So to speak. After several years of talking about integrated eligibility as a means to simplify the process of applying for safety net programs and saving the state money at the same time, Texas is finally getting its new system started. The program is not without its detractors. Its earliest days were marked by heavy concern about confidentiality and how various programs might be integrated. The Texas HIV Medication Program, for example, was one of the programs excluded from the system because of confidentiality concerns. Later challenges came because of the proposed reliance on technology for intake and the accompanying lay off of state employees (not part of the original intent of the legislation that got this ball rolling).
Early problems aside, the program is now underway, and it now must prove itself. As the program expands from Travis and Hays counties, consumers will be able to the the 2-1-1 call system as well as the Internet for initial eligibility screening and application for Medicaid, CHIP, food stamps, and other programs. To help gain acceptance for the program HHSC is scheduling a series of meetings around the state for stakeholders. In March, meetings will be held in Harlingen, Laredo, El Paso, and Lubbock. This appears to be the presentation that will be given at the meetings, if you want a preview.