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Public Health

Central Health board focuses on equity as it expands access to specialty care

Following a 2018 performance review, Travis County hospital district Central Health analyzed the county health care system, searching for service gaps among its target safety-net population. The county queried its population’s access to eight lines of service, from primary to specialty and dental…

Central Health to spend millions on opioid abatement

Central Health, Travis County’s hospital district serving low-income residents, is due to receive over $3 million from the state’s opioid abatement trust fund this spring. An allocation of nearly $10 million more – largely “front-loaded” – will be disbursed over…

Questions abound over pilot program for mental health diversion

As City Council is set to consider authorizing negotiations on a contract that would include allocating $2 million for a mental health diversion pilot program, a lot of questions remain unanswered. On Tuesday, Mayor Kirk Watson started the work session…

Partners unite in fight against opioid epidemic 

On Thursday, the city of Austin, Central Health and community partners delivered presentations to the Travis County Commissioners Court addressing ongoing opioid crisis abatement measures in the greater Austin area.  At present, major interventions include the distribution of naloxone (a…

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An Austin-area food bank wants students to get healthy meals, so it opened a food pantry at a school

The Central Texas Food Bank is launching a new program to establish food pantries in schools and opened its first location on Wednesday at Creedmoor Elementary, a Del Valle Independent School District campus. “We are super excited to be a flagship and…

Commission questions what Central Health is doing to address persistent disparities in health access

The Austin/Travis County Public Health Commission heard key findings of Central Health’s 2022 Demographic Report at its regular meeting on Jan. 3. Central Health updated the report in February 2023, finding that Austin’s high cost of living and affordability crisis…

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Requests for abortion pills surged amid threats to reproductive rights, UT-based study shows

Advance requests for abortion medication surged when the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked, a new study has found. The study in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at requests for the abortion medications mifepristone and misoprostol from the telemedicine service…

Need for county mental health diversion center grows

Travis County’s mental and behavioral health diversion center is more than five years from opening and needed more every day, the Commissioners Court learned Tuesday.  With an epidemic of mental illness and an overcrowded Travis County Jail, commissioners said the…

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Huston-Tillotson University wants to improve maternal health outcomes by training more doulas

Huston-Tillotson University is launching a program that will train doulas, midwives and lactation consultants in an effort to combat Texas’ high maternal mortality rates, especially among Black women. The historically Black university announced the new partnership with Blue Cross and…

Council approves push to make air conditioning a requirement in Austin

This summer, a stretch of hot, dry weather in Austin has tested everyone’s patience. The record-high heat has also posed a danger to those not lucky enough to feel the relief of air conditioning. A new City Council resolution looks…

Austin provides shelter in freezes but not in triple-digit heat – and advocates want change

Austin’s triple-digit temperatures – 44 days in a row as of Sunday – have been near-unbearable for people living outdoors. And with the heat streak likely to continue well into next week, a group of nonprofits is asking the city…

Greg Casar calls for national standard to prevent heat-related illness, deaths on construction sites

Amid an oppressive summer, U.S. Rep. Greg Casar is calling on the federal government to enact stricter protections for workers to ensure they don’t suffer heat-related illness on the job. Casar, a former City Council member whose congressional district includes…

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