Specialized Health and Social Services - Public Health Region 8

The Region 8 Specialized Health and Social Services Program is headquartered in San Antonio and provides services to 28 counties.  

7430 Louis Pasteur Drive
San Antonio, TX 78229

Phone: 210-949-2155 or 210-949-2000
Fax: 210-949-2047

Program Contacts:

Program Manager
Diane Bernal, LMSW
Phone: 210-949-2147

Program Supervisors
Janice Gonzales, LBSW-IPR
Phone: 210-949-2156

Lorena Felan, MSW, LBSW
Phone: 210-949-2176

Texas Health Steps Team Lead
David Garcia
Phone: 210-949-2159

Mission Statement

The Public Health Region 8 Specialized Health and Social Services (SHSS) program empowers people with special health care needs by helping them navigate complex systems of care and access services that enhance their health and well-being.

Program Overview

The SHSS program fulfills its mission by providing:

  • Case management services for individuals with special health care needs and their families
  • Assessment of needs for attendant and habilitation services
  • Eligibility application processing for Children with Special Health Care Needs Services Program (CSHCN-SP) benefits
  • Training, application and technical assistance for current/prospective independent case managers for children and pregnant women
  • Outreach and technical assistance for current/prospective Texas Health Steps medical and dental providers
  • Coordination and support with other HHS programs
  • Collaboration with local health departments and community partners
  • Disaster response and recovery

Referring Clients for Services
Case Management, PCS, CFC, CSHCN referrals:

Fax: 210-949-2047
To speak with a program staff member, call 210-949-2155 or 210-949-2000

Specialized Health and Social Services Programs

Children with Special Health Care Needs Program

The Children with Special Health Care Needs Services Program helps children 20 and younger who have special health care needs and people with cystic fibrosis of any age improve their health, well-being and quality of life.

Focused on family-centered and community-based strategies, the program ensures families get services that honor and respect their cultural beliefs, traditions and values.

All services must be medically necessary. These include:

  • Medical
  • Mental health
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Special medical equipment and supplies
  • Family support services
  • Community services
  • Case management
  • Assistance with medical insurance premiums
  • Medical Transportation

Eligibility Requirements:

Anyone who:

  • Lives in Texas.
  • Is 20 or younger or any age with a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis.
  • Has an income level at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • Has a medical condition that:
    • Is expected to last at least one year
    • Will limit one or more major life activities
    • Requires a higher-level health care
    • Has physical symptoms. Having only a mental, behavioral or emotional condition, or a delay in development won’t qualify).

CSHCN Program Helpline

Children with Special Health Care Needs Providers

Visit the Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership (TMHP) website for a current listing of participating CSHCN medical and dental providers is available online. The CSHCN Program encourages medical, dental and other providers to become CSHCN providers.  Visit the Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership website to download an application to become a provider.

Personal Care Services (PCS)

Personal Care Services is a Medicaid benefit that helps clients with everyday tasks. These tasks are called activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). Examples of ADLs: bathing, eating, dressing. Examples of IADLs: laundry, meal prep, and light housework.

To be eligible for PCS:

  • Age birth through 20 and have Medicaid.
  • Must have an ongoing disability, physical or mental illness that has been confirmed by a doctor or practitioner.
  • Have a Practitioner Statement of Need signed by a practitioner (physician, advanced practice nurse, or physician assistant) who has examined you in the last twelve months.
  • Need help with ADLs and IADLs based on the Personal Care Assessment Form.
  • Give a reason why your responsible adult cannot help you with ADLs and IADLs.

Community First Choice (CFC)

Community First Choice (CFC) provides certain services and supports to individuals living in the community who are enrolled in the Medicaid program and meet CFC eligibility requirements. Services and supports may include: activities of daily living, acquisition, maintenance, and enhancement of skills necessary for the individuals to care for themselves and to live independently in the community (habilitation).

To be eligible for Community First Choice services an individual must:

  • Be eligible for Medicaid.
  • Need help with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing and eating.
  • Need an institutional level of care.

