July 2001 MedBytes: Border Health

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July's MedBytes deals with Web sites that provide information about border health issues.

Border health commission
Based in El Paso, the United States/Mexico Border Health Commission was formed as a result of efforts by TMA and other groups to improve health conditions along the four states that border Mexico. The commission's Web site features a report that analyzes health conditions and public health priorities on both sides of the border and provides a reference listing of additional information on border health issues that covers a wide range of public health topics specific to the U.S.-Mexico border. It also has links to related initiatives, including the Pan American Health Organization, the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, and the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Border health association
Also headquartered in El Paso, the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Association (USMBHA) promotes public and individual health along the border through reciprocal technical cooperation and development of border health priorities through public and private partnerships. Its Web site at http://www.borderhealth.org/ offers information on various projects, including the Border AIDS Partnership and the Border Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies. The latter project is designed to integrate U.S. and Mexican research to increase the knowledge and availability of scientifically defensible prevention practices.

Children's Environmental Health Network
USMBHA also provides information on children's health issues along the border on the Children's Environmental Health Network site at http://www.cehn.org/resources/resource_guide.

South Texas Health Research Center
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is involved in efforts to improve health along the border in particular and in South Texas in general. The South Texas Health Research Center, sthrc.uthscsa.edu/sthrc, reports to the dean of the medical school and provides grants to faculty to conduct research and educational programs to meet the specific needs of South Texas. The site includes information on projects and research, programs and materials, areas served, and how to receive information and materials. The South Texas Environmental Education and Research (STEER) program offers medical, nursing, and other public health profession students an opportunity to get a firsthand look at health problems along the border in a four-week course in Laredo. The STEER Web site at steer.uthscsa.edu/activities.html explains program activities, gives instructions on how to apply, and offers a student reading list and video clips.

TDH Office of Border Health
The Texas Department of Health Office of Border Health site at www.tdh.state.tx.us/border/default.htm includes information on a survey of health and environmental conditions in Texas border counties and colonias , downloadable in a PDF format, and various publications and reports. Also available are links to organizations such as the National Center for Health Statistics, New Mexico Border Health Council, and the North American Institute.

Texas Medical Association
Billing for treating Medicaid patients can be confusing. Now TMA has the answer to questions about issues related to Texas Medicaid global billing periods. An online guide gives you the global billing period for individual procedures ... or all procedures related to a single body system. By knowing the global period for a procedure, you can determine the dates on which you can or cannot bill for another service. Check out TMA's global billing guide on the TMA Web site. The guide has been placed in the public section of the Web site so office staff can access it easily. As a special bonus for TMA members, you can also download the entire guide onto your handheld computer for easy access all day long.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site at www.texmed.org. If you know of some cool medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, email Erin Prather . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  

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