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Chris Ornelas, a Texas Organizing Project employee, speaking with Armando Rodriguez while canvassing in San Antonio's west side on Sept. 4, 2014.
Chris Ornelas, a Texas Organizing Project employee, speaking with Armando Rodriguez while canvassing in San Antonio's west side on Sept. 4, 2014.

In Health Care, Organizers Find Issue to Spur Hispanics

In three of Texas' most populous counties, organizers are working to use Hispanic support of affordable health care to spur a movement they think could change the state’s electoral tide. Republicans suggest the issue ranks far behind unemployment and the economy — areas where they say their policies have the market cornered.   

 

For Many Texans, "Miracle" Economy Doesn't Apply

State leaders often tout the so-called Texas miracle – the idea that the state’s economy is thriving thanks to their small-government approach. But with poor health coverage, low wages and limited academic success, not everyone benefits. Here are the stories of six Texans who have worked tirelessly, but found little relief in the Texas miracle.

Iraqi refugee Mohammed al Mamoori used a Foundation Communities program, Insure Central Texas, for help signing he and his family up for health insurance earlier this year.
Iraqi refugee Mohammed al Mamoori used a Foundation Communities program, Insure Central Texas, for help signing he and his family up for health insurance earlier this year.

Glitches Threaten ACA Coverage for Some Immigrants

Immigrants who purchased health insurance through the federal marketplace could lose their coverage next month if they cannot verify their citizenship records, highlighting the challenges of signing up individuals who have recently become U.S. citizens or residents.

An abortion procedure room at the Whole Woman's Health ambulatory surgical center in San Antonio.
An abortion procedure room at the Whole Woman's Health ambulatory surgical center in San Antonio.

Arguments Wrap Up in Trial Over Abortion Restrictions

UPDATED: Attorneys in the trial over ambulatory surgical center requirements for abortion facilities wrapped up their closing arguments Wednesday morning. U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel said he would issue a ruling "as quickly" as possible, though an exact date wasn't given. 

 

Ebola virus virion. Created by CDC microbiologist Cynthia Goldsmith, this colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion.
Ebola virus virion. Created by CDC microbiologist Cynthia Goldsmith, this colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) revealed some of the ultrastructural morphology displayed by an Ebola virus virion.

Houston Medical Center Considers Ways to Prevent Ebola

The Baylor College of Medicine in Houston is considering a reverse quarantine that would keep health staffers from patients for 21 days after they have traveled to countries affected by the Ebola outbreak.

A hallway at the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. The organization announced the clinic was shutting down Thursday, July 31.
A hallway at the Whole Woman's Health clinic in Austin. The organization announced the clinic was shutting down Thursday, July 31.

Opening Statements Made in Trial Over Abortion Regulation

UPDATED: Attorneys made their opening arguments Monday in a U.S. district court trial over a provision that requires abortion facilities to meet the same regulations as ambulatory surgical centers. Attorneys for abortion providers who filed suit also called several witnesses in the trial, which is scheduled to last through Thursday.

Patients are shown checking out in 2010 at the People's Community Clinic in Austin, a safety-net clinic that serves Medicaid recipients and the underinsured.
Patients are shown checking out in 2010 at the People's Community Clinic in Austin, a safety-net clinic that serves Medicaid recipients and the underinsured.

Rule Changes Address Contraceptive Devices

Texas women who receive state-financed health services may be able to more easily access contraceptive products like intrauterine devices and hormonal implants beginning Friday, when rule changes to the state’s Medicaid program and the Texas Women’s Health Program go into effect.

Sen. Charles Schwertner R-Georgetown speaks about health care in Texas at February 27th TribLive
Sen. Charles Schwertner R-Georgetown speaks about health care in Texas at February 27th TribLive

Schwertner to Lead Health and Human Services Committee

After appointing Republican state Sen. Jane Nelson to chair the Senate Finance Committee, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has picked state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, to replace her as the head of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

 

Aaron Leigh Johnson-Horton, founder of The Mesh Warrior Foundation, prepares gifts to mail to women with complications from a mesh implant at her home in Dallas, Texas on July 8, 2014.
Aaron Leigh Johnson-Horton, founder of The Mesh Warrior Foundation, prepares gifts to mail to women with complications from a mesh implant at her home in Dallas, Texas on July 8, 2014.

