Indigent Health Care in Texas

The Health Services District Approach  

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Abstract of Journal Article - November 2006  

By Paul Villas , DEd, and E. Linda Villareal, MD

The 76th Texas Legislature approved the establishment of health services districts to improve indigent health care services and the construction of new clinic facilities to replace the South Texas Healthcare System in the Rio Grande Valley. In 2002, the Hidalgo and Cameron County Commissioners' Courts formed the Rio Grande Valley Health Services District (RGVHDS) to provide health-related services to the indigent population.

The replacement facilities in Cameron and Hidalgo counties will provide primary and specialty care through a gatekeeper managed care plan and will use a Hub and Spoke system requiring the indigent to obtain health care services from a network of providers. Funding for the RGVHSD comes from the counties' general funds and the Texas tobacco settlement money. The RGVHSD is interested in implementing a disease prevention and health promotion model - getting system users to develop a disease prevention mind-set instead of waiting to access costly emergency room hospitalization. 

November 2006 Texas Medicine Contents
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