Caring Foundation of Texas Rolls Out New Fleet to Continue Improving Health in Texas
New vans will benefit foundation’s mobile outreach program
The stars of the show Friday at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) headquarters were five new Care Vans that will assist in the mission of improving the health of Texas one child at a time.
The vehicles – the first new Care Van fleet rolled out by the Caring Foundation of Texas in 20 years – will anchor the foundation’s community outreach efforts which started in 1991. The Care Vans, the foundation’s signature program, hit the road in 1997. BCBSTX serves as the foundation’s statewide sponsor covering all the administrative costs.
In addition to unveiling a new Care Van fleet, two new immunization initiatives – one targeting expectant mothers and the other unvaccinated adults – also were announced during the festivities which included community partners, BCBSTX executives, employees and members of its affiliate board of directors.
Since the Care Vans’ launch 20 years ago, nearly 860,000 children have received more than 1.3 million immunizations at no cost through community outreach efforts – a significant contribution to public health in Texas as it is estimated that every dollar spent on immunizations saves $18.40 in health care costs. The mobile outreach program delivers immunizations across the state at day care centers, schools and other community locations that are convenient for families.
“If you think for a minute about how best to make a difference in the state in terms of moving the health care needle, the Care Van® Program serves as a measurable testament,” said Dr. Dan McCoy, President, BCBSTX. “Immunizations are a fundamental piece of preventive care for infants, children, teens and adults. Unfortunately, many Texans do not have access to this basic health service. That’s why the Care Van Program is important, and we are proud to support it both in spirit and resources.”
As immunizations are important for pregnant mothers, the Care Van Program - working along with community partners, will now provide whooping cough and flu shots to pregnant mothers 19 years and older. These vaccines may help protect mothers and unborn children from vaccine-preventable diseases.
The Care Van program also will work with community partners to provide flu and Tdap immunizations to senior adults 54 to 60 years old. Many preventable diseases cause significant illness and even death in unvaccinated adults. Among the most important vaccinations adults should always discuss with their doctors are flu, pneumococcal, shingles and Tdap.
“When you consider the return on investment of the Care Van program you have to look at lives – children and families – it has impacted over the years, not the dollars,” said Dr. Esteban López, Chief Medical Officer, BCBSTX. “Roughly, 18% of Texas children live in poverty, which affect health outcomes. This program is about serving those who do not routinely access traditional health care systems nor receive preventative care. By that measure, it has been a resounding success for Texas families.”
Fast facts about the Caring Foundation of Texas:
- The Caring Foundation of Texas – a non-profit organization – operates the Care Van Program.
- Last year, the Texas Care Van Program generated $8.5 million in health care cost savings by providing over 80,000 free vaccines to children.
- It's the only statewide program of this kind.
The goal is to eliminate barriers that stop children from getting basic health services such as immunizations.