Partner Spotlight: Taylor County (Texas) Indigent Health Care Program
In this month’s Partner Spotlight, we are thrilled to highlight the Taylor County (Texas) Indigent Health Care Program (TCIHCP). We interviewed Roseann Seelke, Director of Social Services for Taylor County, and Domanick Trevino, Indigent Health Care & RX Case Manager. The program is part of the county’s Social Services Department and is a public, tax-supported agency that assists with the unmet needs of indigent residents. All Texas counties have an Indigent Health Care Program as mandated through the Texas Legislature with a requirement of 8% of the county General Tax Revenue Levy (GTRL) allocated to the Indigent Health Care Program.
We are so grateful for our partnership with Taylor County! We hope that you will be as inspired as we were by the passion and person-focused care of the TCIHCP staff.
Roseann Seelke, Director of Social Services for Taylor County
Can you tell us about the Taylor County Indigent Health Care Program and your role there?
Roseann Seelke: The Indigent Health Care Program is a state-mandated program that comes from a tax levy spent on indigent health care. Every county in Texas is mandated to use this money to help those in need. Our assistance expands on our belief—it’s a hand-up, not a handout.
Our people make the same decisions that anyone else would. If you have kids you are trying to raise, and have minimal money, you will buy what they need first. We make sure that no one goes without basic medical care in those situations. We just had a man out of the hospital and recently laid off. We got him on the program and healthy, and he was back to work in six months. We took away some expenses allowing him to get by. He is now back on track. That's why we do what we do.
I have been in healthcare for 16 years and with the county for two, and I have no plans to leave. I have worked in insurance, for a doctor's office, and a hospital, but I am much more interested in the administrative side. The Taylor County Indigent Health Care Program is a large part of my job.
Domanick Trevino, Indigent Health Care & RX Case Manager
Domanick Trevino: As the IHC & RX Case Manager, I oversee the prescription assistance department for the indigent program. I have been with the Taylor County Social Services Department for eight years, four with the Indigent Prescription Program. I also did case management. I love helping our clients get prescriptions; that's where I do my best. To me Taylor County Health Care is home and I’m not leaving.
Roseann: I could not do my job without Domanick and the staff. They are all experts in their field. They know what they are doing.
Do you offer other programs?
Roseann: Yes, other programs address the basic needs of eligible permanent residents of Taylor County who do not qualify for the Indigent Health Care Program but still need assistance. I recommend that you see our website to get an idea of our programs. Under General Assistance, we offer Adult Vision Care, Indigent Burial/Cremation, an Acute Prescription Care Program, and a Prescription Assistance Program which helps residents of Taylor County to obtain free brand name medications through pharmaceutical companies.
How do people usually find out about your services and what is process for new patients?
Roseann: When I first started, I wanted to bridge the gap between the county and community. I went out to mental health organizations, homeless shelters, the medical care mission, and even the local Lions Club. I bring applications and explain that this is something our taxes pay for, so they should contact us if they have a need. Our residents can see that it's taxpayer money, and if we can keep even a few people out of the hospital or foreclosure and get them back to work (and paying taxes), it is money well spent.
Domanick: We have an application, and we are available to assist anyone with questions and provide referrals.
What would you say are your professional core values?
Roseann: For me, it comes down to integrity and empathy. We have to have integrity and empathy in everything that we do. We work with very vulnerable individuals. They are dealing with job loss, poverty, and sickness. We know that people are trying their best, and it could just as easily be any one of us. I was laid off for three months, and we can all relate to how that feels. If we can help them keep their health up for just a little while, we may get them back to work. We are a county with a very big Christian community. People helping people, that's just what we do.
Domanick: I always emphasize to my clients that I am here to help you. People come in, and they are scared. They don't know the steps and how things work, so I work to just slow it down and speak to them to understand everything. Every part of the process has a purpose and a goal, and when they understand, it can help. Sometimes, there is a language barrier. (Fortunately, I speak Spanish) I show them that I understand, and they know I am here to assist.
How has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected how Taylor County Indigent Health Care Program operates?
Roseann: We did notice that our client list got smaller as folks didn't know how to reach us or were unsure about coming to an office. It's very understandable, and we kept working with patients and letting them know that our services are still available via phone and mail. We are looking at new software solutions to help people work with us if they can't get to us. We are hopefully rolling it out in July.
Domanick:, We found that working with residents over the phone was suitable for our clients as having access to transportation is a barrier. There is no need to force anyone to walk to us for help. If you don't have a vehicle, we can still get you set up for services if you qualify. Oh! And this is also why we love Rx Outreach; they ship right to a client's home. There are no transportation barriers.
How does your partnership with Rx Outreach help your clinic and patients?
Domanick: I always use Rx Outreach because you give us the best prices on medications. Also, I appreciate that I can get help if I have questions. There have been changes recently that have made it easy to work with Rx Outreach. I have a list of all the medications, dosages, price, and supply. It's one less thing to worry about when you can get your medicine right to their door. Doctors at our preferred clinics can escribe right to Rx Outreach, and we keep track of when they need to refill. I work with client services if there are questions. The experienced staff jumps right in and gets our questions answered when we need them. We also appreciate the longevity of workers at Rx Outreach. We develop relationships with them and work well together. We have worked with many of the same folks for years. They know our process, making it easier to get things done quickly. I'm very glad we are with Rx Outreach; it is so easy to work with you all.
Roseann: I agree the staff has always been great with issues and training. Rx Outreach has never turned us down for anything we needed. That keeps us firm in why we continue with Rx Outreach. It's just business as usual.
How can people support Taylor County Indigent Health Care Program and your mission?
Roseann: We appreciate any help we can get to get the word out. It's a Texas thing. People want to be productive, and we intend to get people help and back to work. This program is very needed, highly desired, and deserves recognition for the work it is doing.
Do you have any advice for anyone in Texas who may be struggling?
Domanick: Give us a call. Even if you don't qualify for the indigent program, we have other programs that may help. Also, we have organizations where we can refer you to help with housing, nutrition counseling, prenatal services, and immunizations.
We have no words that can fully express our thanks to these ladies for their integrity, work, and kindness.
TCIHCP staff - Dianna Atkinson – Asst. Dir. & IHC Case Manager, Karen Conner – Social Services Supervisor & IHC Case Manager, Bayonne Johnson – IHC Billing Specialist, Charles Oliphant – Receptionist
Nancy Jones – IHC Case Manager, Deborah Adams – General Assistance Case Manager, Leska Christie – Clerk