County Treasurer Keeps Indigent Care Support Alive in Tom Green County
You may have noticed billboards throughout town urging you to bring all of your prescribed and over-the-counter medications to every doctor’s appointment. This is to help you and your doctor determine if all of the medications you are taking are working together for or against you. Certain combinations of medications and supplements do not mix and can have an adverse effect on your health, which can result in what could have been an avoidable stay at the hospital.
The Tom Green County Partnership for Better Health is part of a statewide initiative to reduce potentially preventable hospitalizations. The Department of State Health Services has contracted with Tom Green County through the TGCPBH to implement evidence-based interventions, through a community-coordinated approach. The purpose of the initiative is to assist in improving health care and reducing health care costs for Tom Green County residents. Its main focus is to educate citizens on illnesses that can be avoided like urinary tract infections, dehydration, hypertension and bacterial pneumonia with support to quit smoking as well.
County Treasurer Dianna Spieker applied for the contract that funded the TGCPBH with state funds in the form of “Adult Preventable Hospitalizations,” which afforded the opportunity to bring financial resources into Tom Green County, while assisting not only the indigent population, but all residents.
“Sometimes we could be taking something additional, like a supplement with our medications that doesn’t jive right with the prescribed meds and cause complications,” said Spieker, whose office has partnered with the cause. “There are steps you can take and things you can do to prevent hospitalization,” she said. “We have talked about starting a buddy program for those elderly patients who may not have someone around to monitor their daily med intake, or even just to call and check on them to make sure they’re doing things to maintain their health.”
The TGCPBH is only an 18-month campaign supported by state funds. Once that is over, Spieker has taken the initiative to ensure this type of support will continue in Tom Green County by forming a non-profit foundation named Foundation for Better Health.
Spieker rolled out her newly created non-profit organization, Foundation for Better Health, during Tuesday’s commissioners’ court meeting. Spieker, the founder of the organization, will be joined by Angelo State University professor Dr. Kenneth Stuart, who will serve as a designee on the foundation’s board. Stuart is an advocate of health care, particularly those that fall in the indigent category.
“In regards to this foundation that I’m proud to be the founder of, it kind of goes back to our partnership with TGCPBH with the monies that we received from the state,” Spieker said. “We knew that the grant money would expire when we had our meeting back in 2013, we wanted to have this live on beyond what was being given to the county, so we needed to set up a non-profit status.”
Spieker has the support of Shannon Medical Center staff, to include Staci Wetz, Mary Cortez, Crystal Conner, and Sandra Morales. Greg Rowe, MHMR's Executive Director, will also play a supportive role in the effort of continued indigent medical care.
Spieker also has interested parties willing to donate to the foundation once it is up and running.
The foundation will provide a plethora of support for those that need help with anything health related like medical visits and prescriptions, as it will partner with many organizations that deal in indigent care and the general health and wellbeing of the public.
“Through the foundation we hope to promote education that in turn reduces the cost of indigent healthcare provided by the tax payers, and increases the quality of life for these patients,” Spieker said. “It will be a one stop shop for physical and mental wellbeing. We eventually would like to branch out and assist not only those within the county, but the entire Concho Valley.”