Texas health

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A proposed policy change by the largest insurer in Texas has been put on hold after a big backlash from doctors across the state.

As Houston Public Media reports, Blue Cross Blue Shield had planned to enact a new policy wherein each of the company’s half-a-million statewide HMO members would have to shoulder the full cost of a non-life threatening ER visit if they went out of network.

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When it comes to the availability of help for those addicted to drugs, Texas performs worse than any other state.

According to a new study by the personal finance website Wallethub, Texas lands at the top of the list of states with the fewest substance abuse treatment facilities per 100,000 residents.

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Texas is facing a major shortage of doctors, reports WFAA.

In fact, the Lone Star State ranks 47th among all states when it comes to having enough doctors to successfully treat its populace. The numbers come courtesy of a new report from the American Association of medical colleges.

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In recent years, the maternal death rate in the state of Texas has skyrocketed. Now, investigators have determined that the high rate of maternal deaths in the Lone Star State was actually due to inaccurate reporting on death certificates.

The women’s health care program in Texas still has a long way to go.

According to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Healthy Texas Women, the state’s family-planning program and the breast exam and cervical cancer screening program served about 250,000 women last year. In 2010, the year before Planned Parenthood was removed from the programs, the state served more than 350,000 women.

From Texas Standard.

President Donald Trump has declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. The Texas Department of State Health Services says more than 1,100 Texans died from opioids in 2016. Cities and counties across the state have had to increase services to meet the demand.

Shelby Knowles / The Texas Tribune

Dozens of small and rural utilities in the state have for years provided water that contains illegal levels of radiation, lead and arsenic. Lack of resources is largely to blame — but there's more to it than that.

From The Texas Tribune:

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On a recent report card comparing rural health care among states, Texas received a grade of D-.

The report card, published last month by researchers at Texas Tech University, compared several key metrics including mortality, quality of life and access to care.

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In recent years, the number of deaths in Texas linked to pregnancy and childbirth has grown a staggering amount. By some measures, Texas now has the highest maternal death rate in the developed world.

Yet, as a new editorial in the Dallas Morning News reports, Texas has another, related problem: No one knows exactly how many women are dying.

Shelby Tauber / The Texas Tribune

  Texas Health and Human Services officials announced Monday that they are receiving $47.7 million to begin needed construction for existing state hospitals, some of which are more than a century old.

From The Texas Tribune:

Texas leaders are taking the first steps to make long-awaited fixes to state hospitals built in the 19th and 20th centuries that serve Texans who need mental health services.  

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The State of Texas has come through at the 11th hour with funding for one more month of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Lawmakers came through with the money, in order to avoid having to send out Christmas notifications to nearly half a million children that they would be losing their health care.

Michael Jones / The Texas Tribune

The open enrollment period to buy health insurance through the federal government ends Dec. 15. With the enrollment window cut in half and Trump administration limitations on the budget, more Texans could go uninsured.

From The Texas Tribune:

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Texans are letting sexual taboos get in the way of preventing cancer, according to a recent editorial in The Dallas Morning News.

When it comes to vaccinating kids against the human papillomavirus, better known as HPV, Texas ranks near the bottom. The shot has been around for a decade now, and it prevents a virus that 90% of men and 85% of women will otherwise contract in their lifetimes. In a small percentage of cases, HPV can lead to cancer.

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The State of Texas is scrambling to find a way to avoid telling nearly half a million Texas kids that they’ve lost health coverage this holiday season.

As things currently stand, hundreds of thousands of children in Texas will be informed of their lost coverage three days before Christmas.

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Texans only have a few weeks to wait until medical marijuana becomes legal in the state. But, as The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, only Texans with the most tenacious forms of epilepsy will be allowed to purchase the drug.

Marijuana plants are currently being grown in South-Central Texas. The active ingredients in the plants will be converted to liquids and sold in droppers to epileptics before the end of this year.

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The State of Texas is giving a controversial anti-abortion program a hefty new influx in funding, reports The Texas Tribune.

The program, known as Alternatives to Abortion, will receive $20 million in taxpayer money over the next two years.

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Medicaid is failing children with disabilities in Texas, according to The Austin American-Statesman.

Medicaid services in Texas have steadily declined in recent years for children with the most severe disabilities. The decline is due to cost-cutting measures by congressional leaders.

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For years, some Texans in agricultural areas have been complaining of chemical drift from crop dusters. Poisonous pesticides can sometimes drift as much as five miles from their intended targets, especially in the high-speed winds of the Texas Panhandle.

Dallas Morning News

In 2015, Texas spent almost half of its budget on healthcare—a total of nearly $43 billion. Now, as health costs spiral out of control, the Lone Star State is trying to figure out how to assure the health of the state’s residents, while still paying for state worker insurance, prison inmate health, and disabled benefits.

Todd Wiseman / Becca Aaronson / The Texas Tribune

Republicans in Congress unveiled their healthcare plan this week, and the proposed legislation has many in Texas scratching their heads. As The Texas Tribune reports, the effects of the proposed plan in the Lone Star State are unclear.

Travis Smith / Waxahachie Daily Light

Freestanding emergency clinics have proliferated across Texas in recent months. Texas is one of only three states to allow these walk-in ER clinics, including three new ones in Amarillo.

But it’s important to know the difference between these freestanding emergency rooms and traditional walk-in clinics.

The major difference, as many panhandle patients have learned the hard way, is cost.

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$350 million in funding cuts to help disabled children in Texas went into effect last week.

As KXAS reports, the cuts are an effort by state lawmakers to “achieve savings” for the Lone Star State.

Texas Health and Human Services Commission spokeswoman Carrie Williams said her agency is “will monitor the reduction of rates to ensure access to care is not impacted.”

Amarillo soon to gain new pediatric specialty facility

Nov 18, 2016

A pediatric specialty facility on the very near horizon will give Texas Panhandle-area families increased access to specialized care.

According to the Amarillo Globe, Texas Tech University’s Health Sciences Center is receiving a $6 million donation from the Children’s Miracle Network to fund a pediatric specialty facility, which will be located on Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s Amarillo campus.

Shefali Luthra / Kaiser Health News

If you’re a low-income Texas woman, the state might now pay for you to have an IUD put in, reports The Texas Tribune.