HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission recently launched STAR Health, the new healthcare program covering children in the care or custody of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. According to the latest Texas Health Plan Analysis, as of April 1, all the children in the state's foster care system are covered by managed care, where they will have an electronic health record in an attempt to better track their medical history.
"Texas has taken a national lead on a foster care-specific managed care plan," states Bill Melville, market analyst for HealthLeaders-InterStudy and author of the report. "Moving foster children into a managed care environment potentially has a huge upside and few populations could benefit as much from a regular managed care setting and electronic health record."
The state awarded the STAR Health contract to Centene Corp.'s wholly owned Texas subsidiary, Superior Plan Health Network. With Medicaid as its primary focus, Superior Health Network saw the new foster care model as a chance to broaden its horizons. While Centene has covered foster children through its Medicaid plans, the Texas program's dedicated managed care for foster children is the first of its kind in the country.
Because foster children also change living arrangements frequently, children's health histories, vaccination records, and other critical information often does not follow the child. Through the use of an electronic health record and a single network spanning the massive state, Superior Health Network seeks to tighten up the health picture for the state's foster children. An electronic health record can cut redundant medical tests and immunizations and help keep better track of the health histories of foster children.
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