Senate Interim Committee on Health and
The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services was charged
with monitoring the development of Medicaid and welfare reform
on a state and national level. In January 1996, the charges were
broadened to include a review of the Texas Department of Protective
and Regulatory Services' (DPRS) investigations of abuse and neglect
at the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation
(MHMR) facilities. In May 1996, these charges were again expanded
to include recommendations for improving the immunization program
and identifying steps to limit access to tobacco and alcohol by
In total, 240 recommendations were submitted to the committee
by agencies, organizations and the public. The committee adopted
25 motions, which were reorganized and renumbered into recommendations
by issue. All of the motions were adopted unanimously by the
committee. The committee and staff worked extensively prior to
adoption of the motions to ensure that differences were worked
out. As legislation is developed and is considered by the 75th
Legislature, it is likely that these recommendations will be refined.
MEDICAID AND WELFARE REFORM
Reaffirm goals relating to
Texas' 1995 statewide Medicaid reforms.
Reinvest managed care savings
in the Medicaid program.
Expand Medicaid services to
children and adults, with a priority on children's coverage.
Allow local funding sources
to be certified as Medicaid match.
Revise Texas' statewide Medicaid
waiver application to allow hospital districts, in conjunction
with children's hospitals, to form regional networks to provide
services to newly eligible children.
Implement managed care in
Texas communities using alternative federal authority until the
statewide Medicaid waiver is approved.
Develop standards for managed
Develop a pilot program for
children with special health needs.
Ensure client access through
the Medicaid Vendor Drug (prescriptions) Program.
Provide better coordination
for long-term care.
Change certain provisions
in welfare reform to increase participation in Texas' work programs.
DPRS INVESTIGATIONS OF MHMR AND COMMUNITY
Allow DPRS to prioritize investigations.
Give MHMR more authority to
release employees who are found to have abused, neglected, or
exploited disabled clients.
Clarify definitions and rules
relating to investigations and require an annual report detailing
Develop a program to improve
the efficiency and professionalism of DPRS investigators at MHMR
MEDICALLY FRAGILE CHILDREN IN NURSING
Provide temporary support
and services for families with medically fragile children at home
to provide additional time in identifying potential resources
for long-term support other than nursing home care.
Provide for review of the
Texas Sunset Commission's recommendations on DPRS programs affecting
special needs children.
IMMUNIZATION PROGRAMS AND
LIMITING CHILDREN'S ACCESS TO TOBACCO
Expand immunization and education
programs and require statewide tracking.
Provide that any legislation
not pre-empt local smoking ordinances.
Prohibit minors' possession
of tobacco, mandating education and awareness programs for minors
who violated possession laws, and license retailers to sell tobacco,
with a fee dedicated to enforcement and education of minors.
Study whether tobacco should
be declared a dangerously addictive and harmful product.
Ban children's access to certain
establishments selling alcohol and develop new education programs.