P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2009
AUSTIN — State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today filed SB 7, omnibus legislation designed to improve patient outcomes in the Medicaid system and make more efficient use of tax dollars supporting the $21 billion-a-year health program for needy and disabled Texans.
"Our goal is to modernize the system and re-focus it on what matters most – the health of the patient," Senator Nelson said. "We need to update our technology because it simplifies the claims process, reduces administrative costs and prevents errors. Healthy lifestyles must be emphasized. Health care providers should be rewarded for positive outcomes. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for deadly, preventable mistakes. Cost containment is also important, as Medicaid consumes a fourth of the overall state budget." SB 7:
- Requires hospitals to report preventable medical errors that harm patients and require re-admission, along with the reporting of acquired infections required under SB 288 by Senator Nelson in 2007;
- Prohibits payments in cases of catastrophic, preventable mistakes known as "never" events;
- Require hospitals to fill out surveys detailing their uncompensated care costs to help bring consistency to the payment formulas;
- Develops a pilot program to reduce obesity and improve nutrition in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP);
- Establishes a "medical home" pilot program connecting patients with care coordinators to manage their different health care needs and wellness plans;
- Creates a health information exchange system, incorporating electronic health records for Medicaid and CHIP recipients, along with e-prescribing tools for health care providers;
- Authorizes incentives for long-term care facilities that demonstrate a high level of care;
- Authorizes pilot programs for quality-based payment systems for health care providers emphasizing efficiency, best practices, help the state achieve cost savings, or improve outcomes for their patients;
- Requires a standardized protocol for patient wristbands in hospitals to ensure patient safety.
More than 4.1 million Texans, 29 percent of them children, received services under Texas Medicaid. Last session the Legislature approved SB 10 by Senator Nelson to reform the system. However, most of the provisions are dependent upon a federal Medicaid waiver, which has yet to be granted.