Hays County, Texas
Information for the News Media
Media Contact: Laureen.Chernow@co.hays.tx.us
Nov. 27, 2012
Hays County and Central Texas Medical Center Leverage Federal Tax Dollars for Healthcare Improvements
New program will match $1.40 for every local dollar
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – The Hays County Commissioners Court is working with Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC) to leverage federal dollars for covering costs of treating Hays County citizens currently using services at the Hays County Personal Health Department (PHD).
The Texas Healthcare Transformation & Quality Improvement Program (commonly known as the “Section 1115 Waiver”) allows Texas hospitals to continue to receive supplemental funding for the treatment of Medicaid patients while allowing additional dollars for improvements to healthcare delivery systems.
As part of this local realignment of health care, CTMC will begin operating clinical services currently available to clients at the County’s Personal Health Department through its Live Oak Health Partners Primary care providers. The hospital will also work to expand and improve healthcare resources that are available to citizens of Hays County. Because current County PHD staff will be offered equivalent positions with CTMC, the transfer of operations is expected to be seamless for clients who use County health services. Hays County will continue to own the Personal Health Department building.
“We have been blessed to work with Hays County on this vital project,” said CTMC CEO Sam Huenergardt, “and over time we will be able to offer more healthcare options to our citizens because of this program.”
“We’ve been looking at this opportunity for more than a year and discussing with CTMC what would work best in Hays County,” said Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe. “Our goal is to expand services to those who need it while stabilizing the amount of local tax dollars that fund our program – our health care costs are currently in the range of $2 million per year. This program will bring us $1.40 in federal tax dollars for every $1.00 in local taxes that we contribute. If we had chosen not to participate, the federal matching funds would have been sent elsewhere, and it just doesn’t make sense to see that happen when our need here is so great.”
In addition to bringing federal tax dollars back to Hays County, qualified patients who need care beyond what the County can currently provide will have access to specialists through CTMC who can manage and treat chronic diseases. Bringing quality preventative care to those who often can’t visit doctors on a regular basis is expected to reduce the number of emergency room visits and provide a better continuum of care for those in need.
To participate, the County will make quarterly payments to the State of Texas. In turn, the State will match those dollars with federal funds and return that money to the affiliated hospital to fund improvements.
The initial program is expected to last five years, with either party allowed to end the affiliation at will during that time.
“We’ve already begun the transfer of funds to the state so that CTMC can participate in the program and we expect the health clinic responsibilities to change on January 1, 2013,” said Lon Shell, Hays County Chief of Staff and interim director of the Personal Health Department. “Hays County residents who need our health care services will go to the same building and see many of the same people they’ve been seeing there, with new faces added as services expand through CTMC. County employees will continue to do those public health functions most directly related to County responsibilities such as screening clients for health care eligibility, health-related emergency preparedness and the tuberculosis screening and treatment programs which receive funding through state and federal grants. In all, about 22 positions are affected; seven will remain with the County.”
For more information about services provided by the Hays County PHD, visit www.co.hays.tx.us and choose the Community & Health dropdown at the top of the page. More information about CTMC and Live Oak Health Partners is available at www.ctmc.org. Additional information is also available at http://texasregion7rhp.net.