NEW ORLEANS —
A transgender woman in New Orleans is speaking out about the struggles she and others face on a daily basis and how a new affordable health care facility will help make their lives better.
She said one of the most critical issues for her is a lack of access to health care.
CrescentCare’s new, $23 million facility opened Saturday. The facility offers affordable health care for people from all backgrounds and ages.
It also has a focus on the transgender community.
“People yelling that they would push you in front of a car if you are at the bus stop. People talking about that they would rather see you dead on the sidewalk than alive in a building,” Rachel Chamness said. “I go outdoors thinking I hope no one tries to kill me in the middle of the street.”
Those are some of the daily struggles Chamness said she faces. She was born a man but identifies as a woman. After coming out as trans, she said her parents disowned her.
“I was largely homeless. I was unemployed, lacked an income,” Chamness said.
Chamness said she had went without health care for years and received necessary care at CrescentCare’s other facility, which is much smaller than this new facility.
“I got the first comprehensive health care I had gotten in years. Let’s get you a mammogram. Let’s get you an STI screening. Let’s get you an HIV test, a hepatitis C test. Let’s check your blood sugar all of your basic health care that I had to ignore for years because I didn’t have the ability to afford it. I wept openly. I was in the exam room with my nurse and a nurse practitioner,” Chamness said.
“The goal of this building was to give us more capacity to see more individuals in the community that need access to primary care and behavioral health services. It has quadrupled the number of exam rooms that we are able to offer,” Noel Twileback, CEO of CrescentCare, said.
The new facility at 1631 Elysian Fields opens Saturday at 11 a.m.