Practical Help for New Houston Immigrants

Medical care

Getting Medical Care in Houston

If you have health insurance, you should use doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies that accept your insurance. Some hospitals, physicians, and pharmacies may not accept your insurance plan. Contact your insurance company for a list of hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, and health problems covered by your insurance.

If you do not have health insurance, there are some low-cost medical and dental clinics in Harris County. Each clinic has its own prices and procedures, so call the clinic before you go.  If you have very low income, you may be able to get some kinds of medical insurance from the government.  See Getting Health Insurance for more information. 

The rules for buying medicines are different in the U.S. than in many other countries. See Getting Medicine below.

Low-cost medical clinics

You can use Project Safety Net to find a low-cost clinic near you. You can write your address and the site will show you clinics that are near you. You can look for clinics that provide services in languages other than English.

Here are some other physicians and medical clinics that provide low-cost medical or dental care:

  • Memorial Hermann Healthcare System has low-cost clinics in southwest, northeast, and northwest Houston. The clinics are open 7 days a week.
  • Baylor College of Medicine Teen Clinic – free medical services for ages 13-21. There are several locations in the Houston area.  Phone 713.793.3601.
  • El Centro de Corazon offers medical care and dental care for all ages. The cost is $20 per visit. Prescription medicines are sold at a cheap price. There are four locations in east Houston. Phone 713.926.1849
  • Good Neighbor Healthcare Center offers medical care and dental services for all ages. 190 Heights Blvd 77007, phone 713.529.3597
  • Northwest Assistance Ministries provides medical and dental care to children ages 18 and younger. 15555 Kuykendahl, phone 281.885.4630.
  • San Jose Clinic provides low-cost dental care to adults and children. 2615 San Jacinto, phone 713.228.9411
  • Tomagwa Ministries Medical Clinic provides medical and vision care to people in Tomball, Magnolia, and Waller (in the northwest part of Harris County). Located at 13414 Medical Complex Dr., in Tomball. Phone 281.357.0747
  • University Dental Center provides dental care to adults and older children (ages 13 and up). 6410 Fannin, Suite 310, 713.500.5888
  • University of Texas Dental Branch provides dental care to adults and children. The cost is usually $45 per visit. 6516 M.D. Anderson Blvd., phone 713.500.4000
  • University of Texas Pediatric Dentistry Graduate Clinic offers dental care to children under age 16. 6655 Travis, Suite 460. Phone 713.500.8220.

Vaccinations and immunizations for children are available at many locations in Houston and Harris County. Prices range from $0 to $15. Call 1.800.252.9152 to find the closest location.

Getting medicine

In the United States most doctor’s offices and medical clinics do not sell medicine. To buy medicine you must go to a drug store or supermarket. Most drug stores and supermarkets have a Pharmacy section where you can buy medicine. For example, CVS and Walgreen’s are drug stores with many locations in Houston. Kroger, Randalls, and Wal Mart are supermarkets that sell medicines and have a pharmacy.

In the United States some medicines (such as antibiotics and strong pain medicines) can only be purchased if you have a note from a physician. This note is called a prescription. The prescription will have your name on it, and it tells you which medicine to get and how much to take each day. The physician will sign the prescription and give it to you during your doctor visit. (You may not understand what is written on the prescription form, but that is okay; the pharmacist will understand it.) You then take the prescription to a pharmacy, and the pharmacist will prepare your medicine for you. The pharmacist can give you detailed instructions about how and when to take the medicine, so ask the pharmacist any questions you may have.

There are other medicines that you can buy without a prescription. These are called “over the counter drugs”, and they will usually be displayed on open shelves in the drug store or supermarket. Most medicines for headache, colds, allergies, and upset stomach are sold over the counter. You should read the label to make sure the medicine will help with your specific problem. If the medicine is for a child under 6 old, read the label very carefully to make sure the medicine is okay for a child of that age.