Blue Cross Blue Shield Teams Up With Texas A&M to Improve Rural Healthcare

In order to address rural healthcare challenges, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is partnering with Texas A&M University in order to learn more about the problems that face these underserved communities and find solutions to solve them.

BCBSTX is committing $10 million to the Texas A&M Health Science Center to reduce healthcare costs and improve outcomes by improving health disparities and social determinants of health. They will join other organizations that are working to improve rural healthcare, such as the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Foundation, who received a Community Mental Health Grant to provide mental health first aid training to 12 rural North Texas counties, including Ellis, Erath, Grayson, Hood, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell and Wise.

Last year, the university’s Rural and Community Health Institute  and the Episcopal Health Foundation produced a report, “What’s Next? Practical Suggestions for Rural Communities, that highlighted some of the disparities faced by rural communities.

  • 35 counties have no physician
  • 80 counties have five or fewer physicians
  • 58 Texas counties…have no general surgeon
  • 147 Texas counties…people have no obstetrician/gynecologist
  • 185 Texas counties…have no psychiatrist

More than 20 cross-disciplinary healthcare researchers will work together to analyze ambulatory rural care delivery, the function and future of rural hospitals, technology and health information.

“The research and innovative care delivery strategies that emanate from this collaboration with Texas A&M Health Science Center have potential to not only help rural communities in Texas, but across the nation,” said Dr. Dan McCoy, President of BCBSTX via release. “As someone who grew up in a small town in Texas, I understand and appreciate both the challenges and the healthcare needs of those in rural communities.”

“True to our land-grant designation, we have the responsibility to improve health care and health care delivery to rural areas with forward-thinking research and service,” said Carrie L. Byington, MD, vice chancellor for health services at The Texas A&M University System, senior vice president of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and dean of the Texas A&M College of Medicine via release.