Texas is home to some of the world’s most renowned hospitals and impressive medical research. But our state’s policies surrounding health care are caught in a fragile balancing act.
HHSC is encouraging the use of mobile telehealth to prevent unnecessary visits to the emergency room and save taxpayer dollars. Find out more about this initiative here.
In the United States, average life expectancy has been rising over the past decades. This trend can be attributed to medical and diagnostic advancements, as well as healthier lifestyle choices relating to diet, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
In Texas, however, average life expectancy varies by gender and ethnicity as well as location. For example, women’s life expectancy is 74.2 years in Collin County, which is more than 3.8 years higher than the state average.
This report uses data from the Health of Texas (HofTX) dashboard to analyze life expectancy at the ZIP code level in Texas. This dashboard draws from multiple data sources to provide an overview of Texans of all ages, including aggregated 65+ statistics. The dashboard also includes information on chronic diseases and conditions that impact many Texans. For example, the report shows that Texans living in neighborhoods with high poverty rates and low education levels live significantly shorter lives than those living in neighborhoods with lower poverty rates and higher educational attainment.
People of color have lower life expectancies than whites in the United States. Often, these disparities are caused by factors outside of the health care system. For example, many working poor families can’t afford regular preventative health visits. They are more likely to stretch their limited incomes to pay for necessities like housing, utilities and food.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler is working to close regional health gaps through progressive education and cutting-edge research. Its physician residency programs and School of Community and Rural Health are preparing the next generation of doctors to serve patients in East Texas and beyond.
Medical professionals can help to reduce health disparities by focusing on diversity and equity in their organizations. They can also implement community outreach programs to educate the public and improve health literacy. They can also work to increase access to primary and behavioral health care for underserved communities. This approach can reduce health care costs and promote healthier lifestyles for all.
With the nation’s highest percentage and number of uninsured residents, Texas needs a solution. Without insurance, people turn to the emergency room for care, often paying out of pocket or getting reimbursed later by taxpayers. This is expensive and ineffective.
In my experience, Many of the uninsured are working-age Texans who don’t make enough to afford private plans on their own or qualify for subsidies through the health exchange. They also don’t qualify for Medicaid and are too old to be covered by Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Experts say the best way to reduce uninsured rates is to expand Medicaid eligibility to all adults who make less than twice the federal poverty level. That would bring billions in new federal dollars to the state, help cut costs for hospitals and free up money for prevention programs. But in every legislative session, Texas lawmakers have rejected the idea. It’s a stalemate that could last for years. The Tribune’s analysis is based on data from the Census, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other sources.
Access to care
Texans with access to medical care live longer and are healthier. But there is a long way to go to improve the state’s health care system.
While uninsured adults in Texas do report receiving health care services, they are less likely to have a usual source of care than their insured counterparts. Less than four in ten report having a physician’s office as their usual source of care, compared to nearly seven in ten for those with employer coverage.
TMA is helping statewide efforts to increase the number of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who can provide primary care for Texans. I are also working to remove occupational licensing barriers that limit access to health care. And I are advocating to ensure that rural patients have access to a full range of healthcare services. Programs like Hospital2Home, which allows patients to communicate with emergency room doctors on the medical staff via text message or video chat, are one example. Others include County Indigent Health Care and community resource coordination groups that help people whose needs can’t be met by a single agency.
Robert Michael is an expert in health and lifestyle, and he loves writing about food. He started writing because he cares a lot about overall health. Robert’s health articles are helpful and show his understanding of healing and well-being. He enjoys food and writes about tasty dishes and healthy eating. His lifestyle articles show his belief in a happy, healthy life. Robert writes in a way that is easy to connect with and shows he cares about his topics. This makes his articles very appealing.