Exemplifying the collaborations within Medicine, Business and Community needed to “improve the health of all Texans,” TMA Foundation is pleased to announce its Fort Worth Health Leaders:
Individual Health Leader: promoting the importance of health and active lifestyles
Mayor of Fort Worth
Program Health Leader: providing compassionate care for the county’s
Project Access Tarrant County
By the Tarrant County Medical Society
These two extraordinary honorees were selected for their commitment and effective efforts to bring healthier lives to all Texans and were recognized in conjunction with A Masqued Ball, TMA Foundation’s 21st annual gala on Friday, May 2, 2014 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.
A Fort Worth native, Betsy Price graduated from Arlington Heights High School and the University of Texas at Arlington. An active mother, grandmother and leader, she has been dynamic in the community by serving on numerous boards, commissions, professional associations and running her own successful business for 17 years. In 2000, Price turned to public service as Tarrant County Tax Assessor. In 2011, she was elected the 44th mayor of the City of Fort Worth and ran unopposed in 2013. Price has made great strides in promoting the importance of health and active lifestyles during her time as mayor of Fort Worth. She has accomplished this by working synergistically with medicine, business and community.
The Fort Worth Mayor has implemented multiple health promotion programs such as FitWorth, a citywide initiative promoting active lifestyles and healthy habits in both kids and adults. Thanks to FitWorth, employers, schools, hospitals, faith communities, non-profits and retailers are energized and actively promoting a more healthy and sustainable city.
The Walk! Fort Worth Pedestrian Transportation Plan is under development and aims to make walking around the city safer and more convenient. By replacing short vehicle trips with pedestrian trips, air will be measurably cleaner and the population will be healthier thanks to increased physical activity.
The mayor also recently announced that Fort Worth is in the running to become the nation’s largest Blue Zone urban project, a citywide wellness program with the goal of helping residents live longer and driving down health care costs. Working with business leaders led by Texas Health Resources, businesses and education and community organizations have already committed to the Blue Zone effort, which is designed to give citizens more options and help make healthy choices through permanent changes in the environment, policies and social networks. After two years of their Blue Zone Project, the greater Los Angeles area reduced obesity by 14 percent, smoking by 30 percent and increased exercise and healthy eating by 10 and 9 percent respectively.
Under Mayor Price’s direction, Fort Worth has become a prominent bicycling community with miles of new bike lanes and trails. Promoting pedestrian-friendly urban villages also has remained a staple of Price’s vision for the city.
Mayor Price also promotes health and stresses safety and prevention by supporting the work of the Tarrant County Medical Society Alliance (TCMSA). This resulted in the alliance bringing TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads (HHLH) program to the Fort Worth ISD. She attends and participates in community bike rides and educates the public on head injury prevention.
She also promotes the TCMSA’s and TMA’s Be Wise-Immunize collaborative program with the Tarrant County Public Health Department, not-for-profits, corporate sponsorships and community volunteers. Thanks to Betsy Price’s support, in 2013 Be Wise-Immunize served 7,583 clients and gave 19,839 vaccines doses.
Project Access Tarrant County
Project Access Tarrant County (PATC) was created by Tarrant County Medical Society member physicians in 2010 to help meet a community need: health care for low-income individuals who lack insurance and do not qualify for public assistance. About a quarter of Tarrant County residents are believed to be uninsured.
PATC’s backbone is a network of volunteer providers; namely, TCMS physicians who receive no compensation for PATC patients. The trusted leadership and public commitment of TCMS physicians then was leveraged to obtain commitments from others in the community to donate additional needed medical services. Currently more than 50 organizations participate including charitable clinics, hospitals, anesthesiology and radiology clinics, pathology labs, other laboratory services and community partners.
Project Access patients see specialty physicians and receive all other needed healthcare services (hospital inpatient and outpatient services, lab work, imaging, rehabilitation, medications, etc.) all at no cost. PATC’s network of more than 250 volunteer physicians are members of Tarrant County Medical Society and Texas Medical Association and include many areas of practice.
This impressive network of volunteer physicians, partnering hospitals, charitable community clinics, and ancillary providers fulfills PATC’s mission to expand health care access and improve medical outcomes for low-income, uninsured residents of Tarrant County.
“Project Access Tarrant County is about giving back to the community we live in," says Joe Todd, MD, a Texas Health Care member who helped get PATC started. "We have a lot of need in Tarrant County, and this is an effective way to pool resources and deliver health care to folks who really need it," continues Todd.
Volunteering with Project Access allows physicians to donate care to the uninsured in a way that is organized, equitable and safe. The program quantifies and coordinates the donated care, giving physicians the freedom to focus on healing.
Since it was established three years ago, PATC has received more than 1,000 patient referrals from physicians, charitable community clinics, hospitals, and the public. These patients have turned to PATC for their medical needs instead of utilizing area hospitals’ emergency rooms. PATC has qualified more than 350 individuals for participation in the program. Currently, it has 155 active patients with an additional 92 patients waiting to be matched to volunteer physicians. These services have resulted in more than $3 million in donated health care from physician volunteers, hospitals, and ancillary providers. Other founding partners include Catholic Charities, Diocese of Fort Worth, Inc., Sid W. Richardson Foundation and the Amon G. Carter Foundation.