FERRIS, Texas — The city of Ferris, southeast of Dallas, has announced a unanimous approval for residents to receive free healthcare. According to city manager Brooks Williams, Ferris is the first city in the state, and the country to do something like this.
He said funding for the "Access For All" solution won't come from taxpayers or Ferris' general fund. Instead, it'll be paid for with funding from the federal government's American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
City manager Brooks Williams says the plan will provide mental and physical healthcare that provide "convenience, consistency and efficiency" at no cost to residents
In a presentation to the Ferris City Council on Monday night, Williams detailed how healthcare could be improved for the city by using mobile and virtual healthcare services.
The city plans to partner with MD Health Pathways, a team of doctors, nurses and caretakers. That team will work with local EMA providers, fire stations, social services, faith-based groups and physicians to work on the "Access For All Program."
Williams said the program will offer "convenience, consistency, and efficiency through a combination of telehealth, cloud-based data management, mobile healthcare team deployment, low-cost essential medication delivery, and patient advocacy.”
Here's how the service would work once the app is downloaded: A person has to login to get connected to any of the 200 healthcare staff available. The longest a patient has to wait is up to 30 minutes, according to officials.
“You may need a simple text telehealth visit, you may actually need some more testing. We can provide that,” said Dr. Dirk Perritt, an ER physician in Dallas.
Perritt has been working side by side with the community during the pandemic.
“Hard working community, what we’ve seen through COVID, that community would prefer to go to work, then stay home sick,” said Perritt.
Williams also said "Access for All" is not a government-run program. Instead, it won't use insurance or interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.
"We are determined to not violate the free market of healthcare," Williams said. "But we are also focused on local solutions that meet the needs of our citizens."
"We believe this is a creative solution that shows if you care about people, you can honor the desire for limited government in the choices we make for ourselves while still providing valuable services for your citizens."