Veronica Zaragovia

Veronica Zaragovia reports on state government for KUT News, and gets to team up with an extraordinary group of KUT journalists on how legislation affects the people of Texas. She's reported as a legislative relief news person with the Associated Press in South Dakota and has worked as a freelancer and intern with  the Agence France Presse, TIME, WDET Detroit public radio and PBS NewsHour, among others. She's dedicated much of her adult life to traveling, learning languages and drinking iced coffee. 

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Texas News
1:50 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

How Prisoners Are Reigniting the Debate Over Texas Medicaid Expansion

The debate over Medicaid expansion in Texas came up at the Capitol at a hearing on May 29, 2014, because of concern over rising costs of inmates' health care.
Nick Cowie for Texas Tribune

Originally published on Fri May 30, 2014 11:20 am

The debate over Medicaid expansion in Texas came up at the Capitol today in a new way: there’s concern about how to pay the rising costs of health care for prison inmates.

Costs related to infectious diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV are on the rise in the Texas correctional system. Another number on the rise: the amount of Texas inmates older than age 55.

State Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, says it’s another reason why the state should consider expanding Medicaid eligibility as offered by the Affordable Care Act.

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Healthcare
11:40 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Texas Pilot Program Combines Medicare, Medicaid Into One Plan

A 2015 pilot program in Texas for people on both Medicaid and Medicare would help them get the care they need in an appropriate facility.
Spencer Selvidge/KUT

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 4:10 pm

In Texas, about 400,000 people are on both Medicare and Medicaid. Right now, they’re on separate health plans: the state handles Medicaid, while the federal government oversees Medicare. 

But a pilot effort is underway to shed some redundancy and unnecessary cost – by folding the plans into one.  

Combining services under one plan would help people get the care they need in an appropriate facility – a nursing home instead of a hospital, for example, according to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Spokesperson Stephanie Goodman says it increases cost-saving incentives if one plan is not making decisions that are paid for by the other plan. "By combining it, you can get people better care in the right setting, lower costs generally, and the savings can be shared by both the state and federal government," Goodman says.

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Deepwater Horizon
5:36 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Texas Legislature Left Out of Loop on $5M from BP to Governor's Office

BP gave $5 million to Gov. Rick Perry’s office in September 2010. At a Capitol hearing on May 21, 2014, lawmakers learned of this for the first time.
Image courtesy SkyTruth http://www.flickr.com/photos/skytruth/

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 9:22 am

Today when a Texas House panel hosted a hearing to get an update on money from BP after the Deep Water Horizon explosion, lawmakers learned about money BP gave to the Governor’s office, without looping the Legislature in. 

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Health
3:49 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Texas A&M Plans Nursing Program to Help Sexual Assault Victims

The Texas A
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 5:54 pm

Only 35 percent of injured sexual assault victims in the U.S. receive medical care, according to a new study that suggests not enough nurses are trained to help victims and conduct forensic exams.

But there’s an effort to change that.

The Texas A&M Health Science Center is working on a forensic nursing program that would boost the number of the state’s nurses trained to help rape victims seek care and justice.

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Foster Care
3:47 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

The Rate of Texas Foster Care Youths On Meds is Falling – And Could Fall More

A new Texas law could reduce the rate of medicated foster kids even more. It's been falling for about 10 years.
Liang Shi for KUT

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 9:34 am

President Obama recently called for millions in new spending aimed at reducing the number of foster care children being prescribed psychotropic medications.

In Texas, the percentage of children on these medications has been dropping in recent years, but concerns remain.

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