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Editorial: Support Driscoll Health Plan’s Efforts to Continue Serving South Texas

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In the ongoing battle over Medicaid and CHIP contracts, the Driscoll Health Plan is the most promising option for quality care in South Texas. Image Courtesy of Driscoll
In the ongoing battle over Medicaid and CHIP contracts, the Driscoll Health Plan is the most promising option for quality care in South Texas. Image Courtesy of Driscoll
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Mega Doctor News

In the ongoing battle over Medicaid and CHIP contracts, the Driscoll Health Plan is the most promising option for quality care in South Texas. The recent decision by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to deny Driscoll the continuation of its contracts has raised significant concerns for both the organization and the 24-county community it diligently serves.

Driscoll Health Plan has been a cornerstone of pediatric and maternal healthcare in South Texas, serving over 195,000 members, including some of the most vulnerable populations. The loss of this plan would mean significant disruptions in care for these families, many of whom rely on the unique and specialized services that Driscoll provides. These services are specifically designed to address the unique health challenges of the region, such as high rates of diabetes and premature births among pregnant women.

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The HHSC’s decision appears to be driven by a desire to create a competitive and fair process for awarding Medicaid contracts. However, this well-intentioned goal needs to pay more attention to the critical importance of continuity and community investment in healthcare. Driscoll Health Plan and other nonprofit plans like Cook Children’s and Texas Children’s have invested millions in community health initiatives, including maternal-fetal medicine programs that have significantly reduced preterm births and maternal mortality in South Texas, as reported by The Texas Tribune.

The procurement process did not adequately account for these contributions, nor did it sufficiently consider the needs and preferences of the communities affected. As a result, there is a real and immediate danger that the specialized care and comprehensive support that Driscoll provides will be lost. This is not just about numbers on a balance sheet; it is about the immediate and long-term health and well-being of real people, real families, and real lives.

The potential closure of the Driscoll Health Plan would impact the community’s health and well-being and have bigger economic implications, including the loss of 500 jobs. These jobs are not just numbers—they represent livelihoods and economic stability for hundreds of families in the region. Moreover, the disruption in care could lead to higher healthcare costs in the long run, as gaps in preventive and early intervention services often result in more severe health issues down the line.

Local legislators and community leaders have strongly opposed the HHSC’s decision, highlighting the significant negative impact on their districts. They have called for reconsidering the procurement process andmeasures that would protect high-performing plans like Driscoll. This bipartisan support stresses the Driscoll Health Plan’s critical role in the health and well-being of South Texas​.

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As we await the outcome of Driscoll’s appeal and potential legal action, state leaders must recognize the invaluable contributions of this nonprofit health plan. The health and future of 195,000 children and pregnant mothers depend on it. Let us stand with Driscoll Health Plan and advocate for a decision that prioritizes the health and welfare of our community.

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