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OHI (Ocean Health Initiatives), a federally qualified health care center, with locations in Lakewood, Toms River, and Manahawkin, has established a Health Exchange Marketplace Department to assist the public in understanding information about affordable health insurance coverage in advance of the Affordable Care Act, which begins on January 1, 2014.
The department is now made up of Beatriz C. Patino, Brick, the coordinator of the Health Exchange Marketplace, and Carmen E. Lopez, Neptune City, an associate, who will also answer questions and explain any changes. Additionally, they will help individuals sign up for health insurances during the open enrollment period, October through March, and determine what plans would be best for individual situations.
Both Patino and Lopez, who are bilingual, can be reached in the Health Exchange Marketplace Department, Lakewood, at 732-363-6655. They will also assist the public at Toms River and Manahawkin sites, and will be available at many outreach events.
Patino has served as a community health worker in the Central Jersey Health Consortium, Lakewood and North Brunswick. There she performed community outreach for such groups as the VNA, WIC, Womens Wellness Centers, hospital clinics, OBGYN offices, and several resource centers. Patino earned a B.A. in political science from Kean University in 2005 and anticipates earning her Masters of Social Work Clinical Practice with Families and Children in 2016 from Kean University.
Lopez, a certified medical assistant (CMA), has had wide experience in a multi-physician medical practice and in hospital settings. Before joining the Health Exchange Marketplace, Lopez worked as a CMA at Loyal Source Government Services, Fort McGuire Air Force Base, and at the N.J. Urological Institute, formerly Shore Urology, Eatontown.