Indigent Health Care Can Be Quality Health Care

The Angelina County & Cities Health District is the only full service public health center for a hundred miles. About 10,000 people go there every year for exams, pre-natal care, immunizations, and other medical services. It is the only healthcare many of them can afford.

Stephanie Black said, "It's just so expensive having a baby, and doctors and stuff are expensive - getting shots, buying formula and all that stuff."

The public health care system is designed to provide high quality care for those in need. And now, Angelina County residents can help rate the health care situation there by taking a survey. The accessibility of medical care in the community is among many topics where input is needed.

A.C.C.H.D. Director Sharon Shaw said, "It also gives individuals a chance to voice their concerns about things like diabetes, heart disease, smoking, sexually transmitted diseases, teen pregnancy, the overall state of health care in their community."

In 2002, more than a thousand low-income Angelina County residents got monthly cash payments through the state's T.A.N.F. program. Nearly 8,000 people a month received food stamps, and even more were on Medicaid. Nearly 6,000 Angelina County families received help from the state's Women, Infants, and Children's nutrition program.

"Individuals are taking more responsibility for their own healthcare," said Shaw. "They're getting their flu shot [and] they are exercising more. Really there's a lot that still needs to be done. People need to realize they need to have those wellness checkups."

The state now provides health care coverage to about one in three Texas children.