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Mental Health Reform Approved By Senate Committee
AUSTIN —The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services today unanimously approved SB 58 by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, to reform the mental health system in Texas and better coordinate care for patients.
SB 58 improves mental health care by placing mental health services into a managed care setting, integrating behavioral and physical health and expanding the number of providers who offer these services. The Legislative Budget Board has estimated that the bill will achieve $9.24 million in savings over the next 5 years -- $1.13 million in the first biennium. Specifically, it:
- Creates an advisory committee of consumers, managed care organizations and other stakeholders to assist the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) in implementing managed care;
- Requires the establishment of two health home pilots for individuals with serious mental health issues and at least one additional chronic disease;
- Ensures that services are comprehensive;
- Clarifies that the network should include public and private providers;
- Requires HHSC to evaluate the costs and benefits of using peer specialists to provide services;
- Ensures that services are recovery-focused; and
- Ensures that rules are created and enforced by HHSC.
"Following the tragedy in Connecticut last year, we have made mental health a priority this session," said Senator Nelson. "By including mental health services in managed care, which was an interim recommendation, we can not only provide better care to Texans, but we can do so in a cost-effective way and allow more consumer choice," said Senator Nelson.
SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.