Nonprofit moves wellness center to Oak Park

PCC Community Wellness will still have a facility at 5425 W. Lake St.

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By Igor Studenkov

Contributing Reporter

PCC Community Wellness Center has moved its second Austin community wellness center from Loretto Hospital to West Suburban Medical Center hospital in Oak Park. The move is something of a homecoming for the Oak Park-based health care provider. As its website notes, it started out as a three-room clinic inside the center, but it has since spun off into a separate non-profit.

According to Alexandra T. Chavez, PCC's Development Coordinator, the move was made in order to expand capacity and make it easier for their patients to access the hospital's services. Patients who live closer to Loretto can still take advantage of the services provided at its other Austin facility. The PCC Austin Health Center is located at 5425 W. Lake St, and it provides the same services as the new health center does.

As PCC's website notes, the center was founded specifically to offer childbirth-related services to the "underserved" residents of Austin, a neighborhood located across the street from the hospital. Since then, PCC has opened a number of community wellness centers in Austin, East Garfield Park, Oak Park, Berwyn and other nearby Chicago neighborhoods and western suburbs.  

Chavez told Austin Weekly News that they decided to move from Loretto Hospital to increase space and improve connections with its other health centers at West Suburban Medical Center. The centers include a walk-in clinic and a clinic centered on pregnancy care and child care. 

"The decision to move services to WSMC was made, in part, to increase appointment access with more exam rooms and access to providers at PCC's two other WSMC based clinics," she said. "We can also offer care continuity for hospitalized patients, as PCC staffs the Family Birth Place and Family Medicine Service unit." 

Chavez added that the walk-in clinic offers urgent care, opioid treatment and "sports medicine."  She said that all three clinics are now located on the same campus would make it easier to transfer patients, if necessary.

The center has been relocated to the hospital's office building at 1 Erie Court, Suite 7140.  According to PCC's press release, it is accepting new patients, offering primary care, behavioral health care and support services. Chavez said that it includes all of the services offered at Austin Health Center, except dental services. 

The relocated health center is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Unlike the Austin Health Center, it isn't open on Saturday mornings.  

Patients can schedule an appointment by calling (773) 537-0020. In addition to being able to access other PCC facilities at WSMC, the patients will be able to access services from the hospital itself. 

"PCC has formal agreements with WSMC for inpatient care," Chavez said. "The hospital also handles the majority of PCC patient deliveries — over 1,200 a year. Patients can deliver with a PCC doctor or midwife at the hospital's traditional birthing rooms or Alternative Birthing Center."

Like all PCC health centers, the relocated center accepts Medicaid and Medicare plans. If the patients don't have any health insurance whatsoever and they earn less than 200 percent of the current federal poverty level, they are charged based on a sliding scale. 

As Chavez explained, the exact fee is calculated based on income, how big their household is and whether they have a spouse or children as dependents. 

Chavez added that, if a patient is uninsured, PCC tries to help them get insurance first.

"PCC's Financial Counselors can help uninsured patients apply for Medicaid benefits or other health insurance," she said. "If an individual is not eligible for health insurance, the Financial Counselor can help patients apply for the sliding fee scale. If that person is not eligible for the sliding fee scale, they can still seek care at PCC."

CONTACT: igorst3@hotmail.com  

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