Increasing Access to Health Care Services
Community Health Worker Support - El Paso
The Health Education Training Center Alliance of Texas (HETCAT), housed in the TTUHSC Office of Border Health, is an integral supporter for community health worker training in the state. Beginning in 1995, HETCAT has played a leadership role in developing the Texas program for certification of community health workers - the first such program in the nation.
Community health workers (CHW), sometimes called promotoras de salud, are persons who, with or without pay, who serve as community advocates and who bridge the gap between population groups and the health and social services systems. They usually work with clinics and other agencies as paid staff or as volunteers. Because they are members of underserved communities and populations groups, they have more the ability to interact more directly with their peers to effect improvements in health behaviors.
In the last year, the HETC has supported projects to certify more than 80 community health workers in the border region, bringing the total number of certified CHWs to almost 500. Texas is the only state to offer a certification for CHWs.
In addition to direct support for CHW training, the HETC has served as a resource for leadership training for CHW program development in other states including Georgia, Colorado and Florida.
In recent years, HETCAT has assumed the role of convener of state meetings for professional development of community health workers with conferences at South Padre Island, Dallas, and, in 2005, in Austin, Texas.
Insure.a.kid. School Outreach Program - Lubbock
The goal of insure.a.kid is to provide concentrated support to identified school districts that helps them build a sustainable system of outreach for CHIP and Medicaid. The desired outcome at the end of the 3 year grant period is to decrease the percentage of uninsured students in the district and guide school administrators to incorporate policy and procedure that would identify and address the problem of uninsured children within the district. TTUHSC is in the final year of the insure.a.kid grant. The program is part of the TTUHSC Case Management Office.
Maternal and Child Case Management - Lubbock
The TTUHSC Case Management office, supported by a Texas Department of Health Maternal and Child Health (M&CH) grant, was created to encourage early entry into prenatal care and to reimburse prenatal care for women who would otherwise be unfunded for the service. Goals for the M&CH grant included building rural referral networks that would encourage prenatal care and delivery, when appropriate, near the woman's home but assure referral to tertiary care for high risk cases, In 1992 the office expanded to include Medicaid reimbursable case management to pregnant women and infants. Case management services have since been provided to more than 500 TTUHSC prenatal patients annually. Additionally, the office has continued the original mission of community outreach to encourage prenatal care and overcome barriers to entering the health care system.
Since inception the program has offered family centered case management support to approximately 10,000 women and children in Lubbock and the surrounding area. The program networks the clinical services of the medical school with a multitude of community resources through case management interaction on behalf of the clients. The program enhances the services available to TTUHSC patients and has demonstrated measurable improved health outcomes for patients.
West Texas Cares is a collaboration between the TTUHSC Garrison Institute on Aging and six West Texas Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) to provide caregiver education to rural caregivers in the region. The project began in April 2002 and is still active at this time. The project is focused on outreach and education to address unmet needs of rural family caregivers in the region. Problems being addressed are (a) caregiver self-identification, (b) AAA recognition as a service provider, (c) assisting caregivers to make a smooth transition into the role, and (d) caregiver awareness of services that are available in rural areas. In 2004, two education videos were produced and are being distributed in the West Texas region. In November, 2004 West Texas Cares was recognized by the National Family Caregiver Association as one of only 20 "caregiver champion" programs in the nation. At present, the project is producing a caregiver calendar for 2006.