The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is preparing to implement a five-year program under the Section 11-15 Medicaid Waiver. Health care leadership from around the state will gather in San Antonio next month to talk about the $1 billion coming to South Texas as a result of the waiver.
The Regional Healthcare Partnership Summit and Learning Collaborative will offer health care professionals a venue to discuss ideas for improving health care service for Medicaid patients and underserved populations. It’s the first conference to address the Medicaid waiver approved in 2011, which provided a pool of federal funds to be used by local providers.
"We just hit the midpoint. So we're 2.5 years into the five-year cycle," said Ted Day, vice president of strategic planning and business development for University Health System.
It’s largely an idea conference, and projects will be up for discussion. For example, Day said a UHS program begun before the waiver has reduced the number of patients coming to the emergency room for primary care issues that could be better handled in urgent care settings.
"We've expanded our primary care site to run well into the evening many weekdays and added weekend hours so that more patients can go to those places which are quicker in-and-out than an emergency room, cheaper, and more appropriate setting for those less acute kind of conditions," he said.
The waiver is not connected to the Affordable Care Act, although Day said some of the tenets are the same.
"The 1115 waiver is intended to serve Medicaid recipients but also those who are uninsured," Day said. "And there actually are calculations that we make of what kind of impact any particular kind of project is having on those two populations -- the Medicaid and the uninsured."
Topics at the two-day conference will cover public health, the effect of changing demographics on health care needs, and the role of managed care organizations.
Registration for the conference is due May 1.