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Emergency Borrowing and Services for the Disabled or Elderly - S.B. 17

by Senator Fraser

House Sponsor: Representative Place

§ Allows the board of directors of a county hospital authority (authority) to borrow money at a certain interest rate if the board declares that funds are not available to meet lawfully authorized obligations and that an emergency exists.

§ Allows the authority to construct, acquire, own, operate, improve, furnish, equip, or provide the following facilities and services to care for the disabled or elderly: a nursing home or similar long-term care facility, elderly housing, assisted living services, home health care, personal care, special care, continuing care, or durable medical equipment.

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Using Internet Sites to Provide Technical Assistance to Human Services Providers - S.B. 290

by Senator Zaffirini, et al.

House Sponsor: Representative Maxey

§ Requires health and human service agencies, in conjunction with the Department of Information Resources, to enhance existing Internet sites to provide technical assistance for human services providers.

§ Requires the assistance to include information on the impact of federal and state welfare reform changes on human services providers.

§ Prohibits the assistance from including confidential information on a client of a human services provider.

§ Requires a legislative report on the cost effectiveness of using the Internet in this manner.

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Poison Control Center Network Services - S.B. 388

by Senator Whitmire

House Sponsor: Representative Van de Putte

§ Authorizes the Texas Department of Health and the Advisory Commission on State Emergency Communications to adopt rules which permit poison control centers to provide services for regions served by other poison control centers in this state.

§ Authorizes the contracting, subject to the governor's approval, with any person to provide telephone referral and information services or any community education and assistance program. If a contract is approved, requires contracting with one or more regional poison control centers to provide the required services, unless it would result in diminished services.

§ Requires a study to be done to determine what opportunities may exist to provide poison control services through outside contracts.

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Local Maintenance of Vital Statistics - S.B. 444

by Senator Zaffirini

House Sponsor: Representative Berlanga

§ Expands the means of registering a birth, death, or fetal death to include photographic, electronic, or other means as prescribed by the state registrar.

§ Authorizes the destruction of birth, death, or fetal death permanent records after the first year of the incident, if the local registrar has access to the electronic database maintained by the Bureau of Vital Statistics at the Texas Department of Health and verifies the existence of the records in the bureau's database, before the records' destruction.

§ Eliminates compensation of local registrars and county clerks for each birth, death, or fetal death certificate that is registered, correctly recorded, and promptly sent to the Bureau of Vital Statistics.

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Guardianship Advisory Board - S.B. 586

by Senator Moncrief

House Sponsor: Representative Naishtat

§ Creates the Guardianship Advisory Board to advise the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) in adopting minimum standards for acting as a guardian for incapacitated individuals or other individuals who need assistance in making decisions concerning the individual's own welfare or financial affairs.

§ Requires HHSC to adopt minimum standards for the provision of guardianship and related services by a guardianship program; a person who provides guardianship services, including volunteer guardians; and a person who serves as a private professional guardian.

§ Requires HHSC to develop and, subject to appropriations, implement a plan:

§ to ensure that each incapacitated individual in the state who needs a guardianship or another less restrictive type of assistance receives the guardianship or assistance;

§ to foster the establishment and growth of local volunteer guardianship; and

§ to protect the interests of an incapacitated individual or other individual needing guardianship assistance.

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Using Organ Donor Cards - S.B. 952

by Senator Moncrief

House Sponsor: Representative Delisi

§ Authorizes donor cards to be provided by organ or tissue procurement organizations or eye banks, as evidence of a person's intention to make organ, tissue, or eye donations.

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Unlicensed Personal Care Facilities - H.B. 1596

by Representative Hochberg

Senate Sponsor: Senator Moncrief

§ Requires the Texas Department of Human Services (DHS) to establish procedures to issue a six-month provisional license to an existing personal care facility (facility) with residents. Authorizes the provisional license if the facility complies with resident care standards and the improvement is only for voluntarily disclosed problems relating to the life safety code or physical plant standards. Prohibits DHS from issuing a license to the facility if it does not meet specifications at the end of the six-month provisional license period.

§ Authorizes a municipality to prohibit the operation of a facility without a license and establish a procedure for emergency closure of a facility.

§ Authorizes DHS to petition a district court for a temporary restraining order to inspect a facility allegedly operating without a license when admission to the facility cannot be obtained.

§ Establishes civil penalties for operating a facility without a license.

§ Requires DHS to refer the case to the local district attorney, county attorney, or city attorney if the attorney general fails to take action within 30 days. Requires the attorney to file suit in a district court to collect and retain the penalty.

§ Prohibits investigation and attorney's fees from being assessed or collected by or on behalf of DHS or other state agency unless a penalty is assessed and collected.

§ Requires legal representatives to work in close cooperation throughout any legal proceedings requested by DHS. Requires the commissioner of human services to approve any settlement agreement to a suit.

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Sunset Commission Studies of Health and Human Services Needs - H.B. 2385

by Representative Delisi

Senate Sponsor: Senator Zaffirini

§ Requires the Sunset Advisory Commission to study and make recommendations on:

§ the need for objective research and analysis of health and human services needs and programs;

§ options for objective development of a long-range strategic plan for health and human services in this state;

§ whether existing resources available to the legislature include safeguards needed to maintain the quality of research and promote greater accountability to state leadership; and

§ the most appropriate means for providing to the legislature the research information necessary to manage Texas' health and human services system and plan for its future.

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Texas Information and Referral Network - H.B. 2596

by Representatives King and Maxey

Senate Sponsor: Senator Zaffirini

§ Designates the Texas Information and Referral Network (network) of HHSC as the program responsible for the development, coordination, and implementation of a statewide information and referral network that integrates existing community-based structures with state and local agencies.

§ Authorizes the network to develop an Internet site to provide information, indexed by geographic area and type of service regarding the health and human services throughout the state.

§ Requires HHSC to establish a task force to implement the statewide information and referral system for health and human services, and to make recommendations to HHSC and other agencies providing health and human services.

§ Requires the task force to evaluate the use of the Internet and other methods of providing access to information and referral services; conduct an inventory of all existing information and referral systems; and recommend a strategy for eliminating duplicative toll-free telephone numbers.

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Special Procedures for Victims of Family Violence Who Receive Assistance - H.B. 3428

by Representative Naishtat, et al.

Senate Sponsor: Senator Moncrief

§ Requires the Texas Department of Human Services (DHS), Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), and the child support agency to adopt procedures under which requirements for financial assistance and related services may be waived or modified for a person who is a victim of family violence. Outlines requirements for procedures.

§ Prohibits DHS, TWC, and the child support agency from denying access to education, training, employment, or other services because the person is a victim of family violence.

§ Requires DHS to conduct a study, using an independent research group and existing funds, to develop a process or instrument for identifying characteristics of individuals who are victims of family violence, and to identify services that provide the greatest assistance to victims of family violence in attaining financial independence.

§ Requires DHS, TWC, and the child support agency to submit a joint report to the legislature on waivers and modifications. Outlines what the report must include.

§ Requires agencies to request a waiver or authorization from a federal agency if necessary for implementing these provisions, and authorizes a delay in implementing provisions if a federal waiver is required.