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May 15, 2013 (512) 463-0300


(AUSTIN) — Texas would begin to rank hospitals based on the quality of neonatal intensive care under a bill approved by the Senate Wednesday. According to bill sponsor Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, too many children are born in Texas hospitals that aren't able to meet their needs. "Half of Texas babies with very low birth weight are born in hospitals that are unable to provide an adequate level of care, putting Texas in the bottom 5% of the country on this quality measure," she said. Furthermore, Texas ranks 29th out of 50 states in child mortality rates, according to the US Census Bureau. HB 15 aims to improve that number by creating accreditation standards for neonatal intensive care.

Last session, the Legislature created a neonatal intensive care council that was charged with developing standards for accrediting hospitals and developing standards of care. HB 15 would implement the council's interim findings. It would create the Perinatal Advisory Council which would develop criteria for judging the standard of neonatal and maternal levels of care at a hospital, and then would assign a designation based on that level of care. Hospitals that don't meet a minimum standard of care couldn't receive Medicaid reimbursements for non-emergency neonatal and maternal services. This bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously, and now heads to the Governor's desk for his signature.

Other bills passed by the Legislature Wednesday include:

The Senate will reconvene Thursday, May 16 at 11 a.m.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's Audio/Video Archive.