STAR Kids Program Launches in South Texas

Driscoll Health Plan opens new offices in five cities to serve children with disabilities and their families

MCALLEN — Driscoll Health Plan is enrolling thousands of South Texas children into its STAR Kids program, a new Texas Medicaid managed care program for children and youth with special needs. The program launched Nov. 1, and Driscoll Health Plan has opened five new offices to support this program.

Texas Health and Human Services awarded Driscoll Health Plan a contract for the new State of Texas Access Reform for Kids (STAR Kids)  program in the Nueces and Hidalgo service areas, which covers 24 South Texas counties and 25,000 square miles. Driscoll Health Plan’s new offices are located throughout the South Texas region in Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Laredo, McAllen and Victoria.

“Only a few states have implemented managed care programs for children with disabilities. The Texas program is certainly one of the most ambitious,” said Joe Cecil, Driscoll Health Plan’s STAR Kids executive director. “Finding and managing care for children with special needs is complex, and for a long time, parents have had to navigate those complexities on their own. Driscoll Health Plan is excited about expanding our managed care programs to caring for children with special health care needs.”

The addition of STAR Kids to the Driscoll Health Plan’s portfolio of services will bring thousands of new children into the health plan and create more than 200 new jobs for registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses, social workers, and other allied health care professionals to provide personalized care plans for these South Texas children.

STAR Kids provides health benefits that include prescription drugs, hospital care, primary and specialty care, preventive care, personal care services and other long-term services and supports to children and adolescents age 20 and younger who meet disability-related qualifications. Children enrolled in STAR Kids will have a dedicated Service Coordination team to identify and connect them with services and qualified providers. Driscoll Health Plan is a provider-sponsored health plan, which implemented the CHIP program in 1999. Driscoll Health Plan now serves more than 157,000 Medicaid and CHIP members and will expand this number with its entry into STAR Kids.

Driscoll Health Plan’s network includes nearly every pediatric doctor and specialist in South Texas, as well as pediatric specialist providers in Houston and San Antonio. Members can continue to see their current specialists for the first year of the program and other caregivers for the first six months, even if those providers are not in the health plan’s network. After that, existing relationships will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Driscoll Health Plan also offers a wide range of value-added services to members enrolled in the STAR Kids program. They include:

  • Added respite care benefits,
  • Special therapies such as equine and aquatic therapies and similar programs,
  • Hypersensitivity products for certain conditions,
  • Expanded transportation services,
  • Wheelchair bags,
  • Special health condition identity bands,
  • Environmental safety services such as pest control, in certain situations,
  • And much more.

More information about Driscoll Health Plan’s STAR Kids program is available at www.driscollhealthplan.com/programs/star-kids.