Following the lead of the 2013 Texas Legislature, which approved budget increases for both women’s health and mental health services, Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek has added two new executive-level positions to coordinate services in those areas.
Sonja Gaines will serve as HHSC’s first associate commissioner for mental health services, consulting and coordinating with state agencies and others to ensure a strategic statewide approach to mental health. The Legislature created the position in 2013. Gaines has worked in mental health services since 1985.
Kara Crawford is HHSC’s new director of women’s health coordination. Crawford’s mandate is to make it easier for women to get services ranging from family planning exams to cancer screenings. That involves working within and across Texas health and human services agencies to help improve coordination of those services and the way those services are promoted.
HHSC recently launched an expanded "How to Get Help," section of the YourTexasBenefits.com website, which offers help on everything from programs available to videos promoting YourTexasBenefits.com to recipes designed to eat healthy on a budget.
If you’re a doctor, nurse, social worker or other health-care provider in Texas, continuing education deadlines seem to always be just around the corner. The Texas Department of State Health Services has nearly 50 free, online courses that qualify as continuing education credit for health professionals who serve children and youth.
It takes almost three weeks from the time someone applies for benefits through HHSC to the time they receive them. While that's well within federal guidelines, HHSC is looking at redesigning its business process to find ways to shorten the wait for families and reduce the workload on eligibility staff.
It looks like something NASA came up with and when you sit in the benefits help center at the HHSC office on Highway 6 in Houston, you would not be surprised to hear a voice intone "What are you doing, Dave?"
When Steve Aragon's daughter invited him to speak to her students for career day, he wasn't sure what he was going to say. He was lined up behind a judge, a SWAT team member and a zoologist. But when it was his turn to speak, it came to him.