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New facility boosts health care offerings

The Denton Community Health Clinic, a new nonprofit health care facility that opened recently in the Denton Regional Medical Center’s professional office building, is a welcome addition to the local entities offering health care to our residents.

It joins a host of health care initiatives being developed in Denton as the health care system adjusts to new laws under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The act directs each state to show substantial progress in setting up a health exchange to serve as a marketplace to compare and purchase insurance by Jan. 1, 2013. Texas has created an option for uninsured small businesses, known as Healthy Texas, but is standing firm against the call to comply with a Medicaid mandate. Texas is among a slew of other states refusing to comply, opting to leave it to the federal government.

Both state and federal officials have said the act leaves many questions unanswered, making it challenging to address both the requirements of the laws and the health care needs of everyone, especially in the current economic climate.

But while the political hot potato continues to be being tossed around, local entities are working to make sure all residents have access to health care, regardless of their individual situations. Other entities are working to help train health care workers for the future.

Health Services of North Texas, which received a $595,833 grant, became a federally qualified health care center in June. Both it and the Denton Community Health Clinic offer options for those who are under insured or currently uninsured. As a federally qualified health care center, Health Services of North Texas also can serve as a home base for those who have insurance.

The Denton County Health Department, in October, announced new initiatives developed through the federal 1115 Medicaid Waiver, which gives states more flexibility to provide health care for those eligible for Medicaid. The programs are designed to help give residents diabetes care, timely immunizations and other indigent care they would otherwise go without.

And in November, Texas Woman’s University announced it had received a $3 million grant for scholarships for undergraduate and graduate nursing students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

The city is also the home of two major hospitals, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton and Denton Regional Medical Center, both of which are busy working with entities to promote the well-being of communities and individuals through wellness programs, among others.

Regardless of the eventual outcome of our new health care system, we know that these and other local entities are working hard to ensure the needs of all our residents are being met.