504HealthNet is an association comprised of over 25 non-profit and governmental organizations in the Greater New Orleans area. Membership is open to those who provide primary care or behavioral health services in a community setting irrespective of the client’s ability to pay, with a special focus on low-income, under-insured and uninsured populations. Our members independently operate dozens of service locations throughout the Greater New Orleans area ranging from comprehensive adult/pediatric primary care and behavioral health to medical mobile units.
Prior to Hurricane Katrina, the uninsured made up 21% of the population in the greater New Orleans (GNO) region and often faced difficulty getting care. Services for the poor and uninsured were provided through the state-run public hospital, Big Charity, which was shuttered during the storm. Immediately after Katrina, community providers made themselves accessible in any way they could, from providing urgent care in tents and police precincts to administering vaccines outside the casino. 504HealthNet began as a policy voice for these community providers to advocate for funding to develop and build a better health care system than what existed before the storm with a focus on primary care. Today, we have a network of community-based health centers embedded in neighborhoods where people can more easily access care. These primary care sites now provide primary care, preventive and behavioral health services to over 175,000 patients in the GNO region, regardless of ability to pay.