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The Caring Foundation of Texas recently celebrated a milestone at the BIG Care Van Reveal event at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) headquarters. The foundation showcased five new Care Vans and launched its new branding and logo. This transformation of the Care Van® Program helps underserved populations access preventive health care, improving the health of Texas residents for future generations.
The vehicles are the first new Care Van fleet rolled out by the Caring Foundation of Texas in 20 years. The vans 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 administrative costs.
In addition to unveiling a new Care Van fleet, two new immunization initiatives – one targeting expectant mothers and the other targeting unvaccinated adults – were announced during the festivities, which included community partners, BCBSTX executives and employees, and members of BCBSTX’s Affiliate Board of Directors.
Since the Care Vans’ launch 20 years ago, nearly 870,000 children have received more than 1.3 million immunizations at no cost through community outreach efforts – a significant contribution to public health in Texas. 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, BCBSTX President. “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.”
Immunizations are important for expectant mothers, so the Care Van program - working with community partners - will now provide pertussis and influenza vaccines to expectant mothers 19 years and older. These vaccines may help protect mothers and unborn children from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Moreover, the Care Van program will work with community partners to provide influenza and Tdap immunizations to senior adults 54 to 60 years old. Several preventable diseases cause significant illness and even death in unvaccinated adults. Among the most important vaccinations adults should always discuss with their physicians are influenza, 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 percent of Texas children live in poverty, which affects health outcomes. This program is about serving those who do not routinely access health care or receive preventative care. By that measure, it has been a resounding success for Texas families.”
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