Ferris, Texas, has approved a plan earlier this week that will grant free healthcare to all its residents.
The city in Ellis County said this basic healthcare plan, called "Access For All" is not government healthcare — residents' income or insurance won't be a factor, according to FOX 4.
"It will change healthcare in Ferris. We think it’s a model that other cities and counties can use," City Manager Brooks Williams said.
Williams added, "That's gonna provide basic telemedicine and virtual visits along with a mobile component to every single citizen that resides in our city limits." Ferris, located about 20 miles south of downtown Dallas, has a population of about 3,500.
Ferris residents will be treated by full-time and contract doctors, nurses and paramedics. Non-emergency calls that would have otherwise been handled by Ferris paramedics will now be taken care of by the Access For All initiative, which will save the city money, FOX 4 reported. American Rescue Funds will used to pay MD Health Pathways to provide the basic health service, which would cost about $55 annually for each resident.
In addition to physical health benefits, residents can also get access to mental health resources. "We had six suicides in our city over the last year. That’s 50% across the whole county. We care about our people. We want to provide a mental health component to this and a physical health component. We've got 40% of our population that is under or uninsured," Williams said.
Access For All will be funded for two years with COVID-19 relief money. When that money runs out, the city will apply for state and federal grants.