Increasing access to care for Brazos Valley, Texas: a rural community of solution.
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Compared with their urban counterparts, rural populations face substantial disparities in terms of health care and health outcomes, particularly with regard to access to health services. To address ongoing inequities, community perspectives are increasingly important in identifying health issues and developing local solutions that are effective and sustainable. This article has been developed by both academic and community representatives and presents a brief case study of the evolution of a regional community of solution (COS) servicing a 7-county region called the Brazos Valley, Texas. The regional COS gave rise to multiple, more localized COSs that implemented similar strategies designed to address access to care within rural communities. The regional COS, known as the Brazos Valley Health Partnership, was a result of a 2002 health status assessment that revealed that rural residents face poorer access to health services and their care is often fragmented. Their localized strategy, called a health resource center, was created as a "one-stop shop" where multiple health and social service providers could be housed to deliver services to rural residents. Initially piloted in Madison County, the resource center model was expanded into Burleson, Grimes, and Leon Counties because of community buy-in at each of these sites. The resource center concept allowed service providers, who previously were able to offer services only in more populous areas, to expand into the rural communities because of reduced overhead costs. The services provided at the health resource centers include transportation, information and referral, and case management along with others, depending on the location. To ensure successful ongoing operations and future planning of the resource centers, local oversight bodies known as health resource commissions were organized within each of the rural communities to represent local COSs. Through collaboration with local entities, these partnerships have been successful in continuing to expand services and initiating health improvements within their rural communities.
author list (cited authors)
Garney, W. R., Drake, K., Wendel, M. L., McLeroy, K., Clark, H. R., & Ryder, B
complete list of authors
Garney, Whitney R||Drake, Kelly||Wendel, Monica L||McLeroy, Kenneth||Clark, Heather R||Ryder, Byron