Monthly Update
April 2015

CCC Board of Directors Meetings:

All CCC Board of Directors meetings are held at 1111 E. Cesar Chavez St., Austin, TX 78702.

  • Next Meeting: August 11, 2015 from 2:00-4:00 pm.

The CCC Board will also meet on the following date at 2:00 p.m. These dates are subject to change pending Board approval:

  • September 22, 2015.



CCC IT Update


Earlier this year CommUnityCare began the process to implement a patient portal which will allow patients to view, download and transmit their health records, and communicate with their care team on-line.  Members of CommUnityCare held a rapid design session and identified requirements for the patient portal.  They then developed an evaluation matrix, and used this during several vendor demos to quickly and consistently document their assessments of the different products available.


After completing the evaluations, CommUnityCare decided that "patient experience" is their top priority for selecting a patient portal.  To this end, they want a patient portal that can be used by other providers across the community, allowing the patient to have a single account to access all their care teams and records in one place.  To best meet this goal, CommUnityCare has transferred this project to the CCC and will be sharing all the information they have learned through their process to inform the new process.  The CCC IT Team will be reaching out to other primary care clinics throughout the IDS to invite them to participate in the expansion of the Patient Portal project.




:: 512-978-8164

Contact: Mark Hernandez

Guest Message -

A Note from Dr. Phil Huang, the Medical Director and Health Authority of

Austin Travis County Health and Human Services Department


In Travis County, tobacco kills more people than AIDS, crack, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, car accidents, fire, murder and suicide - COMBINED. 


The reason I often start discussions about tobacco with that message is because many people still don't know this. When we shared this message with focus groups, we were met with disbelief.  People responded, "if that were true, we would be doing more to address this." 


Many people also don't know that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer of Travis County men AND women. In terms of economic burden, we calculated the total Annual Costs of Smoking in Travis County, and found it to be over $460 million each year, including $305 million in direct health care costs and another $105.5 million in lost future earnings and productivity. The truly tragic thing is that all of this is entirely preventable.


Fortunately, we have many CCC partners that are state and national leaders in the efforts to promote tobacco-free living. The former Integrated Care Collaboration (ICC) made two of its strategic planning priorities:  1) having all member agencies adopt 100% tobacco-free campus policies and 2) having all member agencies implement clinical system changes to assess every patient at every visit for their tobacco use status and refer them to the appropriate cessation resource.  I think we accomplished (or very nearly accomplished) the first goal, with almost all ICC (and now CCC) partners having 100% tobacco-free campuses including: Central Health, Seton, St. David's, CommUnityCare, People's Community Clinic, Austin/Travis County Integral Care, Austin Travis County Health and Human Services and El Buen Samaritano. In addition, Huston-Tillotson University, the University of Texas at Austin, Austin Community College, Dell, National Instruments, 3M, Samsung, and many more, are now also 100% tobacco-free.


In this newsletter you will read about further CCC efforts to reduce the burden of tobacco use in our community and around the state. Clinical changes and community policy changes go hand in hand. We are all more successful when we create an environment where, for instance, the healthy tobacco-free choice is the easy choice, and the tobacco-free messages that people get where they live, learn, work and play are also reinforced when they visit their trusted healthcare provider. We have made some fantastic strides already, and I believe the CCC will continue to play a key role in making an impact on this important issue in our community.




Dr. Phil Huang, M.D., M.P.H., Medical Director and Health Authority for the Austin/Travis County Health Department, is responsible for communicable disease control, emergency preparedness, epidemiology and surveillance, immunizations, environmental health, and chronic disease prevention. Prior to this, he served as Medical Director for Chronic Disease Prevention at the Texas Department of State Health Services and Chief of the Bureau of Chronic Disease and Tobacco Prevention at the former Texas Department of Health (TDH). 


Dr. Huang received his undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Rice University, his MD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, and his Master's in Public Health from Harvard with a concentration in Health Policy and Management. While at Harvard, he led the successful movement to have Harvard divest of their tobacco stocks.


Dr. Huang completed his residency training in Family Medicine at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin and was Chief Resident during his final year. He served two years as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assigned to the Illinois Department of Public Health where he conducted epidemiologic studies in chronic disease and infectious disease outbreak investigations.


