A novel service connecting veterans and their families to the care they need is growing across Texas and will soon arrive in Cameron, Hidalgo, Willacy and Starr Counties
TXServes – RGV is an innovative model of coordinated community care and service delivery for military families designed to get veterans to the right service in the least amount of time. As part of a growing national movement, TXServes – RGV was born of a simple question: How can we improve the quality of life for Texas veterans, service members and their families as they seek to navigate a complex maze of well-intentioned but disconnected systems, agencies and bureaucracies? Texas Serves Rio Grande Valley (TXServes – RGV) joins North Texas and San Antonio as the third network in the state and one of 17 across the country. The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) establishes the networks in partnership with communities as part of its mission to ease transition back to civilian life.
“Tropical Texas Behavioral Health has a very special and steadfast commitment to serving area veterans. Helping Valley veterans and their families secure vital services through the TXServes Network is a direct extension of that commitment.” – Terry Crocker, CEO
Locally, Tropical Texas Behavioral Health will operate the TXServes – RGV network, serving as a virtual “air traffic controller”, connecting veterans and their families to the right service in the least amount of time. With physical locations planned in Harlingen and Edinburg, TXServes will be supported by an active network available by phone and online as well as through all the participating local partners (expecting to number over 40+ providers). Supported by a web-based technology platform from Unite Us, TXServes-RGV connects veterans to other TXServes networks and those across the country. Tropical Texas Behavioral Health staff will continue to identify and make recommendations concerning needs and gaps in the availability of services such as benefits, education, employment, financial, housing, spouse and family support, and volunteering for example.
In 2019, Governor Abbott’s Committee to Support the Military published a report with a number of recommendations for policy changes and legislative action to improve upon education, health care, quality of life, workforce development, encroachment, and infrastructure as they relate to the military community of Texas. Among the committee’s key recommendations for connecting veterans and active duty personnel to services: “TXServes should be expanded in communities across the state to achieve as much coverage as possible utilizing their web-based case management system. Such a system would help make Texas a national model for service delivery to our military members, military families, and veterans.”
A major supporter locally of this coordinated care movement, the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation has partnered with the IVMF who has been working in the community since 2018 and competitively selected TTBH to lead TXServes — RGV in April 2019.
“This coordinated community care movement is successful in 17 communities across the country already,” said Mike Haynie, IVMF Executive Director and Founder. “We are thrilled that Tropical Texas Behavioral Health and the Rio Grande Valley has the same commitment to support veterans and their families who give so much for us all. Texas is a leader in recognizing early the potential for a statewide approach to care. I applaud the local providers in the Rio Grande Valley and in North Texas as well as San Antonio for joining the Serves movement and furthering their strong commitment to serving these families.”
Tropical Texas Behavioral Health (TTBH) has delivered health services to the Rio Grande Valley since the agency’s founding as the Local Mental Health Authority (LMHA) in 1967. TTBH is currently one of the largest Mental Health Community Centers in Texas, serving over 12,000 adults and children every month. Supporting people in need of behavioral health care in 3 counties and over 3,500 square miles, Tropical provides services in the community and in outpatient clinics located in Brownsville, Harlingen, Weslaco, and Edinburg, Texas. TTBH provides an array of evidence-based services to low income and uninsured residents diagnosed with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI), Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), substance use disorders, and chronic medical illnesses.
Advancing beyond conventional service boundaries for Community Behavioral Health Centers, TTBH fully integrated primary health care teams within the mental health clinics. This was accomplished through enhanced planning and collaboration across multiple community partners in multiple counties. In addition to producing ground-breaking evidence to support this model of care, TTBH received the 2019 Award of Excellence in Whole Person Care from the National Council for Behavioral Health. There are several reasons for this award and all stem from the commitment of TTBH to set new standards for innovation, collaboration, and community leadership. TTBH applies this same commitment to its current programs for veterans and their families and is poised to bring the additional benefits of the TxServes network to valley veterans. For more information, visit http://www.ttbh.org/.
The Legacy Foundation invests in and serves as a catalyst for ideas, partnerships, medical education, research and programs that improve the health and quality of life in the Rio Grande Valley. The Legacy Foundation (VBLF) engaged Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) in 2016 to study the capacity and performance of the behavioral health systems in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy counties, and provide VBLF with specific strategies for developing a responsive, clinically effective and efficient regional behavioral health care system. Their 2017 report noted the need for enhanced community collaboration, thus supporting a TXServes-type initiative to address the barriers in care coordination across the RGV. For more information, visit https://www.vblf.org/.