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 Clinician's 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 migrant TB patients complete treatment in three ways.
- First, TBNet supplies TB clinics with wallet-sized portable treatment records for their patients. These records provide a handy summary of a patient's TB treatment and can easily be carried by the patient wherever they go. The information in this record enables other TB clinics to continue the patient's treatment.
- Second, TBNet maintains a central storehouse of enrollee medical records. A patient's health care provider, whether they are in the U.S. or Mexico, can call TBNet on a toll free line to request an up-to-date copy of the patient's medical record.
- Finally, migrant 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 migrant 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 that that the patient has completed treatment. Please consider enrolling your migrant 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:
Jeanne Laswell, RN, BSN
TBNet Program Manager
P.O. Box 164285
Austin, TX 78716
Phone: (800) 825-8205