P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 1997
AUSTIN - State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and other members of the Senate Interim Committee on Managed Care and Consumer Protections today announced a package of bills to ensure accessible, quality care for Texans enrolled in managed health care plans.
"Nothing is more important to Texas families than their health," Senator Nelson said. "These bills will ensure that, as more Texans participate in managed care health plans, the quality of care they receive will not diminish."
Nelson is co-sponsoring six bills stemming from recommendations approved by the committee in its December report. Nelson authored legislation relating to patient confidentiality, access to emergency care, and utilization review. Utilization review is the process by which insurers make decisions about what care will be covered.
"When you're sick, you don't want to spend 30 minutes on the phone just to hear a data processor at a computer tell you you don't need medical treatment. When my child is gasping for breath in a pool of blood, I know it's an emergency and I'm not going to waste time calling an HMO for approval to get her to the hospital. When my mother goes in for a breast cancer screening, I don't want her to wind up with a mailbox full of silicone implant brochures," Nelson commented.
Highlights of Nelson's bill include:
- More stringent confidentiality protections for patient records;
- Including a "prudent layperson" standard in the definition of emergency care; and
- Requiring that personnel performing utilization review procedures be licensed physicians, nurses, or physician assistants.
"Managed care is an ever-expanding part of Texas health care." Nelson commented. "There are areas where the doctor-patient relationship is being eroded by third party interference. These safeguards will protect that sacred bond as managed care continues to expand in Texas."
Nelson, who is vice Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, has also filed bills to ensure women direct access to their OB/GYNs and to guarantee 48-hour hospital stays for mothers and newborns.
Other members of the Managed Care Committee are: Senators David Sibley, R-Waco (Chair); David Cain, D-Dallas; Chris Harris, R- Arlington; and Frank Madla, D-San Antonio.
Detailed bill summaries are available.