Case Management for Children and Pregnant Women (CPW) Program

Case Management for Children and Pregnant Women is a Medicaid benefit that provides health-related case management services to children birth through 20 years of age with a health condition and to high-risk pregnant women of any age. Case managers help clients gain access to needed medical, social, educational, and other services.

To request case management services, please call the Texas Health Steps Outreach and Informing Hotline at 1-877-THSTEPS (1-877-847-8377).

Who can be a Case Manager?

Case managers must be a licensed social worker or registered nurse. Case managers may work independently or may be employed or contract with an agency.

How to become a Case Management Provider

Individuals and agencies must apply with the Texas Department of State Health Services and enroll with Medicaid. For more information on how to become a case manager, email AskCM@dshs.state.tx.us or call 512-776-2168.

Children and Pregnant Women Providers

View Case Management Providers for Children and Pregnant Women by Region to see a current list of participating CPW providers. 

The Children and Pregnant Women Program encourages social workers and registered nurses to become CPW providers.  

Free Online Education – CEUs and Certificates of Completion Available:

Texas Health Steps Online Provider Education offers a range of high-quality training opportunities to CPW providers and other interested individuals. Visit the Texas Health Steps website for a listing of the modules available.

Texas Health Steps Program

Texas Health Steps (THSteps) Program is the Texas name given to the federally mandated program known as EPSDT (Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment).  It is a benefit of the Texas Medicaid Program and consists of preventive health care services at regular and periodic intervals to Medicaid clients who are from birth through 20 years of age.

The mission of Texas Health Steps Program is to expand client awareness of existing health services, to recruit and retain a qualified provider pool, and to assure comprehensive services are available through public and private providers so that eligible young people in the Texas Health Steps Client Population can receive medical and dental care before health problems become chronic and irreversible.  Texas Health Steps Provider Relations staff travel to and work in all 28 counties in Region 8, providing technical assistance, policy clarifications and training to providers and contractors.

Texas health Steps Services Include:

  • Medical screening
  • Dental checkups
  • Immunizations
  • Vision exams and services
  • Hearing exams and aids
  • Comprehensive care services
  • Case management
  • Laboratory Screenings
  • Sensory Screenings and aids 

Texas Health Steps Providers

Clients can search for providers using a particular county, Service Area, or name to find providers who participate in a managed care area. Providers that participate in MCOs and DMOs are responsible for declaring themselves as managed care providers on the OPL. Clients can search for providers that are enrolled in Medicaid managed care on the OPL. The OPL has links to the websites of the MCOs and DMOs, which allows clients to search each MCO’s and DMO’s network of participating providers.  

Providers that need assistance finding a specialist who accepts clients with Medicaid coverage can call the THSteps toll-free helpline at 1-877-847-8377, or they can find one using the Online Provider Lookup on the Texas Medicaid and Healthcare Partnership website.

If you are interested in enrolling as a Texas Health Steps provider, this can be done through https://www.tmhp.com/programs/thsteps. Providers looking for additional information on Texas Health Steps can visit https://www.hhs.texas.gov/providers/health-services-providers/texas-health-steps.

Free Online Education – CEUs and Certificates of Completion Available

Texas Health Steps Online Provider Education offers a range of high-quality training opportunities to THSteps providers and other interested individuals.  This free training is designed to improve participant’s ability to deliver comprehensive preventive health, mental health, dental, and case management services to Medicaid-eligible children from birth through 20 years of age. 

THSteps Online Provider Education consists of self-paced, web-based training modules.  Each module is divided into sections, with an evaluation component following each section.  These evaluations enable trainees to assess their knowledge as they complete each module.  An online certificate of completion will be issued after successful completion of each module.  Continuing Education (CE) credits can be awarded to eligible participants.  Visit the Texas Health Steps website to find available training modules.

Extra Help!

The THSteps toll-free lines allow individuals to obtain information on Medicaid services and how to access them.  By calling the toll-free number 1-877-THSTEPS (1-877-847-8377), a client can receive:

  • Assistance with scheduling appointments
  • Case management referrals
  • Other outreach needs as requested