New Osceola health center could treat 5K more uninsured


OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. - Thousands of families who struggle to pay for health care will soon have a new option in Osceola County.

Officials broke ground on the new 4,000-square-foot Center for Women and Family Health on Bill Beck Boulevard in Kissimmee Wednesday.

Officials said the new center could treat about 5,0000 more patients.

Osceola County resident Lori Wheeler said she has no health insurance and is trying to stay afloat with no income.

"I went to the hospital and they diagnosed me with heart failure, high blood pressure, and it compromised a lot of my organs," Wheeler said.

Wheeler heard about the center, which treats patients who are uninsured and underinsured.

"Since I couldn't go to a specialist, this would be the place to start," Wheeler said.

The Department of Health in Osceola County operates the center and said 27 percent of people in the county don't have health insurance.

If patients have no income and no insurance, they can sometimes be seen by a doctor at the center for $20.

Because so many people want to come to the center, the waiting list is long.

Belinda Johnson-Cornett is an administrator for the Department of Health for Osceola County.

"Since the downturn of the economy a few years back, we've seen an increase in the number of uninsured and so we have a capacity issue at this point," Johnson-Cornett said.

Wheeler said she continues to work with the center to find her a cure.

"I'm grateful for that, because I worry," Wheeler said.

The new center plans to open its doors in December. The cost to each patient will be based on income.