AUSTIN, Texas (June 13, 2022) – Amerigroup, one of Texas’ largest coordinators of managed healthcare benefits, has launched an effort to distribute more than half a million dollars in grants to rural health clinics and hospitals, so they can improve access to care and quality services for Texans living in remote areas across the state. Amerigroup is working through the Texas Organization of Rural & Community Hospitals (TORCH) to collect applications and award grants. The TORCH Foundation began accepting grant applications on June 1, and will continue to accept and review proposals from certified rural health clinics across Texas through July 29.
“Amerigroup recognizes that Texas is home to some of the most challenging rural health disparities in the country, so we are actively listening to stakeholders and innovating solutions that stand as national best practices for furthering health equity,” said Greg Thompson, President and CEO of Amerigroup Texas. “Through the Amerigroup rural health capacity-building grants, we hope to empower rural healthcare providers across the state to elevate care in their communities and provide their patients with opportunities for better, healthier futures.”
Texas has more than three million residents living in rural areas, making it the state with the largest rural population in the country. Across the state, there are only 325 certified rural health clinics, and the U.S. Census Bureau shows how vast the medical deserts are across Texas, with 72 counties that do not have a hospital and 32 counties that do not even have a primary care doctor. APM Research Lab also reports that 22 rural Texas hospitals closed in the past 12 years. In addition, in many parts of East and West Texas, patients have to travel 50 miles or more to access care – a dangerous distance when people are experiencing health problems or emergencies. Just last year, a woman gave birth in the parking lot of a West Texas medical center because there wasn’t enough staff to operate the clinic’s labor and delivery unit.
“It is going to take a lot of effort and collaboration to help Texas’ rural health providers and facilities to build enough capacity to address the critical needs we are seeing among our rural residents,” said Quang Ngo, TORCH Foundation President. “We are so grateful that Amerigroup has stepped up to take a leading role in this charge, and we look forward to the momentum that will be created from Amerigroup’s generous investment. Together, we can make a profound impact in advancing health equity across rural Texas.”
Amerigroup capacity building grant funds will be used specifically to build the state’s rural health safety net by helping providers:
- Acquire capital assets for clinical operations or patient care delivery.
- Make facility improvements, renovations or repairs, and complete projects that address life/safety code issues.
- Develop workforce and build capacity through recruitment efforts, staff training and instructional programming.
- Implement initiatives or programs that support social determinants of health and advance health equity.
Certified rural health providers in Texas are encouraged to read more information and apply for grant funding by visiting https://www.torchnet.org/
About Amerigroup Texas
Amerigroup Texas helps improve healthcare access and quality for more than a million Texans by developing innovative care management programs and services. Consumers are assured care that is not only accessible, but also accountable, comprehensive, integrated and patient-centered. Amerigroup Texas provides ongoing community relations and outreach to encourage consumers to become active participants in their healthcare. Through health education programs, consumers are empowered to choose and sustain a healthy lifestyle. For more information about Amerigroup Texas, visit www.myamerigroup.com/tx.