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"In the past six years of working for the TB Program of Health Service Region 8, TBNet has proven to be a valuable weapon in that battle against the spread of TB. The patients have and are now receiving the continuity of care that was lacking in those earlier years. Thank you for being a reliable resource.”
Hope V. Alvarado, R.N., B.S.N.
Department of State Health Services
Health Service Region 8
TBNet is a multi-national tuberculosis patient tracking and referral project designed to work with mobile, underserved populations. Treatment of these populations is complicated by the fact that many people, given the circumstances of their lives, are unable to remain in a given location long enough to complete the lengthy TB treatment regimen. By the mid-1990s, many clinicians and public health officials recognized the need for a way to track and coordinate the treatment of TB patients who moved between public health jurisdictions. In 1996, the Migrant Clinicians Network, working with a consortium of public health organizations, and funded by a grant from the Texas Department of Health, founded TBNet to address this very problem.
Although the program was originally created with migrant farm workers in mind, it is expanding its patient base to include the homeless, immigration detainees, prison parolees, or anyone who might be mobile during their treatment.
TBNet helps mobile TB patients complete treatment in three ways.
- TBNet supplies TB clinics with wallet-sized Health Network cards for their patients. These cards can easily be carried by the patient wherever they go. The toll-free number on the card enables other TB clinics to call for the patient's medical records in order to continue the patient's treatment.
- TBNet maintains a central storehouse of enrollee medical records. A patient's health care provider, whether they are in the U.S., Mexico, or Central America can call TBNet on a toll free line to request an up-to-date copy of the patient's medical record.
- mobile patients can also call TBNet on the toll free line for help locating treatment facilities at their next destination. These three systems work together to coordinate the continuous treatment of mobile TB patients.
TBNet's greatest success has been working with cases of active TB and have consistently experienced a high completion rate with those patients. Some patients have moved 4-5 times during treatment. TBNet has facilitated the tracking and transfer of records for those patients. At the conclusion of treatment, TBNet notifies the enrolling clinic as well as the state or regional TB Control person that the patient has completed treatment.
Please consider enrolling your mobile TB patients in TBNet. The program operates free of charge to both your clinic and the patient. If you would like more information about TBNet, please contact:
Health Network Manager
PO Box 164285
Austin, TX 78716