimo Rodriguez, chief advocacy ocer for Ascension Texas, has been working with the health care provider since 2006 on issues such as workforce development, diversity and inclusion. He said he hopes the pandemic and the protests will shift the community’s perspective. “They have either broken people or broken them open. If they break someone, they’re leading them to being hard-hearted. I think a lot of people are break- ing open, leaning in, striving and desiring to be in community with their fellow human beings,” Rodri- guez said. Mullen said the path to truly creating a more just health care system in Austin will require more than technical improvements such as increasing use of telemedicine and the construction of the Innovation Zone—it will require community leaders turning the mirror on themselves. “What’s the system we want to build so that we don’t apply some new technical solutions, but never x the underlying problems to eliminate the dispari- ties? That’s hard. But that’s transformational leader- ship, and that’s what this time calls for,” Mullen said. Christopher Neely contributed to this report.
White Health for the Austin and Round Rock region, said one challenge during this time will be to continue navigating the pandemic while helping communities see hospitals and clinics as a safe place to receive care for other needs. Telemedicine may be a part of the long-term solution, according to experts and care providers. Ascension Texas, CommUnityCare and Baylor Scott & White all reported conducting more than 60% of their appointments via telehealth over the last few months, a trend that may continue after the virus is gone to provide patients an avenue for care that does not require a trip to the doctor. For Central Health, the growing Innovation Zone at the northeast corner of downtown Austin is a major piece of its ability to care for Austin residents in the post-pandemic future.
Since mid-April, clinical health provider CommUnityCare has provided thousands of free coronavirus tests for Austin residents. The results show clear contrasts between how the virus has aected residents based on race and geography. Data is accurate as of June 14.
ZIP codes with highest positive rates ZIP codes with lowest positive rates Total returned tests: 1,643 Total positive tests: 327 ZIP codes more than 20% Hispanic ZIP codes less than 20% Hispanic Total returned tests: 424 Total positive tests: 14
SOURCE: COMMUNITYCARE, U.S. CENSUS BUREAU COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
For more information, visit communityimpact.com .
Who is being HOSP I TAL I ZED?
Since late April, Hispanic and Latino residents have made up more than half of coronavirus hospitalizations in the Central Texas area despite making up about one-third of the area population.
CITY OF AUSTIN POPULATION KEY
Hispanic/Latino White only
Asian only/other races
10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%
Hispanic/Latino Black or African American alone
Total Population 2018 964,243
Other race/two or more races
SOURCES: AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, U.S. CENSUS BUREAUCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
CENTRAL AUSTIN EDITION • JUNE 2020
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