Dr. Ron Cookston with Gateway to Care approached the Pasadena community about the need that existed for indigent and underserved patients who were not receiving the quality treatment that they needed. It became clear that a separate non-profit health care organization was needed to focus primarily on patient care and to integrate community-based services into a continuum of care to reduce health disparities and improve the quality of life of residents in the Pasadena community. Gateway to Care, the City of Pasadena and Bayshore Medical Center worked together to build community awareness of the health disparities in the Pasadena community. A FQHC work group was created in the fall of 2002 to focus health care delivery in a community-based setting. The community based work group was comprised of service organizations, business owners and other healthcare providers in the area, such as Bayshore Medical Center, Harris County Hospital District, Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, and various private practice physicians. In the spring of 2002 the community, including physicians, potential clients, and other community leaders collectively identified potential members of the FQHC board of directors. At that time, new efforts were committed to developing PHC.

A board of directors and an advisory Board was formed in August of 2003 to concentrate on ways to build access to primary healthcare through the formation of an FQHC. The board of directors included members of the community representing an array of industries. The board agreed to pursue submission of the application for an FQHC to be funded for the Pasadena community.

In September of 2005 Pasadena Health Center Inc. received FQHC designation under an Emergency Act by Congress due to hurricane Katrina and the resources needed to treat the large number of people who had been displaced. The center’s original designation as an FQHC was to have occurred on December 1st of 2005.

Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA)

Pasadena Health Center is currently covered under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). Since its enactment in 1946, the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) has been the legal mechanism for compensating people who have suffered personal injury by the negligent or wrongful action of employees of the U.S. Government. Under Section 224 of the Public Health Service Act, as amended by the Federally Supported Health Centers Assistance Act of 1992 and 1995, employees of eligible health centers may be deemed to be federal employees qualified for protection under the FTCA.

Once deemed, centers are not liable for any settlements or judgments that are made under the FTCA. The Federal government assumes responsibility for these costs. Deemed health center program grantees are immune from medical malpractice lawsuits resulting from the performance of medical, surgical, dental, or related functions within the approved scope of project.

A patient who alleges acts of medical malpractice by a deemed health center cannot sue the center or the provider directly, but must file the claim against the United States Government.

These claims are reviewed and/or litigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the General Counsel and the Department of Justice according to FTCA requirements.

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