Texas receives $350 million in federal funds for women's health care program

By Kimberly James

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are partnering to provide comprehensive women's health care through a $350 million Medicaid demonstration waiver.

Under the Healthy Texas Women demonstration waiver, federal funds will cover women's health and family planning services at no cost to qualifying women. Texas Department of Health and Human Services says the goals of the demonstration waiver are to increase access to women's health and family planning services to achieve, postpone or prevent pregnancies, increase access to preventive care and increase access to women's breast and cervical cancer screenings to promote early cancer detection.

Heathy Texas Women will provide a wide variety of screenings and services, including pregnancy testing and contraception, sexually transmitted infection screenings, breast and cervical cancer screenings, well-woman exams, screening and treatment for diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure and postpartum depression screening and treatment according to the HTW website.

To qualify for services, participants must be between 18 and 44 years old, a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant, a Texas resident, not currently pregnant, and not currently receiving benefits through another Medicaid program. There is also an income requirement to meet.

State of Reform reports that a Healthy Texas Woman beneficiary will be able to receive the same services previously provided under the state HTW program. Clients ages 15-17 will continue to receive HTW benefits with state dollars.

The waiver continues to support Texas' policy that supports childbirth and family planning services that do not include elective abortions and avoid the use of state funds to promote elective abortions.

Officials say this waiver will allow the state to serve more than 200,000 women each year.

A full list of services, eligibility requirements and an application for enrollment can be found at www.healthytexaswomen.org. The website also provides links to resources for other issues impacting women's health, including family violence, nutrition and smoking.

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