St. Mary Parish, La. (Nov. 30, 2020) – Teche Action Clinic and the Louisiana Department of Public
Health have been selected to participate in a national research study to understand the impact of the –
COVID-19 on racial minorities and underserved communities. In partnership with Louisiana Healthcare
Connections, Teche Action Clinic and the Louisiana Department of Public Health are offering COVID-19
screenings at no cost to the patient confirm rates of current and previous COVID-19 infections.
Current Patients of Teche Action Clinic
Current patients of Teche Action Clinic can call a patient navigator at 337-828-2550 ext. 2183 to schedule
an appointment to receive a COVID-19 PCR test (to confirm current COVID-19 infection) and antibody
testing (to confirm previous COVID-19 infection) at no cost. Testing is available Monday – Thursday
from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the following locations:
Teche Action Clinic
1115 Weber Street
Franklin, LA 705380
Teche Action Clinic
1124 7th Street
Morgan City, LA 70380
Community Testing Initiative
Residents who are not current patients of Teche Action Clinic can also participate in the study and receive
a COVID-19 PCR test and antibody test at no cost at various locations throughout St. Mary Parish. The
Community Testing Initiative will run Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday from 8
a.m. to 12 p.m. at the following location:
Patterson City Hall
1314 Main St.
Patterson, LA 70538
Additional community testing sites will be announced in Morgan City, once confirmed.
Those who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by a medical provider from their test site. They
will also receive monitoring kits and a daily call from a study nurse for the first 14 days to provide medical advice and help monitor any progression of symptoms. Participants will also receive once-per week follow up calls for one month and check-ins over the course of the five-year study.
Communities of Color Disproportionately Impacted by Coronavirus in Louisiana
Research shows that racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, and the
virus has highlighted disparities in communities of color across the nation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that race and ethnicity are risk markers for
underlying conditions that impact health including socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, and
increased exposure to the virus due to occupation (e.g., frontline, essential, and critical infrastructure
workers). Further, research shows Black and Hispanic Americans as well as American Indians are twice
as likely to test positive for COVID-19 as white Americans.
“We want to do everything we can to help underserved communities get the care and testing they need to
fight this virus,” said Dr. Gary Wiltz, M.D., CEO, Teche Action Clinic. “Our mission is to provide access
to services that improve the health status of families, including people experiencing financial, social, and
cultural barriers to healthcare.”
“Longitudinal studies of the health of survivors are going to give us vital information about this disease
and the disparities that it exposes. I know the citizens of St. Mary Parish are eager to step up and share
their experience over the next five years as their contribution to what we will know about COVID, and
we’re proud to serve alongside them,” said Dr. Chip Riggins, Medical Director for the Office of Public
Health in Region 3.
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on Louisiana, particularly our minority and rural populations,”
said Jamie Schlottman, CEO of Louisiana Healthcare Connections. “As part of our mission to transform
the health of our communities by delivering better health outcomes at lower costs, together with Teche
Action Clinic, we hope to increase access to COVID-19 testing and provide important data and evidencebased solutions to improve health disparities.”
Quest Diagnostics will provide COVID-19 molecular diagnostic testing.
“COVID-19 testing is critically needed in underserved communities, and we’re pleased to team up with
Teche Action Clinic, the Louisiana Department of Public Health, and Louisiana Healthcare Connections
to provide testing in areas where it is needed most,” said Ron Coursey, Vice President of Federally
Qualified Health Centers and Public Health of Quest Diagnostics.
A National Initiative to Raise Awareness, Address Health Disparities
The testing initiative is part of a broader research study by Louisiana Healthcare Connections’ parent
company Centene, a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise, and the National Minority Quality
Forum (NMQF), an independent research and educational organization dedicated to ensuring high-risk
racial and ethnic populations receive optimal healthcare. Together, the organizations will analyze testing
data to assess the impact of COVID-19 on minorities and underserved populations in Louisiana and
across the country. Once testing is complete, Centene and NMQF have convened a team of researchers to analyze and translate survey data, and, based on the findings, provide valuable data and evidence-based solutions to inform the public health response and help reduce healthcare disparities among underserved populations.