He is an author or co-author of numerous publications related to public health, chronic disease and tobacco use prevention. Dr. Huang has a strong interest in addressing health from a broad perspective, including use of community policy and environmental change to make healthy choices the easy choice and to promote public health. 


Dr. Huang is Board Certified in Family Medicine.

Community Tobacco Cessation Efforts 


There is no pretty way to say it -- Tobacco Kills.  It takes its toll on people who use tobacco products, those who live with tobacco users, and the community as a whole.  The following are some statistics taken from the Austin Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalition (ATPCC) website -  ATPCC is a group of employers, health care professionals, policymakers, educators, and other community partner who are working toward a tobacco-free Austin.

  • Tobacco is the #1 cause of preventable death in Austin and Travis County. (Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department)
  • In 2008, almost 600 deaths in Travis County were caused by cigarettes and other tobacco products-an average of 11 people every week. (Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department)
  • 43% of nonsmoking adults and children are exposed to secondhand smoke. (2006 Surgeon General's Report-The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke)
  • 4,300 nonsmokers die each year in Texas from exposure to secondhand smoke. (Austin/Travis County Health & Human Services; US Surgeon General's Report)
  • Tobacco-related disease adds up to $96 billion in health-care costs annually and an additional $97 billion per year in productivity losses nationwide. (CDC Annual Smoking-Attributable Mortality)

Luckily, we live in a community that is committed to addressing this issue.  

Sample of Community-Based Tobacco Cessation Efforts


Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department (ATCHHSD).  ATCHHSD has implemented a DSRIP project to expand its tobacco cessation efforts.  Prior to the DSRIP project, ATCHHSD's tobacco prevention and control activities focused on the general population and on implementation of community tobacco-free policy, systems and environmental changes. The DSRIP project targets efforts on the 18-24 year population asthis age group has the highest prevalence of smoking (25%) among all age groups in the County.  The DSRIP project provides the following services. 

  • Implements tobacco-free policies, which prohibit the use of tobacco on the entire facility property, in settings that are frequented by young adults including institutions of higher learning including colleges, universities, trade and technical schools; multi-unit housing, select worksites and entertainmentvenues;
  • Integrates a tobacco-use assessment and cessation referral tool into existing operations and electronic medical records of social services and health care organizations that provide services to 18-24 year olds of low socioeconomic status, victims of violence/abuse or neglect and other at-risk populations, with referrals to the Texas Quitline and the Seton Cessation Resource Center;
  • Creates an innovative educational and mass media campaign to promote the Texas Quitline.

CCC. As part of its efforts to move into the health promotion space, the CCC will be implementing a tobacco cessation protocol in June beginning in the CommUnityCare system.  This protocol provides evidence-based guidelines for the screening, referral, and treatment of patients using tobacco who are ages 13 and abovein the primary care setting. 


The goal is for all CCC patients, within the noted age range to be screened for use of tobacco products at every visit, and an appropriate referral and follow up provided to identified tobacco users. This protocol is developed to target use of any tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipes, snus, electronic cigarettes, and any non-FDA approved nicotine delivery device.


Austin Travis County Integral Care (Integral Care).  Integral Care, the local mental health authority for Travis County, became a tobacco-free organization in 2010.  Since February 1, 2010, the use of tobacco products has been prohibited by consumers and staff on any Integral Care campus. Integral Care's Tobacco Cessation Initiative has received numerous recognitions and awards.  It is a huge step to change behavior within any organization, but particularly for an entity serving individuals with behavioral health needs.     

Individuals living with a mental illness face greater challenges when dealing with tobacco addiction:

  • Individuals living with a mental illness are two to four times more likely to develop a nicotine addiction when compared to the general population.
  • Smokers with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and addiction consume nearly half of the cigarettes sold in the United States. Individuals with SMI are more than twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease, over three times as likely to develop respiratory disease and cancer, and have a life expectancy that is twenty-five years shorter than the general population

Integral Care is now working as a partner to MD Anderson on a Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) three-year grant to guide the efforts of twenty additional local mental health authorities (LMHAs) to take their campus tobacco free.  

