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Summer 99 Table of Contents
Versión Español de este artículo (Spanish Version)

Providing the BEST Program for the Eyes of Texas

By Ron Lucey, Consumer Resources Coordinator, Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (formerly known as Texas Commision for the Blind)

BEST is the acronym for the Blindness Education, Screening, and Treatment program. The legislature enacted this voluntary program in 1997. The BEST program is jointly administered by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) and the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (formerly known as Texas Commision for the Blind) (TCB). BEST is a way to educate Texans about the preventable causes of blindness, provide vision screenings to identify individuals with conditions that may cause blindness, and provide vision-related medical treatment for Texans with inadequate medical coverage.

Texans have the opportunity to make a voluntary contribution of one dollar to fund the BEST program each time they renew their drivers license or state ID card. This year, the 76th legislature approved TCB access to funds collected since the BEST program was enacted by the previous legislature. TCB has allocated the entire FY 1999 program budget to the development of a mass-media public education campaign to prevent blindness. The Commission will select an advertising vendor through a competitive bid process to develop and implement the public education campaign. This vendor will also develop and produce publications, public service announcements for radio and television, and other materials to promote the prevention of blindness. BEST education is targeted to a statewide universal audience. TCB anticipates the implementation of the public education campaign during the fall of 1999.

The TCB Board will meet in August to consider the establishment of rules to address BEST eligibility criteria for screening and treatment. Following the adoption of board rules, TCB anticipates the implementation of the BEST vision screening component beginning in the fall of 1999. The treatment component will be implemented later following the establishment of a treatment budget. The BEST treatment resources focus on individuals who have inadequate health insurance coverage and are at a high risk for vision loss.


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