The last legislative session in Texas saw some health gains for low-income mothers, mainly through the expansion of Medicaid benefits after childbirth. However, the focus of state legislators was on changing laws and increasing funding for existing health care programs, rather than launching new, far-reaching initiatives. To improve access to medical care in North Central Texas, there are several programs and initiatives that can be implemented. The Education and Healthy Lifestyles Program (HELP) is a great way to promote healthy living and preventative care.
This program provides education on nutrition, physical activity, and other lifestyle choices that can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. It also provides access to health screenings and other services that can help identify potential health issues before they become serious. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program (SANE) is another initiative that can help improve access to medical care in North Central Texas. This program provides specialized training for nurses who work with victims of sexual assault.
The nurses are trained to provide comprehensive medical care and support to victims, as well as to collect evidence for legal proceedings. The YES Dallas initiative is a collaborative effort between local hospitals, community organizations, and government agencies to improve access to healthcare for underserved populations in the area. This initiative provides resources such as free or low-cost health screenings, health education classes, and access to primary care providers. Finally, a university consortium can be established to bring together healthcare professionals from different universities in the region.
This consortium would provide a platform for sharing best practices and resources, as well as for developing new initiatives to improve access to medical care in North Central Texas. In addition to these programs and initiatives, there are other ways to improve access to medical care in North Central Texas. For example, artificial intelligence tools can be used to better predict pregnant women who could benefit from early intervention and specialized care. Primary care providers can also offer a wide range of services and treat a wide range of medical problems.
RhiHub's thematic guides on substance use and abuse in rural areas and the rural response to the opioid crisis provide information and resources that can be used to address these issues. The guide covers specific programs currently being used in rural areas, as well as resources and funds that can be used to support telehealth solutions. Care New England has also published a series of short videos in which health sector leaders thank community members for their diligence in getting vaccinated and urge them to “get a booster shot today”. This is an example of how healthcare providers can use public outreach campaigns to promote preventive care.
More food pantries have been established in North Texas to alleviate food insecurity among the working poor. This is an important step towards improving access to medical care, as food insecurity is linked with poorer health outcomes. The report also presents policy considerations for supporting maternity care services and eliminating barriers to access in rural areas of the United States. Community paramedicine is another model of care that can help provide health services to people in need without duplicating the services available in the community. To support homeless men with acute medical and behavioral health needs, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is collaborating with Austin Street Center, a local shelter for the homeless, and other leading community experts to pilot a relief medical program called Health to Home.
The national program allows retired nurses to continue working on their own terms, working less than full time, next to the bed or in the apartment. Finally, RhiHub's thematic guide on using telehealth in rural healthcare contains many more resources on how telehealth can improve access to care. In pursuit of excellence, Health and Human Services is dedicated to constantly monitoring performance and determining ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the services it manages and of the programs that support the administration of those services.