Funding Cuts Forces Health Dept. To Turn Away Patients

By: Rashi Vats Email
By: Rashi Vats Email

Dozens of people are being turned away for immunizations at the Brazos County Health Department because of statewide cuts.

The Texas Department of State Health Services implemented an immunization eligibility policy this year.

With 5 children it's safe to say Sonia Rios has her hands full, but now she has some added stress.

"It has affected us very hard,” said Rios.

For 22 years she says she has relied on the Brazos County Health Department to immunize herself and her children.

"It's pretty fast here. It's convenient. They have after work hours. They have early morning hours also. The fees are very low,” said Rios.

She is now being turned away because her family is under a private insurance provider that covers vaccines. That fact makes her ineligible to receive most immunizations offered at the health department.

"It's a new paradigm. If you have privately owned insurance, you would not be eligible to come to the health department, and you would be turned away,” said Julie Anderson with the Brazos County Health Department.

The state reduced funds for vaccine purchases in the beginning of the year, so the only people eligible to get shots at the health department are patients who have:

- no insurance
- CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program)
- Medicaid
- private insurance that does not cover vaccines

Anderson says she expects hundreds of patients, specifically students, to come to the health department over the summer just in time for school. That's why she recommends parents check their insurance.

"Get out there early, immunize early. Work with their primary care physicians and start thinking,” said Anderson.

The health department urges patients to call them ahead of time to see if they are eligible to get immunized at 979-361-4440.

KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-1888
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