Senator Bob Deuell
Texas Senate, District 2
P.O. Box 12068 Capitol Station, Austin, Texas 78711

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2006
(512) 463-0102

CAPITOL UPDATE

Interim Charges - Health and Human Services

AUSTIN - During the months between regular sessions, members from both the House and Senate hold meetings and public hearings to study and make recommendations to the next legislature on specific issues. Last week, I outlined the interim charges being examined by the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee. This week, I have outlined the charges being studied by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, on which I serve as Vice-Chair.

  1. Study and make recommendations for improving delivery of Texas' mental health services; consider local and regional delivery systems including access to care, cost effectiveness, choice and competition, and quality of care.
  2. Monitor state and federal Medicaid reform proposals, including their impact on the Medicaid program in Texas, as well as cost-containment measures in other states, and make recommendations for legislative action, as appropriate.
  3. Study and make recommendations relating to filling shortages in the health care workforce and improving medical educational services. Evaluate the state's use of the National Health Service Corps and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to address the needs of the Medicaid/Medicare and underinsured populations.
  4. Examine the strategies used by other states that have had success with FQHCs and make recommendations for increasing the number of FQHCs in Texas.
  5. Study and make recommendations relating to policy issues surrounding the use of emerging skin cell research, and other technologies.
  6. Study and make recommendations for improving vaccination rates and ensuring an adequate vaccination supply in the state. Include an analysis of vaccine manufacturing and purchasing policies.
  7. Evaluate and make recommendations relating to the creation of a comprehensive and statewide nutrition and physical activity plan to address obesity and chronic diseases. Examine options for funding components of such a plan.
  8. Monitor the implementation of S.B. 6, 79th Legislature, Regular Session, relating to Child and Adult Protective Services. Study and make recommendations for development and enhancements to protocols for joint investigations by child protective service workers and law enforcement and for interviews with children for disclosure of abuse.
  9. Study the current use of the 2-1-1 network to provide access to information on federal, state, and local resources. Examine and make recommendations on strategies that improve the coordination of service information and expand the availability of information on services currently provided by community and faith-based organizations.
  10. Monitor the implementation of H.B. 2292, 78th Legislature, Regular Session, relating to health and human services. Focus on implementation of service coordination and consolidation efforts to assess the impact on service quality, while reducing costs.

Joint Charges - State Affairs Committee:

  1. Examine and make recommendations, if necessary, regarding the state's role in regulating pharmacy benefit managers in the interest of consumer protection. Examine alternative methods of dispensing maintenance drugs, including mail service and retail pharmacies, and provide an analysis of the state’s role in protecting consumers.
  2. Study how to reduce dependence on Medicaid for the provision of long term care by increasing use of long-term care insurance and health savings accounts. Include a study of options for increasing the use of advance planning tools, such as health care power of attorney and living wills, to ensure more effective decision-making regarding critical end-of-life and other health care decisions. Finally, study the feasibility of implementing innovative models of nursing facility services that encourage autonomy, choice and dignity of residents.
  3. Study the current laws/policies relating to forensic patients in our State Hospitals and Community Mental Health Organizations. Include analysis of and recommendations relating to pre- and post-trial forensic patients, competency laws and procedures, current treatment policies and guidelines, cost and placement considerations for creating specialty units for forensic patients, judicial discretion and medical best practices.

The Committee shall submit copies of its final report no later than December 1, 2006. 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.

To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process, contact the Capitol Office at (512) 463-0102 or mail to Sen. Bob Deuell, Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711. The website for the Texas Senate is www.Senate.state.tx.us. The e-mail address for Sen. Deuell is: bob.deuell@senate.state.tx.us

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