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Access to Health Care Services – Portico Healthnet

By Debra Holmgren, President, Portico Healthnet

Portico Healthnet’s mission is to increase the number of people in Minnesota with health care coverage. Toward that goal, Portico offers help with applications for government health programs like Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare, and offers an alternative Coverage program to eligible residents in the Twin Cities. Portico is a community-based nonprofit agency. Portico offers these services through generous contributions from hospital and health plan partners, as well as other funding sources in the community.

Allina and Portico have partnered to provide Portico’s health care coverage program to residents of the east metro area since 1998. Beginning in 2009, Allina increased their support so that Portico was able to offer the Coverage program to residents of the Backyard.

The Coverage program is not insurance, but it does offer payment for primary and preventive medical services, as well as payment for outpatient mental health services and prescription medications. Eligibility is based on level of income as well as living in the Backyard area. The Coverage program has a small monthly participation fee which is also based on income, usually about $25 per month per household. Once enrolled in the program, Portico participants choose a primary care clinic where they can receive all of their non-emergency services, including immunizations, health screenings like mammograms, and appointments for any health issues, including illnesses like diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure. Nearly 300 people from the Backyard have been enrolled in Portico’s Coverage program since the Backyard Initiative began. Please call Portico at 651-489-CARE (2273) for more information.

Part of Allina’s support to Portico is used to provide services of a Community Health Worker, Eva, who is available to residents of the Backyard area. She spends four days a week at the Family Resource Center located at Andersen School and will help anyone who is interested in applying for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare. Eva knows a lot about these government programs, and will sit down with you to see if it looks like you are eligible, and then help you fill out an application and help you through the whole application process with Hennepin County or with the state. Eva can also provide information about low cost medical and dental services, and about other resources in the community. Her services are free and you can visit her at Andersen School or call the Family Resource Center to reach her. Or you can call Portico directly for health-related resources and help with applications, at 651-489-CARE (2273). Last year, Portico assisted over 2,800 people with successful applications for Minnesota health care programs.

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