TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — The back and forth over what Central Health should be charging you and what services should be provided with that money continues this week.
The board overseeing Travis County’s health district took another pass at its budget Monday after Travis County commissioners questioned their first proposal, but several Central Health Board of Managers members expressed frustration about why they had to return to the table.
“When the commissioner’s court says you have the money to do this, it’s an extremely myopic view of our whole equity plan,” said Dr. Manuel Martin, a member of the board.
The budget right now includes movement toward Central Health’s seven-year plan, which includes major investments in staff, facilities and other projects aimed to provide more equitable health care to the people in Travis County struggling the most.
Central Health staff said it’s been increasing its reserves to build out that health care system with the goal of meeting the demand of the growing number of patients it sees year-over-year.
“We have a very definitive plan, board approved, that we have continued to update commissioner’s court and the public,” Ted Burton, chief communications officer for Central Health, said. He continued, “And even as we increase services, open more clinics, that reserve is going to go down dramatically until 2030. And at that point, our reserves essentially hit our emergency reserve threshold that we can’t go below.”
But Travis County commissioners asked Central Health to put more money toward mental health diversion services and health care for inmates. In its meeting Monday, the Central Health board noted those services are massive undertakings, and they’re not prepared to take them from the County without more analysis.
In the end, the Central Health board agreed to amend language in its budget that includes commitments to better understanding those areas of care. They also offered up short-term funding for those services, including agreeing to a pilot program providing health care services to some people at the jail.
Travis County commissioners will get that new proposal Tuesday.
For a deeper dive into the budget, what it will cost you, and initial concerns, check out KXAN’s previous coverage.