Women Want State’s Help in Pelvic Mesh Fight

While thousands of women across the country are engaged in lawsuits against manufacturers of pelvic mesh implants, a Texas group is trying to get the state to take action against a company that makes the medical devices. The AG's office is investigating. 

Texas Hospitals Face Penalties Over Infections

Dozens of Texas hospitals that receive Medicare dollars will likely be penalized for their rates of complications and infections during inpatient stays, part of the federal government's recent effort to improve the quality of hospital care. Use our interactive map to see those hospitals and their ratings. 

 

A detainee sleeps in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville, Texas. CPB provided media tours Tuesday of two locations in Brownsville and Nogales, Ariz. that have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1.
A detainee sleeps in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville, Texas. CPB provided media tours Tuesday of two locations in Brownsville and Nogales, Ariz. that have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1.

Health Officials: Immigrant Surge is a Medical Crisis

As the state's top elected officials debate how to halt a recent surge of immigrants — many of them unaccompanied minors — across the Texas-Mexico border, health officials and volunteer doctors are voicing concerns over what they say is the more serious challenge: a looming medical crisis. 

 

From left: Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Brett Giroir, CEO of Texas A&M Health Science Center, discussed the newly created Texas A&M Institute for Public Health Improvement and the launch of its Healthy Texas Initiative on June 17, 2014.
From left: Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp, state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Brett Giroir, CEO of Texas A&M Health Science Center, discussed the newly created Texas A&M Institute for Public Health Improvement and the launch of its Healthy Texas Initiative on June 17, 2014.

A&M's New Health Effort to Initially Focus on South Texas

Touting a new program as the first in Texas to be directed at reducing preventable diseases, Texas A&M University officials on Tuesday announced its Healthy Texas Initiative, which will first launch with a focus on South Texas.

 

Dr. Rose Okoro, a nurse practitioner, who owns Daystar Family Clinic in Katy, is shown on May 12. 2014. She says she has struggled to treat a greater number of Medicaid patients because of state regulations.
Dr. Rose Okoro, a nurse practitioner, who owns Daystar Family Clinic in Katy, is shown on May 12. 2014. She says she has struggled to treat a greater number of Medicaid patients because of state regulations.

Nurse Practitioners Look to Ease Supervision Rules

Nurse practitioners say state regulations, which link them to supervising physicians, limit their ability to treat patients in a state with a looming shortage of primary care physicians. As they seek more freedom in the state Medicaid program, physicians say the the current “team-based” model has proved to be effective.

Helen Hawkins, a certified pediatric nurse practitioner, treats 13-month-old Kevin Gorostieta at Carousel Pediatrics in Austin on Nov. 8, 2012.
Helen Hawkins, a certified pediatric nurse practitioner, treats 13-month-old Kevin Gorostieta at Carousel Pediatrics in Austin on Nov. 8, 2012.

Medicaid Fraud Settlement Worries Health Providers

For health providers who treat the state’s poorest patients, a high-profile settlement between the Texas health commission's office of inspector general and Carousel Pediatrics has raised questions about how the inspector general’s office distinguishes fraudulent intent from human error.

Interactive: The Impact of HB 2 on Abortion Facilities

Abortion facilities across Texas have shuttered because of new abortion regulations approved by the Legislature last year. Use this interactive map to see how the number of abortion facilities in Texas has changed, and where facilities will remain open when more regulations take effect in September.

TribuneFest: Health Care and the New Texas

At Thursday's daylong symposium on demographic change, held on the University of Texas at El Paso campus, I talked about the health care challenges posed by Texas' shifting demographics with Kyle Janek, Texas' Health and Human Services commissioner; state Rep. Marisa Márquez, D-El Paso; Veronica Escobar, El Paso County judge; and Eric Evans, CEO of the Sierra Providence Health Network. 

Disclosure: At the time of publication, The University of Texas at El Paso was a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. (See the full list of Tribune donors and sponsors below $1,000 here and here.) 

John Specia (left), the commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek testify Feb. 20, 2014, at a Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing.
John Specia (left), the commissioner of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek testify Feb. 20, 2014, at a Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing.

Data Effort Aims to Help Reduce Child Deaths

The Department of Family and Protective Services has ramped up its efforts to conduct predictive data analysis and reduce the high turnover of CPS caseworkers, the agency’s commissioner told a panel of senators on Thursday.