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Last Updated On April 12, 2018
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Issue Sheet—How Central Health Works

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Central Health is the local government agency responsible for purchasing health care services for eligible low-income residents of Travis County. Its primary source of revenue is property taxes. Central Health is a separate political subdivision of the State of Texas created in 2004 by a vote of Travis County residents. The boundaries of its health care service area and taxing jurisdiction are contiguous with Travis County.


  • Nine-member volunteer Board of Managers with four-year terms
  • Four board appointments by Austin City Council; four by Travis County Commissioners Court; one joint appointment
  • Per state law, Commissioners Court provides final approval of budget and tax rate

Served Population

  • Medical Access Program (MAP)—Defined benefits available for eligible residents at or below 100 percent FPL ($12,060 for individuals; $24,600 per family of four [1])
  • Charity care/sliding fee scale—Supported primary care and hospital services for residents earning up to 200 percent FPL ($23,760 for individuals; $48,600 per family of four)


  • Ensuring primary care, specialty, behavioral health and dental access for the safety net population;
  • Partnering with Seton Healthcare Family to support Travis County’s safety-net hospital system and only Level 1 Trauma Center;
  • Improving and redesigning the local safety-net health care system through community partnerships;
  • Providing financial support to the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin to better train doctors, improve residency programs, and redesign the care delivery system;
  • Leveraging local taxes to draw down federal matching funds which support Travis County’s safety-net health care system;
  • Enrollment assistance in MAP as well as Medicaid, CHIP and Affordable Care Act insurance plans;
  • Oversight and financial support for Sendero Health Plans, a non-profit community-based health plan designed to serve Central Texas residents.

Central Health’s Enterprise Partners

Through its partner organizations, Central Health funded direct care for more than 143,000 people in 2016—more than one out every 10 residents.

The Community Care Collaborative (CCC) is a non-profit partnership formed in 2013 between Central Health and Seton Healthcare Family to better manage the care of their shared low-income and uninsured populations. In 2016 the CCC supported [2]:

  • Care for 95,578 patients
  • 41,654 people enrolled in the Medical Access Program (MAP)
  • 180,044 primary care encounters (a service rendered or billed)
  • 53,272 emergency department encounters
  • 40,078 dental encounters
  • 23,447 specialty care encounters

Founded in 2011, Sendero Health Plans is the local nonprofit, community-based health maintenance organization (HMO) of Central Health designed to serve the unique needs of Central Texas residents. In 2016 Sendero provided [2]:

  • IdealCare health insurance plans for 20,000 people
  • STAR (Medicaid) enrollment for 13,068 people
  • CHIP enrollment for 1,978 people
  • Insurance premium assistance for 842 individuals

CommUnityCare Health Centers is a separate but affiliated 501(c)(3) organization of Central Health that provides medical, dental, behavioral health and prescription services through Travis County’s largest network of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). In 2016 CommUnityCare provided [2]:

  • Care for 91,031 patients
  • 265,866 medical encounters
  • 46,044 dental encounters
  • 16,472 behavioral health encounters

    1 FPL Source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

    2 Source: Central Health FY 2016 Services Report