Dear Parents and Community Partners:
Some very significant policy changes have recently been made by the Texas Department of State Health Services. County Health Officials believe the primary factor influencing these changes is the economy, and more specifically, legislative cuts to spending for vaccines in Texas. Regardless of the rationale, the county as well as the state are facing some substantial changes to vaccine policy. For years public health has vaccinated children, both the uninsured and those insured who chose to come to the health department for immunizations. In the past most insurance policies did not cover all of the cost of immunization, so many children legitimately fell into an underinsured category. Parents gladly paid a small co pay for required vaccines rather than incur the cost of an office visit from their physician. All of that is about to change.
DSHS or Department of State Health Services has redefined underinsured such that local health departments will no longer be able to vaccinate most children who are covered by a private insurance policy. All of the vaccines that are administered for the prevention of childhood diseases are provided by DSHS, so the County will have to follow their required policy. There will be several, perhaps, unintended consequences:1. Denton County Health Department will not be able to serve many of the families that school districts traditionally have referred to them.2. There is a fear fewer children will be protected against disease, and eventually that may lead to outbreaks.
3. Many families that the County has traditionally served will be frustrated because the County can no longer vaccinate their children.
In accordance with the new DSHS policy, the Denton County Health Department will continue to provide immunizations to children who meet at least one of the following criteria:
- CHIP: A child who is enrolled in the CHIP program
- Medicaid: A child who is enrolled in the Medicaid program
- Uninsured: A child who has no health insurance coverage
- American Indian or Alaskan Native
- Underinsured (*New Definition*): A child whose health insurance does not include vaccines; a child whose insurance covers only selected vaccines (TVFC-eligible for non-covered vaccines only); or a child whose insurance caps vaccine coverage at a certain amount. Once that coverage amount is reached, the child is categorized as underinsured.
In accordance with DSHS policy, insured children with vaccine coverage who have high co pays or deductibles are no longer considered underinsured. These children are now considered fully, privately insured and are no longer eligible for TVFC vaccines. Insured children will be required to receive vaccinations from their primary care providers. If parents are not sure if vaccines are covered by their insurance, they are encouraged to check with their insurance carrier.
These policy changes have been mandated. The Denton County Health Department and Denton ISD want to provide the best possible care for our students and their families.Last Modified on 2/2/2012 11:56:07 AM