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Presidio Programs Show Amerigroup’s Rural Health Work

Amerigroup Texas serves more than 1 million Texans in almost every corner of this state. It’s our mission to help people get healthy and stay healthy, and one of the best, most rewarding ways we do that is by strengthening communities.

Presidio is emblematic of that work. This rural border community near the Big Bend demonstrates Amerigroup’s commitment to addressing Texas’ most challenging health challenges and disparities.

Located about 100 miles from the nearest hospital, Presidio faces a lot of the same challenges as other rural communities we serve: many residents lack reliable access to healthcare; nutritious food and health necessities can be hard to come by; and the region struggles to attract providers.

Presidio also embodies the spirit that keeps us going.

The community is blessed with dedicated, mission-driven people and organizations that work every day to improve health. Its leaders are effective, creative partners, helping us develop innovative initiatives that improve health in Presidio and communities like it.

Local heroes include Linda Molinar, who runs the clinic that serves the community, and Dr. Adrian Billings, who was named Family Physician of the Year last year by the Texas Academy of Family Physicians and has dedicated his career to serving Presidio and other communities in the region.

Over the past several months, Amerigroup Texas has been rolling out initiatives that promise to transform health and address health disparities in communities across the state. These initiatives are by no means unique to Presidio, but many of them have come together and proven their value there. Here are just a few:

  • Amerigroup has provided $100,000 in rural medicine scholarships to students in two different medical schools who are committed to pursuing rural health careers in Texas.
  • We supported multiple mobile medical clinics in communities such as Presidio that lack full-time, daily physician services. In Presidio alone, these clinics have provided needed care to hundreds of people.
  • We increasingly view housing as a key component of health. In Presidio, Amerigroup underwrote $120,000 in housing construction costs so visiting providers have a place to stay while on medical trips to the region.

Texas has the largest rural population of any state, and more than a quarter of Texans live in medically underserved counties. The programs we have pioneered in Presidio — where more than a third of the 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 — promise to increase access, address disparities and improve outcomes in other rural and border communities as well.

To quote Dr. Timothy Benton, TTUHSC regional dean for the Permian Basin campus and one of our great partners in the region, our work and programs in Presidio “stand as a prime and important national example of how healthcare can overcome rural health disparities and redefine what is possible in some of our nation’s most vulnerable communities.”

In this community and far beyond, we are laying the foundation for a better, healthier Texas.

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