July 27, 2022
(Austin) — Central Health will work with Travis County Commissioners Court to modify a planned performance review, previously recommended by the Court and scheduled for 2023.
The Commissioners Court approved late Tuesday an amendment to its 2017 financial order that directed Central Health to undergo an independent performance review every five years. Tuesday’s amendment requires an independent agency, procured by Travis County and paid for by Central Health, to conduct a performance audit.
“While we have not heard directly, or officially, from Commissioners Court about this resolution, we support appropriate efforts that continue to improve transparency to the community – a bedrock of Central Health – but on a timeline that won’t come at the expense of serving our patient population,” said Mike Geeslin, President & CEO of Central Health. “We’re always eager to work with the community, especially the people that we serve, to make Central Health better – as long as we are dealing with facts versus theories, assumptions and false allegations.”
The Commissioners Court also voted to create a subcommittee to work with Central Health and Travis County staff to establish the requirements of the performance audit. The resolution still needs to be reviewed by Central Health’s Board of Managers, and more details and direction from the Commissioners Court are expected.
“In 2017, Travis County Commissioners recommended an independent, third-party performance review of Central Health,” said Dr. Charles Bell, chairman of the Central Health Board of Managers. “Not only was that review conducted, we used a firm – Germane Solutions – that Travis County also uses to perform similar reviews for their own operations. From that review, we developed and approved our Healthcare Equity Plan, which launched in February. So the work is happening.”
Healthcare Equity Plan
Central Health was already planning its second performance review for 2023, with the procurement process for the agency to perform the audit beginning later this year. The previous review, presented to the Central Health Board of Managers in 2018, contained numerous recommendations to improve organizational performance. One of the most significant recommendations from that review was for Central Health to conduct a comprehensive study and analysis of healthcare system gaps that affect people with low income, and particularly populations of color in traditionally underserved regions of the county.
From that study came Healthcare Equity Plan, which lays out a service delivery strategic plan. The Central Health’s Board of Managers approved the plan in February. The plan directs Central Health’s work to close the healthcare gaps among the most impacted communities. This plan is already having tangible results for the individuals and populations Central Health serves. Learn more about the Healthcare Equity Plan at www.centralhealth.net/our-work. Central Health’s aims to be transparent and good stewards for the taxpayers of Travis County.
Last year Central Health served 147,000 patients, and that number will likely increase in future years. Further, the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) presented a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award to Central Health for its FY2022 Annual Budget. Central Health has received the GFOA award for three consecutive years, which is a testament to its commitment to stewardship and transparency.
“We have enjoyed a strong partnership with the Travis County Commissioners Court, which approves our tax rate and annual budget – unanimously for Fiscal Year 2022,” Geeslin said. “The court also appoints four positions to our Board of Managers, plus a fifth position in conjunction with the City of Austin. Our partnership is essential to our shared missions of providing access to care for people who need it the most.”
“Our goal remains the same: To ensure every Travis County resident with a low income has access to the best possible care to live healthier, happier lives,” Bell added.