Legislative Interim Update, March 22

During the 85th legislative session, Methodist Healthcare Ministries tracked roughly 1,400 bills, supported over 500 bills, and worked to assist the passage of 224 laws that affect access to health care for Texas families. Keep up to date on how those laws are being effectively implemented and funded as intended through our legislative updates.

Interim Updates

Upcoming Meetings & Events
Health Care Policy News


View our 2017 Legislative Agenda





Interim Updates

Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ COO appointed to state Hospital Payment Advisory Committee (HPAC)
Congratulations to Methodist Healthcare Ministries’ Chief Operating Officer, George Thomas, who has been selected to serve on the state Hospital Payment Advisory Committee for a six-year term. The Hospital Payment Advisory Committee functions as a sub-committee of the Medical Care Advisory Committee (MCAC) and advises MCAC and the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) about hospital reimbursement methodologies for inpatient hospital prospective payment and on adjustments for disproportionate share hospitals. The committee advises HHSC to ensure reasonable, adequate, and equitable payments to hospital providers and to address the essential role of rural hospitals. This distinguished appointment will assist Texas hospitals in receiving adequate funding for care for our most vulnerable families.

Methodist Healthcare Ministries releases bill summaries for children's and women's health legislation
During the 85th legislative session, Methodist Healthcare Ministries supported important health care initiatives to improve services and funding impacting children and women. Legislation that passed both houses and was signed by the Governor included: maternal mortality and morbidity, reform for Child Protective Services, children’s mental health, access to women’s health services and more. Overall, Methodist Healthcare Ministries supported 58 bills that became law in 2017-2018 and will make a difference in the lives of Texas children and women. View summaries of bills impacting Texas children and women.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation releases 2018 County Health Rankings
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released its 2018 County Health Rankings Report, which measures counties on how well they do across various health and well-being measures. For the first time, the report examined how race and ethnicity intersect with a county’s health score and how the availability of affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, access to jobs and high-quality education can affect a county’s health numbers. Posting the lowest rankings out of 247 counties were Duval, Brooks, San Augustine, Hudspeth and Shelby counties.

Texas Statewide Health Coordinating Council includes health literacy and oral health in state health plan
The Texas Statewide Health Coordinating Council met on March 1 to discuss proposed updates to the Texas State Health Plan (TSHP) report. The council meets regularly to ensure health care services and facilities are available to all Texans through health planning activities. Proposed updates to the TSHP report will include analyses and recommendations in five new areas: oral health, clinical site availability, health literacy, hospital trauma designation and federally qualified health centers.

The council also received an activity report on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s efforts to implement SB 2118, passed in the 85th legislative session. The board reported nine junior colleges had applied to incorporate baccalaureate degree programs in areas that demonstrated a workforce need, including nursing and dental hygiene. Methodist Healthcare Ministries' legislative agenda targeted key initiatives impacting access to care, including health literacy and the state’s workforce shortage. We will continue to monitor the progress made by both state agencies and share updates as they develop.

Texas E-Health Advisory Committee implements key telemedicine bills
The Texas E-Health Advisory Committee met on March 2 to share updates on the latest policies and services impacting the use of health information technology, health information exchange systems, telemedicine, telehealth and home telemonitoring services. HHSC staff provided an update on the implementation of SB 1107, regarding protocols and reimbursement for telemedicine services. Proposed rules are on track to be available for review in the next 3-4 weeks.

Committee members also received an update on HB 1697, which involves the availability of pediatric telemedicine services in rural counties. The bill was passed in the 85th legislative session but failed to get state funding. HHSC has moved forward to develop a workgroup on tele-NICU and tele-ER to study the costs of transporting children from hospital NICU departments to other hospitals, and to study rural hospitals’ capacity and interest in telemedicine. Research data will evaluate the possibility of developing a pilot program in 2019. Methodist Healthcare Ministries will continue to monitor HHSC’s efforts in implementing telemedicine services that serve to increase access to care for rural and underserved areas of the state.

Texas Public Health Coalition applauds the City of San Antonio for Tobacco 21 ordinance
The Texas Public Health Coalition convened for its first meeting of the year on March 2. The statewide coalition works to reduce preventable disease by advancing effective public policies that promote healthy environments and healthy behaviors for Texas residents. Coalition members applauded the City of San Antonio on the recent passage of its Tobacco 21 ordinance and will follow up with a letter to City Council members thanking them for their efforts. Members also identified key priorities to develop for the upcoming 2019 legislative session, including community access to healthy food, maternal and infant health, and childhood immunizations. Methodist Healthcare Ministries is an active member of the coalition and will work to develop and promote efforts to improve public health in Texas communities.

Upcoming Meetings & Events

March 27: House Select Committee Hearing on Opioids & Substance Abuse
March 28: TexasAIM Webinar on Implementing AIM Maternal Safety Bundles in Texas
March 29: UTRGV M.A.S.S Lecture Series
March 31: Application for the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force
April 5-6: Texas Primary Care and Health Home Summit
April 13-14: RGV Medical Education Conference & Exposition
April 20-21: San Antonio Substance Use Symposium
April 24-25: Eliminate Tobacco Use Summit
April 26-27: Active for Life Health & Wellness Conference

Health Care Policy News

Women’s Health
The Texas Tribune: Four highlights from the Texas Tribune’s women’s symposium roundtables

MySA: Immunize our kids from HPV-related cancer

ACA Special Enrollment Periods
CPPP: New outreach materials for special enrollment periods

Spinal Screening
Texas Department of State Health Services: Spinal screening policy effective 2018-2019 school year

Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards
PCORI: Funding Opportunities

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