Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Fax (512) 463-0923

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 23, 2010
Contact: Janet Elliott (512) 463-0112

Senate Health & Human Services Committee Begins Interim Hearings

AUSTIN — As Chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today presided over the first of several public hearings planned over the next few months to consider solutions to the state's most pressing health policy challenges. The hearings are part of the committee's interim assignment to review and make recommendations on 14 charges prior to the next legislative session.

"Our hearings this week are focused on addressing our health care workforce shortages, reviewing our preparations for H1N1 and other public health threats, and making better use of our dollars in Medicaid waiver programs," Senator Nelson said. "These hearings provide a forum for stakeholders and citizens to share their concerns and suggestions with the committee. It is vital that we receive public input as we consider public policy on these important issues."

Specifically, the committee is hearing testimony today on Charge #12 (Review the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services waivers and develop recommendations to assure that people with significant disabilities are receiving needed services to remain in or transition to the community) and Charge #5 (Study the state's current and long-term needs for health care professionals, focusing on medically underserved and rural areas of the state as well as the border region. Make recommendations to enhance the efficient use of Advanced Practice Nurses in Texas.)

On Wednesday the Committee will hear testimony on Charge # 8 (Review the state's ability to respond to the H1N1 influenza pandemic by examining issues related to vaccine distribution and capacity. Assess the state's ability to track and record vaccinations through the ImmTrac registry.)

To watch the committee hearing live, visit www.senate.state.tx.us and click on "news and media, live video." Scroll down and select the Committee on Health & Human Services.

Hearings in coming months will focus on other interim charges, including prevention programs to reduce obesity rates and increase physical activity; strategies to enhance mental health services to abused and neglected children; and methods to facilitate the exchange of health care information and protect patient privacy. A list of the committee's interim charges is available at http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/commit/c610/c610.htm. To sign up for e-mail notifications, go to the "My TLO" section of www.legis.state.tx.us.

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