AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A state agency hopes two new programs will provide better health care to women who can't afford it.
On July 1, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) will launch two new programs: Healthy Texas Women, as well as Family Planning Program, which will consolidate and revamp the state's current family planning programs.
The Family Planning Program has been around for over 30 years, but when the recession hit in 2011 it lost funding and left many women questioning where to get health care.
Lesley French, an associate commissioner for the HHSC, said they have since recovered and funding from legislation is allowing them to reinvigorate the program.
The state is providing $260 million dollars for the programs for 2016 into 2017.
The new focus for Healthy Texas Women and Family Planning is to provide reproductive health care (cancer screenings, gynecological services, contraception, treatment, and more) to those with Medicaid assistance.
Healthy Texas Women is a combination of two existing programs. French said they took the best of what the programs had to offer and enhanced them based on stakeholder and provider feedback.
"We've heard from clients as to what works and what hasn't worked, and we designed a system that is built by providers for providers and it's designed to really help women to be able to take care of their reproductive health," French said.
Haven Health Clinic is just one of the many offices in the Panhandle that currently provide the Texas Women's Health Program.
Haven Health Clinic CEO Carolena Cogdill believes the current programs are very helpful to women, and said she is excited about the changes.
"I think they're exciting, the combination of the Texas Women's Health Program and along with the expanded Primary Health Program will provide a much broader array of services available to women than just the Texas Women's Heath Program did before," Cogdill said.
Codgill said between 90-to-95 percent of the women her clinic sees use funding like Medicaid or utilizing the Texas Women Health Program.
"We have so many women who would not get reproductive health care without these programs," Cogdill said.
The programs will also now assist those under the age of 18, which Cogdill believes is crucial for our area.
"They will provide services to young women who are at least 15 and in the past the Texas Women's Health Program would only serve women who were 18 and up," Codgill said.
Cogdill supports this change because of Amarillo's high teenage pregnancy rates, she feels this will better provide those teenagers the care they need.
For a list of providers participating in the Texas Women Health Program in the Panhandle visit the HHSC's website.