As the third-most populated city along the Mexico-United States border, Laredo, Texas is a unique microcosm of behavioral health challenges. Laredo’s nearly 96 percent Hispanic population, which is predominately uninsured (31 percent) or underinsured (41 percent; through Medicaid, Medicare, or CHIP), has routinely struggled with affordable access to behavioral health care. With only eight or so licensed psychiatrists treating approximately 300,000 people, mental health treatment has traditionally been a reactive solution, rather than a proactive one.
The Times Are Changing
The City of Laredo Health Department (CLHD), the only Local Health Department in Webb and its surrounding counties of Jim Hogg, Maverick, and Zapata, has proved an invaluable resource for these rural Americans. Thanks to their recent partnership with Televero Health, Laredo is finally able to offer comprehensive behavioral health care to its underserved and struggling citizens: women; adolescents; those living with HIV/AIDS; those struggling with addiction. To quote CLHD’s Director, Dr. Hector Gonzalez: “once we found out more than 60 percent of our patients had an abnormal behavioral health screen, where did we send them? We are a Health Professional Shortage Area and the most needed are psychiatrists.” Many of these patients now get their evaluations and treatment exclusively through Televero providers.
Our approach is to deliver a turn-key behavioral health program, complete with a collaborative care team of licensed therapists and counselors (vetted, dedicated, and bilingual); provide integrated behavioral health programs (primary care, HIV child/adolescent, SUD/addiction, and more); enable telehealth visits through a HIPAA-compliant platform (care coordination, automated patient communications, scheduling, billing, and records integration); and guide the operation until it is self-sustaining. With several hundred consults provided and a no-show rate of less than 15 percent, our joint efforts speak for themselves.
Our partnership with CLHD is a continuous process of growth and support. As their Chief of Health Preventive Services, Dr. Luis Cerda, puts it, “Televero has provided CLHD with an excellent service that I now feel is an in-house service.”
We are proud of our shared accomplishments, and together, look forward to a future where behavioral health resources are at everyone’s disposal.