Photo from Florida Farmworkers Association

26Health brings telehealth, LGBTQ+ youth support, and health literacy training

By 26Health Central Florida

26Health – a Central Florida community-based health clinic known for providing
access to affordable, quality healthcare to those most underserved among us – is launching a new program to improve access to care for farmworkers and their families in Apopka. It’s new program is called the Healthy Community Initiative (HCI). The pilot project aims to use integrated health to improve access to care and care outcomes for Apopka residents in Orange County who have been hit hard by both COVID-19 and a weak economy.

“The patients we’re serving with HCI are some of the most vulnerable members of the community, and not only to [the risks of] COVID-19,” project coordinator Angela Martinez, Special Projects Manager at 26Health said in a press release. “Many are low-income, undocumented, Latinx farmworkers. These communities have the least access to quality
health care services.”

Martinez pointed out that Florida’s health care system is among the nation’s lowest, ranking 48th for access and affordability, 47th for avoidable use and cost, 41st for income disparity, 41st for per capita public health spending, and last in the percentage of children without a steady primary care provider. According to The Commonwealth Fund’s annual Scorecard on State Health System Performance, Florida ranked 41st overall in grading health care in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The HCI program will provide telehealth and remote patient monitoring services at Hope CommUnity Center in Apopka for Orange County, as well as services in Seminole and Lake Counties, then expand to other community centers in Central Florida. Along with medical and behavioral health services, residents will receive health education and literacy training virtually.

Along with providing telehealth services, LGBTQ+ support, and education resources to residents in general, the program also aims to help local community leaders working for the two partnering organizations to embrace the integrated health care model to improve care management, especially for those with chronic conditions. And true to its core mission, 26Health will offer culturally-specific services within the HCI, to members of the farmworkers community who also identify as LGBTQ+.

Another component of the HCI is the Staff Training Program for both the Farmworkers Association of Florida (FWAF) and Hope CommUnity Center. The Staff Training Program is designed to enable non-health professional providers to develop new skills, enabling them to better address the health and psychosocial needs of the Farmworker community.

26Health will use lessons learned from the evaluation of this pilot program to replicate HCIs in other underserved communities in Central Florida.

This program is supported in part by grants from the Contigo Fund, an initiative of Our Fund Foundation, and the Community Benefits Plan from the Truist Foundation.

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