ATCIC State-Wide Tobacco Cessation Efforts 
Beginning in 2013, Bill Wilson with Integral Care has been working closely with project leaders  Dr. Cho Lam (MD Anderson Cancer Center) and Dr. Lorraine R. Reitzel (University of Houston) to assist selected Local Mental Health Authorities (LMHAs) across the state of Texas to adopt a comprehensive, evidence-based, multi-component tobacco-free workplace program that includes education, screening, and treatment, and outreach services through the dissemination of ATCIC's Tobacco-Free Workplace Program to other LMHA's in Texas which includes the following services:
  • Incorporating a tobacco use assessment tool into electronic medical records;
  • Providing starter nicotine replacement therapy to support tobacco cessation efforts of consumers and staff and helping LMHAs identify on-going funding to support this effort;
  • Provision of signage to educate on tobacco-free efforts;
  • Training of clinical staff and all other staff;
  • Assistance in development of local Tobacco Free Campus policy; and
  • Provision of technical assistance and consultation for 6 months.

Other resources provided through the CPRIT grant to the LHMAs include 1) a shared electronic dropbox for maintenance and retrieval of resources; 2) assistance in working with internal and external stakeholders; and 3) interaction with MD Anderson's Project ECHO to allow for tele-health connections for LMHA providers with MD Anderson providers for on-going education/ training, to consult on specific cases, and provide motivational interview (MI) training.

The grant will make a significant contribution to the reduction in tobacco use across the state by 2017 by:

  • Increasing the percentage of clinical providers trained in tobacco cessation interventions and the percentage of non-clinical employees trained in basic tobacco education (e.g., hazards of tobacco use, association between tobacco use and cancer, tobacco-free workplace policy benefits);
  • Decreasing the percentage of LMHA employees who use tobacco;
  • Increasing the percentage of LMHA consumers who receive: 1) Tobacco Use Assessments, 2) advice to quit, and 3) assistance to quit; and
  • Increasing the number of community education and outreach sessions conducted and the number of community members reached through outreach services/training.

Tobacco-Free Campus status was achieved for the first cohort of LMHAs in December 2014.  Work is underway with the second cohort of LMHAs with Tobacco-Free status anticipated for them in September 2015.  For more information about this program, please see the ATCIC website at

Leader Spotlights    


William (Bill) T. Wilson, DrPH, serves as the Director of Practice Management, Clinical Operations, for Austin Travis County Integral Care (ATCIC).  Bill has over thirty-five years of experience in behavioral healthcare in both the private and public sectors as a CEO, CCO, COO and consultant. He currently is responsible for Chronic Disease Management (CDM), Tobacco Cessation, Telemedicine, Mental Health First Aid programming and other prevention services at ATCIC. The model for taking ATCIC tobacco free has been presented at national conferences and ATCIC's 1115 Waiver CDM program was presented recently at the International Integrated Healthcare Congress in Sydney, Australia. A proposal submitted by MD Anderson and ATCIC to use this model to take all community mental health centers (38) tobacco free in the state of Texas was funded by the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) in December of 2013.

System Facility Updates   
Central Health Downtown Campus Redevelopment Planning


Central Health is still seeking community participation and feedback through an online survey through May 16 regarding the downtown campus redevelopment.  Also, video of the entire half-day forum held in March is available at

University of Texas Dell Medical School


The future of medical education in Austin . . .  Dell Medical School's team continues to grow, with three new medical education leaders. The medical school also had a very successful first Match Day. If you missed the talk given by Dr. Kevin Bozic, inaugural chair of the Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care, you can  see his presentation here. The medical school had a successful first SXSW Health and MedTech Expo. Watch all 9 conversations between leaders from the medical school and the nation's health tech industry, and catch up on the action during Day 1 and Day 2 of the expo. 

Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas


Construction continues. . .  Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas will anchor a new downtown health district - an exciting new hub for medical care, research and education. This new teaching hospital will be built across 15th Street from University Medical Center Brackenridge and will be flanked by Dell Medical School, new research facilities, and medical office buildings.


Seton's new teaching hospital will become Central Texas' gateway to the future of care.  Seton recently named Debra Hernandez as Chief Operating Officer for UMCB and who will be responsible for leading the transition to the new hospital.


The following link provides information on advancements in epileptic care --