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September 23, 1997     (512) 463-0300

Texas Medical Care Billing Practices to be Evaluated

AUSTIN - The Senate Interim Committee on Health and Human Services has another challenge ahead of them. Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock announced a supplemental charge calling for the study of patient billing practices of Texas hospitals and health providers.

"We need to end the confusion that comes with most medical bills about service charges and total costs," Bullock said. "I hope they (the committee) will look at ways of establishing some form of standardized billing that ensures statements are accurate, complete and simple to understand."

The committee is to come up with a system that will explain medical charges and establish reasonable payment schedules. Bullock also requested that the committee include an appeal process for incorrect or excessive billings.

The committee is chaired by Senator Judith Zaffirini of Laredo and includes Senators Chris Harris of Arlington, Frank Madla of San Antonio, John Carona of Dallas, and Jon Lindsay of Houston.

Other areas the committee is investigating are Medicaid fraud, welfare programs, and minors' access to tobacco.

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