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CHRISTUS Health Focuses on Supporting Programs That Benefit Northeast Texas Communities February 25, 2019

Tyler, TX – As part of an ongoing commitment to support the Northeast Texas communities they serve, CHRISTUS Health was able to make a $37.8 million impact in the region over the course of 2018 through their innovator fund, charity care and community benefit.

Each year, a significant amount of charity care and community benefit is provided through CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System to the patients and families it serves. Community benefit is defined as the initiatives and activities undertaken by nonprofit hospitals to improve health in the communities they serve. One such program CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances helped to kickstart is now being employed full time to extend impactful services to patients who previously would have been unable to access them.

In early 2018 a grant was awarded to the Samaritan Counseling Center of East Texas (SCCET) to fund a pilot program of tele-therapy services for rural patients. The program addresses the needs of patients limited by transportation and diagnosis by establishing treatment protocols and affirming that tele-therapy is a viable option. These services then allow SCCET to extend client outreach to more rural areas, train more staff and then, eventually, incorporate tele-therapy as a core service for patients that need it.

“The goal of this pilot program was simple,” said Christopher Taylor, MPA, Executive Director of the Samaritan Counseling Center of East Texas. “We wanted to improve access to care, reduce the cost of providing that care for our patients while we still improved and maintained the outcomes of care we provide. Ultimately, we wanted to do more to help more people.”

SCCET used a logic model to develop short, medium and long-term outcomes for the program and began evaluating whether or not “e-counseling” can be effective in East Texas.

“I am very glad to say we have met most of our objectives and are getting ready to launch the platform in the next month,” said Taylor. “We have done a pilot program with existing clients and seen success. We’ve tested and trained staff and will soon be able to help other organizations implement similar programs.”

SCCET leaders say there are substantial barriers to accessing mental health services for many East Texans, and some clients actually prefer tele-behavioral health services to in-person therapy.

“This has just made mental health care accessible to a whole new group of people,” said Taylor. “Now, we are seeing clients in some 35 counties across East Texas – and I can’t even imagine how many people will soon have access to therapy who need it.”

“As a faith-based organization, CHRISTUS Health is a leader, a partner and an advocate in the creation of innovative health and wellness solutions that improve the lives of the individuals and communities we serve,” said Jason Proctor, Ministry President of CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Health System. “As the region’s largest health care provider we are uniquely positioned to work with community-led partnerships throughout this region to foster innovative approaches to preventive care in order to achieve measurable, sustainable improvements in the well-being of the people and communities we serve. We are committed to our mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ beyond our facilities and into our communities.”