(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — Charles Phillips, Ph.D., M.P.H., professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, recently was awarded a two-year $967,000 contract from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to develop a comprehensive assessment tool and a resource allocation model for all Texas children receiving Medicaid personal care services.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has assumed responsibility for Medicaid personal care services provided to Texans under age 21. As part of those new responsibilities, it is tasked with developing a new assessment system that captures the needs and strengths of these children, as well as developing a method for assuring the Medicaid personal care resources provided are appropriate.

The project team’s initial plans include work on two assessment tools. One will assess the needs of Medicaid children age 0-3, while the other will assess recipients age 4-20. These tools will assist Texas Department of State Health Services case managers determine what clients need referral for additional in-depth assessments by other health professionals and the hours of personal care services each client receives.

“These children vary from those in need of high-tech home care to those who simply need supervision for meal preparation and medication assistance,” Dr. Phillips said. “It has been difficult for the state to appropriately meet all the needs of different members of this diverse population. Hopefully, our work will assist them with that somewhat daunting task.”

Ciro Sumaya, M.D., M.P.H.T.M., dean of the HSC-School of Rural Public Health, said, “This effort is really a wonderful opportunity for the SRPH to fulfill its goals of assisting vulnerable populations in Texas receive the services they need and of providing support to state agencies that can benefit from our faculty’s policy and research expertise.”

HSC-SRPH staff will assist the Texas Health and Human Services Commission through the contract awarded to the School’s Program on Aging and Long-Term Care, under the direction of Regents Professor Catherine Hawes, Ph.D. The award will support staff at the HSC-SRPH and Texas A&M University Public Policy Research Institute, along with faculty and graduate students in the Texas A&M Department of Educational Psychology and Department of Statistics.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell