Harris County Health Care Alliance

Harris County's largest hospitals and health care agencies have formed an alliance -- to work together on increasing access to health care for the county's uninsured and under-insured populations. Houston Public Radio's Jim Bell reports.

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The Harris County Health Care Alliance was established by Harris County Commissioners Court for the specific purpose of finding solutions to the uninsured access crisis. County Judge Robert Eckels says this problem should not exist in in Houston.

"We have some of the finest minds in health care around. We've got the Texas Medical Center, the largest single medical center in the world. We've got the hospital district with first class emergency rooms. We've got health departments that do a great job on getting the message out. This is an effort to coordinate all of that."

Eckels says the alliance is not a new layer of government, and it has no statutory powers. It's an effort to bring the best minds in town together to find a consensus on solving a problem that's affecting them and every taxpayer in the county.

"This is more of an opportunity to work together toward a solution. It is not an agency or an entity that has authority to direct people to do things, but it has the major decision makers from all the players in the community to be able to work together."

The Health Care Alliance's lead agencies are the County Hospital District, the City and County Health Departments, and Harris County MHMR. Member hospitals include the Texas Medical Center Hospitals and their affiliated branches, and a number of private hospitals and clinics. Leaders and members of the Alliance will introduce themselves and spell out their goals at a reception this evening at Rice University. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.