TEXAS, March 30, 2022 – The MolinaCares Accord (“MolinaCares”), in collaboration with Molina Healthcare of Texas (“Molina”), hosted a virtual panel on March 29, featuring a robust conversation from experts across the state about how Texas can increase health care access in rural communities. Dr. David Valdez, chief medical officer of Molina Healthcare of Texas, kicked off the panel with opening remarks, and Karen Brooks Harper, Health and Human Services reporter at the Texas Tribune, guided the discussion about the state’s current challenges and potential solutions.
“Health care should be affordable, accessible and equitable for all, no matter your location,” said Dr. Valdez. “Especially now, as the COVID-19 pandemic brought on new challenges for the health care industry, we need to think differently about how we can improve access for underserved populations so that those in rural areas don’t have to worry about where to find high-quality care close to home. I’m thankful for the work our panelists are doing around the state, and Molina is proud to partner with them to advance solutions for Texans.”
Even as Texas’ population continues to boom post-pandemic, a measure of the state’s health system performance ranked it 42nd in the nation due to lack of access and affordability. This is especially true in rural areas where staffing shortages, limited funding and a shortage of options, including specialty care, contribute to health care deserts around the state. Since 2005, 24 rural hospitals have closed in Texas — more than any other state — and patients sometimes have to drive hundreds of miles just to receive care to address specific concerns.
The virtual panel discussed these challenges, as well as scalable, on-the-ground solutions to address the needs of patients around the state. Kelly Cheek, director of the Texas Rural Health Association; John Henderson, president and CEO of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH); Dr. Stacey Silverman, assistant vice chancellor for academic planning & policy at the Texas A&M University System; and Dr. Russell Thomas, Jr., family physician in Eagle Lake, Texas, participated as panelists and spoke to the issues and solutions based on their experiences with patients, medical providers, hospitals, policymakers and workforce initiatives.
The full panel discussion can be viewed here.
About the MolinaCares Accord
Established by Molina Healthcare, Inc., The MolinaCares Accord oversees a community investment platform created to improve the health and well-being of disadvantaged populations by funding meaningful, measurable, and innovative programs and solutions that improve health, life, and living in local communities.
About Molina Healthcare of Texas
Molina Healthcare of Texas has been providing government-funded health care since 2006. The Company serves members through Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare, Medicare-Medicaid (Duals) and Health Insurance Exchange programs, with service areas across Texas. Through its locally operated health plans, Molina Healthcare, Inc., a FORTUNE 500 company, served approximately 5.2 million members as of December 31, 2021. For more information about Molina Healthcare of Texas, visit MolinaHealthcare.com