Central Health eyes population shift

The Board of Managers for Travis Countyu2019s healthcare district, Central Health voted Wednesday to approve a guaranteed maximum property tax rate.

The Board of Managers for Travis Countyu2019s healthcare district, Central Health voted Wednesday to approve a guaranteed maximum property tax rate.

The Northeast Region of Travis County is growing rapidly, and with it the number of families living in poverty.

Central Health, which provides health care for families and individuals living below the federal poverty level, is hoping to use population growth predictions to better serve indigent residents of Travis County.

According to Central Health’s predictions, based on U.S. Census and Nielsen data, Travis County will see about 133,780 new residents by 2019—a nearly 12 percent increase. The number of families living in poverty is expected to grow by nearly 13 percent, and 83 percent of those are families with children, according to Central Health.

Sarah Malm, senior director of Central Health Strategy and Business Development, presented the data to the Central Health board of managers at its Oct. 7 meeting. Of the eight Central Health planning regions in Travis County—East, North Central,  Northeast, Northwest, South Central, Southeast, Southwest and West Central—the Northeast, punctuated by Pflugerville, is expected to see the largest growth in population with nearly 24,000 new residents predicted by 2019, Malm said.

The data show Pflugerville’s growth will span age, ethnicity and income brackets.

Malm said the population of seniors age 65 and older is expected to nearly double between 2010 and 2019, and the growth will be concentrated mostly around Pflugerville as well as in western Travis County.

The data was compiled to help guide Central Health in deciding on future clinic locations, Malm said. Board member Clarke Heidrick suggested mobile facilities might be a wiser investment as the population shifts northeast.

Central Health President and CEO Patricia Young Brown noted the entity has a number of facilities that are aging or in need of expansion.

Nonprofit gets go-ahead on patient navigation center


Later in the meeting, the board voted 6-1 to give Central Health staff permission to move forward with acquiring a new facility to serve as a center for patient navigation services, near the intersection of US 183 and MoPac. Board member Cynthia Valadez cast the dissenting vote, and board member Dr. Thomas Coopwood abstained.

Dr. Mark Hernandez, Community Care Collaborative chief medical officer, said the nonprofit formed by Central Health and Seton Healthcare Family is working to improve specialty care and centralize patient navigation.

Through Central Health, patients are offered health care services by a number of separate organizations in the community, and Community Care Collaborative intends to help navigate patients through the different organizations and providers, Hernandez said. The first step is centralizing patient appointments across the collaborative’s 24 clinics, he said.

“We want there to be one place; all appointments are generated out of that location,” he said.

The collaborative also intends to centralize and update its process for referrals, which are still processed through fax machines, and expand the hours of operation for its nurse help line, Hernandez said.

Brown said the collaborative has identified a building previously occupied by Lone Star Circle of Care at 8701 N. MoPac to house a new patient navigation center, a staff training room and space to conduct pilot programs intended to help the entity figure out how to better manage population health.

Jeff Knodel, vice president and chief financial officer of Central Health, said the 16,000-square-foot building needs no major renovations and is available for 15 percent below market value. He estimated the lease would cost Central Health more than $360,000 a year and gradually increase along with the market rate.

Board chair Katrina Daniel, who voted to move forward with acquiring the space, noted a previous proposal for a property twice as large and expensive.

“I think taking a scaled approached [to expansion] … makes me more comfortable,” she said.


MOST RECENT

Photo of people attending ACL Fest
City of Austin approves ACL health and safety plan, holds off on final permit

Austin Public Health gave ACL the go-ahead to allow proof of vaccination in lieu of a negative COVID-19 test, but asked organizers to require masking in some areas.

Hundreds of complaints were logged against the Austin Police Department last year related to protests against police brutality and systemic racism. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Police oversight office challenges APD handling of most 2020 protest complaints

Austin's Office of Police Oversight objected to several aspects of the police department's approach to classifying and investigating protest-related grievances.

Photo of ACL Fest
Zilker Park closes in preparation for Austin City Limits Music Festival

Zilker Park closes in preparation for Austin City Limits Music Festival

Austin city staff and officials are pursuing additional protections related to mold issues in rental housing. (Courtesy city of Austin)
City pursuing improvements to handling of Austin renters' mold complaints

New recommendations from a report launched in the wake of Winter Storm Uri detail adjustments Austin could make to its mold response.

Students at O. Henry Middle School in Austin head in for their first day of school Aug. 17. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD's COVID-19 rate lower than nearby districts after first month of school

Austin ISD recorded more cases in the first month of this school year than in all of the 2020-2021 school year. Still, Austin ISD saw a lower percentage of cases in students than surrounding school districts.

Wayback Burgers specializes in cooked-to-order burgers and hand-dipped milkshakes. (Courtesy Wayback Burgers)
Wayback Burgers coming to Leander; fire kills 75 dogs in Georgetown and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Screen shot of Dr. Desmar Walkes speaking
Austin ICUs remain crowded with COVID-19 patients, delaying some critical care

Within the past week, there was a waiting list of patients to be transferred into Austin-area ICUs, Austin Public Health leaders said.

A drone image shows the Dripping Springs Distilling property where a new event hall opened in August. (Courtesy HLK Fotos)
A bar, a food truck and two other new businesses open in Dripping Springs

A new food truck and distillery event hall, plus two other new businesses are now open in Dripping Springs.

The city of Austin this summer cleared four unregulated homeless encampments and shifted dozens of residents into shelters. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Plan to house thousands of Austin's homeless people taking shape, but outlook for local success, project funding still unclear

The strategy's first housing benchmark fell short in June, and updates on how the estimated $515 million needed for housing and services will be spent are overdue.

A rendering shows the new Deep Eddy Psychotherapy office coming to Southwest Austin. (Courtesy of Deep Eddy Psychotherapy)
Bubble tea, therapy and three other new businesses coming to Southwest Austin

A new salon, day care, therapy office and other businesses are coming soon to Southwest Austin.

The city is looking for feedback on its cap and stitch proposal, which is in the preliminary stages. (Benton Graham/Community Impact)
City seeks input on proposals to add decks and widened bridges over I-35 in Central Austin

The proposal is in the preliminary stages, and the city is still reviewing the feasibility of locations and project funding.