The Committee shall:
- Examine the status of the Health Care Network Advisory Committee's (HNAC) and the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission's implementation of the regional workers' compensation health care delivery networks outlined in Article 2 of HB 2600 (77th Legislature, 2001).
- Study the potential impact of networks on the workers' compensation health care delivery system. Include in the study:
- Quality of care;
- Network adequacy and access to care;
- Disclosure of information to patients, complaint procedures, appeal rights and overall patient satisfaction;
- Costs of care;
- Provider credentialing, selection and dispute resolution;
- Financial risks to providers, employers and carriers;
- Effects of networks on the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission; and
- Quality monitoring systems such as independent report cards.
- Study the impact of the Texas Workers' Compensation Commission's 2002 Medical Fee Guideline on access to quality medical care for injured workers and medical costs, including recommendations on whether the legislature should statutorily prescribe a methodology for calculating the workers' compensation conversion factor.
- Survey the costs and benefits of other health system cost-containment strategies as they relate to medical, therapeutic, and pharmaceutical care, including but not limited to, doctor selection, deductibles, co-payments, preauthorization of services, and return-to-work programs.
- Conduct a cost-benefit analysis, to the extent possible, comparing the Texas workers' compensation system to systems operating in other states. Make recommendations to improve the quality of care for injured workers, reduce fraud and inefficiencies, reduce overall claim costs, and streamline the administration of the system. Recommendations should address data exchange, advisory groups and review panels, dispute resolution, enforcement issues, paperwork reduction, and billing and administrative efficiencies.
- Study the efficiency and effectiveness of the state's workers' compensation system including a comparison of the medical and indemnity costs associated with the Texas A&M University system, the University of Texas system, the Texas Department of Transportation and the State Office of Risk Management. Evaluate the potential costs and benefits associated with state agency participation in workers' compensation networks.
The committee shall submit copies of its final report no later than December 1, 2004. The printing of reports should be coordinated through the Secretary of the Senate. Copies of the final report should be sent to the Lieutenant Governor (5 copies), Secretary of the Senate, Senate Research, Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Council, and Legislative Reference Library.
The final report should include recommended statutory or agency rulemaking changes, if applicable. Such recommendations must be approved by a majority of the voting members of the Committee. Recommendations should also include state and local fiscal cost estimates, where feasible. The Legislative Budget Board is available to assist in this regard.
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Budget and Staff
The Committee may seek policy and administrative staff support from the Chairman's Capitol staff, the staff of the Senate State Affairs Committee, and Scott Caffey, the Senate Committee Coordinator. Travel costs shall be paid from the operating budgets of Senate members. Because the Senate's overall appropriation was reduced this biennium, separate budgets for select committees can only be approved under extraordinary circumstances.
The Committee should also seek the assistance of legislative and executive branch agencies where appropriate.
Pursuant to Section 301.041, Government Code, it may be necessary to change the membership of a committee if a member is not returning to the Legislature in 2005. This will ensure that the work of interim committees is carried forward into the 79th Legislative Session.