HEALTH CARE BRIEFS Central Health pushes to increase access to care ahead of review
BY BEN THOMPSON
and strategy ocer, at an April Travis County meeting, pointing toward the increasing population and growing need for health care access. Central Health is also elding claims and legal action over its scope of work, spending, and the accessibil- ity to services from The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School for low-income residents. A March report from local NAACP and League of United Latin American Citizens chapters outlined multiple “red ags” of possible improper spending, planning, dealmaking and insucient care aecting minority residents that already prompted some response from county leaders. “I’m certainly confused about the ability of our indigent, medically needy community to access care at Dell Medical,” Commissioner Brigid Shea said. Shea said that question is likely driving the criticism and lawsuit led against Central Health. While county leaders signed o
The hospital district is seeking to improve its care through a decadelong equity plan with a focus on areas with a high concentration of poverty. The federal poverty limit ranges based on family size. It is $27,750 for a family of four.
Central Health is making strides on a multiyear plan to improve med- ical access for poor Travis County residents, even as some community members question how eective the health district has been. The voter-approved county health care district was established in 2004 to provide medical care for uninsured and low-income residents. In scal year 2020-21, Central Health served more than 147,000 patients. County taxpayers are footing a $506.88 mil- lion bill for the entity in FY 2021-22. In February, the district unveiled Central Health’s Equity-focused Ser- vice Delivery Strategic Plan, aimed at improving and expanding services, President and CEO Mike Geeslin said. The plan is expected to take up to 10 years to complete and includes the addition of new clinics in eastern Tra- vis County, which began this spring. “We still have a long way to go,” said Monica Crowley, Central Health’s vice president and chief planning
Residents making under 200% of the federal poverty level by region
West Travis County 8% of county population below
East Travis County 18% of county population below
Central Travis County 74% of county population below
SOURCE: CENTRAL HEALTHCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
on the district’s nearly 39% budget increase last year, they also said they hope to review more information on Central Health operations as the equity plan and related access ini- tiatives come to fruition. A thorough
audit of the health care organi- zation will also come through a formal performance review that could begin next year, and which county commissioners expect to detail this summer.
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