The Triangle Area Network reduces the cost of healthcare in Orange
Posted at 12:20 a.m. on Sunday, September 25, 2022
The cost of health care is skyrocketing, but a local organization is working to ease that burden.
Triangle Area Network (TAN) is known for its HIV prevention and treatment services, but as of 2015 it is a federally licensed health center, offering a wider range of services with locations in Orange and Beaumont.
“We have received the reward of expanding our previous service, which was specifically dedicated to living with HIV – we have grown to become a comprehensive, full-service primary care facility,” said Dena Hughes, CEO of TAN.
But Hughes says getting the word out is a little tricky.
“One of our biggest challenges is that we have a 30-year history in the community, but that’s under another umbrella, so we’re still trying to let the community know that we’re more than just a provider. of HIV services.”
TAN offers services ranging from primary care to patient support.
Family Health Center
According to tanhealthcare.org, the Family Health Center is available for residents who want a general appointment due to illness, but also for chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Most private insurance plans are accepted and civil servants also serve those who are uninsured.
“We still do all the basics – colds, flu, Covid,” says Hughes. “We have seven full-time nurse practitioners at our Beaumont site, brick and mortar in Orange and the mobile health center which has a medical bed and a dental bay.”
The mobile unit travels to several surrounding counties including Orange, Jefferson, Hardin, Tyler, Jasper and Newton counties to provide the same care.
“After [Hurricane] Harvey we found as a result of [the storm] things shut down and services were unavailable,” Hughes said. “Working with churches and the Southeast Texas Food Bank, according to those interested, we wanted to be able to get into the community and meet basic needs after the storm.”
Back then, TAN used familiar community spaces, but now shows up at those same sites with their mobile unit.
TAN also offers behavioral health services to individuals, children, couples and families by providing emotional support during difficult times.
“We have a pretty strong team – a full-time psychologist, two behavioral health nurse practitioners in both locations and the range of social services, a licensed professional counsellor, a licensed clinical social worker, case managers and telehealth managers who work specifically with customers over the phone,” says Hughes.
Whether you are feeling anxious, need help managing an existing condition, TAN is here to help.
“You don’t have to see us as a primary care patient to be able to use other services in the health center,” Hughes said. “Twenty-five percent of our patients are referred from outside the health center.”
According to Hughes, you can seek behavioral health services without TAN supporting them as primary care patients.
TAN works closely with patients and their healthcare providers to develop and work on an effective care plan specific to the patient’s needs. They also collaborate with patients to address aspects of life that may not relate to their health care goals, but could impact health and treatment outcomes.
“We have a range of services, so we don’t have to send patients for a referral,” says Hughes. “We will help offset the cost of a specialist which can cost money. Cardiologists, hematologists – their rates aren’t the same as primary care, so people won’t take those next steps because they just can’t afford them or the care is in Galveston or Houston, so our goal is to try to remove as many of the barriers to getting the health outcome you’re looking for as we can.
One of the ways TAN helps break down barriers to healthcare is by providing transportation to and from appointments in Houston and Galveston, as well as local tours.
Another way TAN reduces barriers is to provide services on a sliding scale.
“Say you have a mother of three who works at Walmart – four people at home but only one bringing a check. We take that into account,” says Hughes. “The mom in this situation would pay a nominal $25, which would earn her the same visit an insured person would pay.”
Hughes says the $25 covers a full visit and all the labs the provider needs.
“You don’t turn around and get a $300 lab bill,” Hughes says. “The highest nominal fee is $50 – never more than if you’re underinsured or uninsured.”
But their services aren’t just for those without insurance.
“Even if a person has insurance and doesn’t want to use it, we’ll still use the sliding scale fee,” says Hughes.
Hughes says some people want to be assessed for STDs like HIV but don’t want their insurer to know.
“It’s about reducing barriers,” says Hughes. “We don’t want anyone not to get pregnant [or other test] because it’s going to show up on mom’s insurance.
For more information about their services, visit tanhealthcare.org or call 409-920-4223.
— Written by Chrissie Mouton