University of Houston College of Medicine to open direct primary care clinic for the uninsured

HOUSTON – The University of Houston College of Medicine will open a low-cost direct primary care clinic with a $1 million gift from The Cullen Trust for Health Care. The clinic will be located on the campus of Memorial Herman Southwest Hospital.

The university said this will be the first in a planned network of clinics aimed at increasing access to health care for those without insurance.

According to a news release, nearly 25% of the Greater Houston population doesn’t have health insurance, more than double the national average. In addition, almost 50% of Hispanics within the Greater Houston population are without coverage.

University of Houston President Renu Khator said the new DPC clinic aligns with the goals of the university’s plan to increase social responsibility initiatives by building equity and inclusion in the community.

“A direct primary care practice will add value to the local health care ecosystem by tackling one of the most pressing problems of our city: the lack of a comprehensive primary care system for the uninsured,” Khator said. “The Cullen Trust for Health Care shares our commitment to improving the overall health and health care of the population of Greater Houston and we are grateful for their support.”

The university said patients will have access to comprehensive primary care services, telehealth services, basic office procedures, at-cost laboratory testing, as well as access to medications at reduced prices. Same-day or next-day appointments will also be available, according to the release.

“The UH College of Medicine wants to restore primary care as the foundation of health care. We have developed a model with strong incentives to innovate the delivery of primary care designed to improve quality and more effectively control the cost of care,” said Dr. Stephen Spann, founding dean of the UH College of Medicine. “We are building our model upon the four pillars of access, population health, social determinants of health and trusting relationships. In this framework, the physician is accountable for the health of their member panel and will demonstrate long-term cost and quality outcomes.”

Established in 1978, The Cullen Trust for Health Care gives financial assistance to institutions providing health care services in the Houston area.

“The Cullen Trust for Health Care is proud to support this pilot endeavoring to bring a new form of patient-centered primary care to Houston’s underserved communities. We are hopeful that the new UH College of Medicine direct primary care clinic will proactively engage patients to increase utilization and improve continuity of care,” said Cullen Geiselman, chairman of the board for The Cullen Trust for Health Care.

The clinic will be staffed by UHCOM faculty physicians and will also serve as a training site for UH health professions students.

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