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DMC and Driscoll Health Plan Target Employee Training to Provide Personalized Care Plans for Children with Special Needs

Article by: Melinda Eddleman

Our children are the future. Ensuring healthcare needs are met among all South Texas’ children is vital. After selection by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Driscoll Health Plan launched last fall the STAR (State of Texas Access Reform) Kids program in South Texas, which is a new Texas Medicaid managed care program for children and youth with special needs. 

Opening five new offices to support this program also meant in-depth training for clinical professionals to learn managed healthcare and assessment techniques. These skills are needed to appropriately enroll thousands of children new to the health plan who have health conditions that include multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, blindness and other disabilities. (Learn more about the STAR Kids program by clicking here.) 

Friday, Feb. 3, Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs with the Texas Workforce Commission presented a $345,600 Sills Development Fund check to Del Mar College and Driscoll Health Plan/Driscoll Children’s Hospital. The funds cover specialized training used to prepare new employees––about 200 registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses and social workers––who are filling skilled service coordinator positions to provide personalized care plans for new enrollees to the STAR Kids program.

See highlights from the Feb. 3 announcement by clicking on the screen below:

“We are so grateful to the Texas Workforce Commission for this program that helps growing businesses expand and funds implementation costs for training of large numbers of new employees,” said Joe Cecil, Driscoll Health Plan’s Vice President of Special Needs Programs. “We also appreciate the collaboration with Del Mar College in facilitating the grant and helping obtain approval.” 

Clinical health professionals have little or no training covering “managed care” as an aspect of healthcare. As part of customized training Del Mar provided, DHP employees took 48-hour courses covering an orientation of STAR Kids, assessment and service delivery and neonatal/pediatric patient care skills and a 32-hour course on health assessment. 

Training also included using four “Nursing Kid” simulation manikins purchased by Del Mar using grant funds. These hands-on training tools enhanced DHP employees’ experience and targeted key skills specific to pediatric care. The simulators are realistic representations of a six-year-old child and designed for skill and scenario-based training addressing common and uncommon in-hospital pediatric patient conditions.

The College will retain the simulators to train DMC nursing and other healthcare students.

“Del Mar College appreciates the opportunity to provide customized training that has prepared Driscoll Health Plan employees with the skills needed to assess and connect parents with the managed care their children need,” said Mary Afuso, Director of Grants, Procurement and Administration with DMC Corporate Services. “Our collaboration with Driscoll Health Plan has built an expanded workforce while also addressing healthcare needs for children living in South Texas. That’s a great partnership to have!”

Cecil added, “More businesses should take advantage of this wonderful opportunity for financial assistance from the Texas Workforce Commission as well as Del Mar’s space and support for training large numbers of new employees working for expanding or new businesses.”

IN THE PHOTO: On Feb. 3, the Texas Workforce Commission presented a $345,600 Skills Development Fund check to Del Mar College and Driscoll Health Plan and Driscoll Children’s Hospital. The grant supports specialized workforce training by Del Mar College for professionals with Driscoll Health Plan’s State of Texas Access Reform (STAR) Kids program. Pictured, left to right: Ken Treviño, President and Chief Executive Officer of Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend; TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Ruth R. Hughs; Dr. Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, Chief Executive Officer of Driscoll Health Plan; Mark Escamilla, Ph.D., Del Mar College President; and Bill Larsen, Vice President of Human Resources with Driscoll Children’s Hospital. 

About Del Mar College

Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.