Metro Health Receives Funding to Focus on Prevention

By SA2020 | Oct 28 2013

NewMHLogoIn December 2011, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a waiver allowing the state to expand Medicaid managed care while providing incentive payments to hospitals, local health departments and mental health providers to fund health care improvements and other innovations for entities that service large numbers of Medicaid and uninsured patients.  Recognizing the important role local health departments play in developing strategies and solutions to health care issues and advocating for prevention, Texas set aside 5% of its total allocation to be spent by local health departments who would choose to participate in the new Delivery System Reform Incentive Program arm of the 1115 Medicaid Waiver.  Metro Health leadership quickly recognized this as a critical turning point for local health departments and a chance to expand upon what public health does best: prevention.

To this end, Metro Health developed six project proposals in the following areas: diabetes prevention, children’s oral health services, HIV and Syphilis prevention, breastfeeding promotion, teen pregnancy prevention and neighborhood health promotion; all in alignment with Metro Health’s strategic plan and many community goals set forth by SA2020 and have the overall goal of improving health outcomes.

In September 2013, Metro Health received final approval of all six of its project proposals totaling up to $43 million in new funding through the new DSRIP arm of the 1115 Medicaid Waiver program which will extend through September 30, 2016.  Overall, this funding will provide Metro Health with an opportunity to make significant strides in improving health outcomes in San Antonio by investing in projects that improve quality of life and health status in the community by focusing on prevention of adverse health outcomes.

The teen pregnancy prevention will allow for evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention education in middle and high-school to be expanded and offer case management for teen moms to prevent/delay subsequent pregnancies to help further reduce the teen birth rates in San Antonio.  In addition, funding will allow for the provision of comprehensive teen health services and provide for outreach and education to healthcare providers in San Antonio that seek to incorporate the Adolescent Medical Home Model in their practices.

The neighborhood health project will assess ten carefully selected neighborhoods throughout San Antonio with a focus on reducing health disparities in these populations utilizing the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) model to facilitate community organization around priority health issues, with particular emphasis on reducing overall obesity rates by empowering residents to provide input in developing health interventions to improve upon and serve their specific local needs.

The diabetes prevention project focuses on expanding Diabetes Self Management Classes in community settings using the Stanford model curriculum which is proven effective in reducing complications and costs among diabetics.  For this effort, Metro Health has teamed up with the YMCA of Greater San Antonio to administer three FREE programs for people either living with Diabetes or individuals at risk for Type 2 Diabetes.  Metro Health offers the Diabetes Self Management Program, a free six-week program that provides support for individuals to take control of their health through a series of six healthy living workshops and teaches skills to safely manage the symptoms of diabetes.  In addition, the YMCA offers the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program. Led by a trained Lifestyle Coach, this program is aimed at providing support for participants to work together to learn about healthier eating and increasing their physical activity in order to reduce their risk of developing diabetes.  And last the YMCA’s Y-Living Program is designed for families looking to become empowered to obtain total health through enriching the spirit, mind and body.  Families will learn techniques to reduce and prevent chronic illness that result from obesity and sedentary lifestyles through educational seminars and physical activity.  To learn more about these three programs, visit the website:

The oral health project seeks to expand school and early childhood preventive oral health services, including fluoride varnish applications, dental sealants and case management to linked services.  This program will expand upon and enhance existing partnerships with the UT Health Science Center’s Dental School to expand services and referral sites for children identified with critical dental treatment needs.

The STD/HIV prevention project calls for expanding targeted HIV and syphilis testing and education among high risk adults and adolescents and will provide for prompt and appropriate treatment for syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases through enhanced STD/HIV outreach and clinic operations, with particular emphasis on case management services for pregnant women to ensure third trimester syphilis testing occurs to catch and prevent cases of congenital syphilis in newborns.

The infant nutrition project will allow for a new “drop in” center that will provide peer support for new moms needing assistance with proper breastfeeding techniques through the opening of a new Baby Café.  This innovative approach tried and proven in other metropolitan areas offers lactation support to postnatal women to increase breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity and duration as research shows that breastfed infants are significantly less likely to be obese as children and adolescents.

Overall, this new funding opportunity promises to have tremendous impact on improving the health of San Antonio residents and will help further support the overall mission of SA2020 goals and improvements in key vision areas for health and fitness, family well-being and neighborhoods.


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