Sendero Health Plans Delivering Tools to Central Texans to Battle COVID-19 and the Flu

Sendero Sponsors Annual Flu Shot Event Saturday; Distributes more than 10,000 Care Packages to Members to Help Stay Healthy and Fight the Spread of Both Deadly Viruses

Austin, Texas, UNITED STATES

Austin, TX, Oct. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With flu season expected to add a layer of complication to the COVID-19 pandemic impact, Sendero Health Plans is equipping the Central Texas community with tools to stay healthy and access the care they need in this challenging time.

Sendero, the only local community-supported nonprofit health maintenance organization serving the Austin area, recently mailed its members care packages brimming with information to help them understand the differences and similarities between COVID-19 and flu symptoms along with essential personal protective equipment to protect themselves and others from both viruses.

At the same time, this Saturday October 31, Sendero along with Austin ISD, Austin Public Health, Ascension Seton and other community partners is hosting its 12th annual “Boo the Flu’’ event with drive-through flu vaccinations for uninsured or underinsured Travis County residents with limited resources.  This year the name expanded to “Boo the Flu and COVID Too.”  Information in English and Spanish can be found on the Sendero website. The event is scheduled for noon to 3 p.m. at 1211 E. Oltorf Street and is held in conjunction with Travis Early College High School and The Graduation Preparatory Academy.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for our community members. With the twin threats of the coronavirus and the return of flu season, we are providing tangible and effective tools to help our community stay informed, stay safe and stop the spread,” said Sendero CEO Wes Durkalski. “We must not let our guard down. We are all in this together and we encourage everyone to get a flu vaccine and take steps to stay healthy.”

As part of the Sendero care packages, recipients are receiving a guidebook– which is also available to download at no cost from Sendero’s website –with infographics featuring information from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The guidebook was created by Sendero to help its members and the community better understand any symptoms they are experiencing – from the flu or COVID-19 to allergies and the common cold. The guidebook also provides information on getting flu vaccinations, free mental health resources and information on how to access free telemedicine so members can talk with a doctor from the comfort and safety of home.

Additionally, the Sendero care packages include four disposable face masks, two cloth face masks, hand sanitizer, a thermometer, alcohol wipes and tissues.

Sendero has an ongoing commitment to provide information and support for the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In late March, Sendero was the first area affordable care act health plan to waive cost-sharing for the screening and treatment of COVID-19 with in-network providers.  Additionally, Sendero donated and helped distribute 30,000 disposable and cloth facemasks and hand sanitizer to Central Health’s Protect Yourself, Protect Your Family outreach to local minority businesses in Travis County in July.

Sendero Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mary Carol Jennings said: “Flu season hits our community hard every year, but this year in, the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, getting your flu vaccine is particularly important. Flu symptoms can mimic COVID-19 symptoms. The flu vaccine prevents serious flu infections, which can keep people out of the hospital. If local COVID cases continue to increase, we need to keep our hospital beds open. As the CDC recommends, everyone ages 6 months and up should get the flu vaccine this year. And for those who don’t usually get the flu vaccine, because of what we’re facing together this year, I hope you’ll reconsider, and stop by Sendero’s Boo the Flu vaccination event or one of the many flu vaccination clinics being organized by our partners across the community.” 

Open enrollment begins November 1 for plans effective January 1, 2021. For Central Texans who have experienced a job loss or other qualifying life event, Sendero offers resources to sign up for low-cost health insurance outside of the open enrollment period


Formed in 2011, Sendero Health Plans, Inc. is a community-supported nonprofit Health Maintenance Organization affiliated with the Travis County Health District, known as Central Health. Sendero is dedicated to improving the health of the community by providing affordable, quality healthcare coverage, especially for Travis County residents with low income. Sendero offers its IdealCare plans on the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace and is available in Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, Burnet, Fayette, Lee and Caldwell counties.


More than 10,000 Sendero Health Plans members are receiving information to help them prepare for the flu season during the COVID-19 pandemic. The community-supported Austin, TX non-profit HMO sent care-packages with an educational booklet -- available for download on Sendero's website -- along with facemasks, hand sanitizer and other items. With the start of the flu season and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, community-supported Austin, TX non-profit HMO, Sendero Health Plans created an educational guidebook to help individuals better understand any symptoms they are experiencing – from the flu or COVID-19 to allergies and the common cold. The educational guidebook provides infographics along with material from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention including information on getting flu vaccinations and free mental health resources in the Central Texas area. The guidebook is in English and Spanish and is available to download at no cost from Sendero’s website.

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