Texas has the nation’s largest number of people lacking regular access to healthcare. The problem has grown even worse in recent years as more and more rural hospitals and clinics shuttered, stranding Texas communities without the care they need.
To help address this growing challenge, Amerigroup partnered with the School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, sending mobile health units to rural and underserved communities in Central and South Texas.
The program sends 40-foot-long, medically equipped orange buses to communities in Bexar County, Uvalde and Castroville, where UT Health San Antonio staff members provide life-saving medical care to underserved Texans.
“The effort reflects Amerigroup’s commitment to reinventing healthcare and fortifying Texas communities by addressing inequities head-on and making care simpler and more accessible”, said Dr. Cealee Thomas, Medical Director of Amerigroup Texas.
Up to five healthcare professionals — nurses, nurse practitioners, and graduate and undergraduate students — are dispatched for each visit. At each location, Amerigroup identifies patients needing checkups and medical care, and UT Health San Antonio provides patients with staffing, resources, and personal care and attention.
So far, the clinic road trips have connected more than 300 people with wellness checks, immunizations and vaccinations, and a range of other exams and services.
For years, these mobile clinics have helped UT Health San Antonio reach Texans in need, including those affected by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and who needed COVID-19 vaccinationss in 2021. The latest outreach efforts began early last year.
Amerigroup Texas has provided $150,000 to support the program, which is directed by Cindy Sickora, DNP, RN, FAAN, Vice Dean of Practice and Engagement at the School of Nursing. “These visits and personal interactions are so important to keep children and families healthy,” Sickora said. “They play an important role in communities where people don’t always have wellness checks or regular care. If we weren’t serving these kids, no one else would be. I am grateful for Amerigroup’s support.”