Provider list for women's health program contains errors
Robin Y. Richardson
Jan. 8, 2013 at 10 p.m.
The new Texas Women's Health Program launched this past week, but women who used Planned Parenthood as their health provider may not be able to rely on the list of participating physicians produced by the state's website.
According to the list posted at www.texaswomenshealth.org, 17 local physicians or facilities have signed up to treat low-income women.
The new program was launched because Planned Parenthood's family planning programs were cut from the state program. The commission recruited doctors and clinics in the Texas Women's Health Program to pick up Planned Parenthood's caseload.
But, an assessment of the list by the News Messenger shows that several of the doctors or facilities aren't participating nor taking new patients through the program, which provides free family planning services to low-income women ages 18 to 44 who are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants.
The list generated by the state's website, for example, includes Dr. Jeffery McWilliams, an emergency medicine physician at Good Shepherd Medical Center-Marshall. Linda Edwards Gockel, a spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, said an emergency room doctor could make the list if he possibly operated his own private practice. However, McWilliams does not have a private practice listing.
The list also includes Marshall Health Services Inc., home to physicians practicing internal medicine, but is not a participant in the program, according to the office manager.
Marshall Health Clinic, a part of the Rural Health Clinic system, is another facility listed on the list that is not a participant, confirmed Mary Beth Reeves, manager of the Rural Health Clinic.
Marshall Pediatric Clinic, which caters to infants and children, is also on the list but wouldn't provide such services because its patients are under age 18.
Dr. John Adiet is another physician on the list with a telephone number inside of Good Shepherd Medical Center-Marshall, but according to the hospital's operator, he no longer works there.
Dr. Charles Gaskin's office, which is on the list, is one of the few confirmed participants.
Several of the offices such as Family Healthcare Center in Hallsville, where Dr. Bobby Brock was listed, were unfamiliar with the change and referred calls to the hospital.
When asked about the errors on the list, Gockel advised that the list is supposed to be comprised of physicians and facilities that made applications to participate in the new program.
"In order for people to be on that list, someone from that location had to fill out the application to be certified for that program. Or, they were already in the program and had to recertify" she said, adding that she didn't, however, know how a pediatric clinic would end up on the list.
Ms. Gockel said those who do not belong on the list can contact the state's contractor, TMHP (Texas Medicaid & Healthcare Partnership), to remove their names.
In the meantime, women who need assistance in finding a participating physician or facility may call toll-free at 1-800-335-8957.
"Women can call if they are running into a problem finding a provider," advised Ms. Gockel.
Ms. Gockel said the state recruited thousands of new providers for the program.
"This is a brand new program. We've got 3,500 providers on the list, so we're still cleaning it up because it's brand new," she said.