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Amerigroup Joins Texas Health Science Centers to Increase Border Healthcare Access and Redefine What’s Possible in Rural Health

·4-min read

Amerigroup supports have established scholarships for students studying rural health, enabled medical missions to administer care and funded the construction of clinical housing in the border town of Presidio.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas, December 06, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Amerigroup Texas, one of the state’s largest coordinators of managed healthcare, has joined The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (UNTHSC) and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in a collaboration that aims to increase healthcare access, address rural health disparities and improve health outcomes in one of Texas’s most medically underserved border towns.

Amerigroup funding and supports have made it possible to host multiple medical missions to the border town of Presidio, where students and supervising faculty of UNTHSC’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) are currently offering free health clinics to residents, and where TTUHSC providers offer care year-round. Additional Amerigroup funding has also covered costs to construct housing in Presidio, so visiting healthcare providers have a place to stay while on medical missions. Furthermore, Amerigroup has provided more than $100,000 to create scholarships for students at TTUHSC, TCOM and other institutions around the state who are studying rural health.

"Presidio is a microcosm — it demonstrates Amerigroup’s commitment to addressing our state’s most challenging health disparities," said Greg Thompson, President of Amerigroup Texas. "In this community and far beyond, we are increasing healthcare access and equity to lay the foundation for a better, healthier Texas. Our collaboration with these committed Texas institutions, and our efforts in Presidio, stand as best-practices examples of how to reinvent healthcare delivery to redefine what’s possible in treating people when they are sick, helping people to stay healthy and promoting healthier communities."

Texas is home to the largest rural population of any state, and more than a quarter of Texans live in medically underserved counties. Presidio, a rural border town that is 90 miles from the nearest hospital, has struggled to overcome some of the state’s most extreme health disparities. More than a third of Presidio’s population does not have health insurance, nearly 35 percent of adults are in poor health and the poverty rate is more than twice the national median. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, Presidio falls into an area that is classified as a Health Professional Shortage Area.

"We are so grateful for Amerigroup and their support of our Rural Osteopathic Medical Education (ROME) to give our students an opportunity like this," said Dr. Frank Filipetto, Dean and Everett Endowed Professor at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. "Our students will gain invaluable experience on this trip, and this partnership gives them the opportunity to practice in rural communities that one day we hope to see them in."

By sponsoring medical missions to Presidio and rural health scholarships, Amerigroup is not only offering residents access to critically needed care, but also giving students the opportunity to gain invaluable, hands-on experience that helps them better understand the unique needs of rural communities. Also, visiting healthcare providers often travel hundreds of miles to serve people in Presidio, so the addition of the Amerigroup-sponsored housing solves lodging challenges and allows more time and flexibility to serve more people. Furthermore, the Amerigroup rural health scholarships help address rural healthcare worker shortages by building a pipeline of medical professionals who are committed and capable of equitably serving the unique needs of rural Texans.

"The solutions innovated by Amerigroup, in partnership with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and other institutions, to enhance health outcomes and strengthen the Presidio community stand as a prime and important national example of how health care can overcome rural health disparities and redefine what is possible in some of our nation’s most vulnerable communities," said Dr. Timothy Benton, TTUHSC regional dean for the Permian Basin campus. "We are proud of the community-level focus and coordinated approach that is helping Amerigroup holistically shape positive outcomes in rural Texas, and we look forward to launching similar efforts across many more rural communities that we serve."

Amerigroup, its parent organization and its affiliated health plans have been at the forefront of creating and supporting programs that focus on health equity, build connections, improve health outcomes and remove barriers to care. As part of its Community Health strategy, the organization has taken on the task of identifying the nation’s most pressing needs, disparities and healthcare industry challenges to then develop innovations that make healthcare simpler, improve lives, strengthen communities and lay the foundation for a better future. To learn more about these community health initiatives, visit https://www.anthemcorporateresponsibility.com/community-health-initiatives.

ABOUT AMERIGROUP TEXAS

Amerigroup Texas helps improve healthcare access and quality for more than a million Texans by developing innovative care management programs and services. Consumers are assured care that is not only accessible, but also accountable, comprehensive, integrated and patient-centered. Amerigroup Texas provides ongoing community relations and outreach to encourage consumers to become active participants in their healthcare. Through health education programs, consumers are empowered to choose and sustain a healthy lifestyle. For more information about Amerigroup Texas, visit www.myamerigroup.com/tx.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211206005486/en/

Contacts

Tony Felts
Email: tony.felts@anthem.com

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