P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2010
AUSTIN — Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, will preside over a sweeping review of the state's top health policy challenges under interim assignments released today by the lieutenant governor.
Senator Nelson is chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee. She also will participate in studies of the state's fiscal responsibility and government transparency as a member of the Senate committees on Finance and Government Organization.
"Because we will be facing enormous funding challenges as we work to meet our needs on education, transportation and a whole host of other issues, it is vital that we begin our preparations immediately," said Senator Nelson, who discussed the assignments today with Lt. Governor David Dewhurst at Baylor Regional Medical Center-Grapevine. "Cost containment needs to be a major priority as we examine strategies to meet our health and human services needs. We will closely monitor the federal discussions, which could drastically alter the way we deliver health care in Texas. Growing our medical work force, taking care of our seniors, protecting abused and neglected children, and improving the overall health of our citizens will also be important areas of our focus."
The Senate's 17 standing committees were tasked with formulating recommendations on education, transportation, the economy and other important issues in preparation for the 2011 legislative session. Those recommendations must be publicly reported by December 1, 2010. For a complete list of Texas Senate's interim charges, visit http://www.senate.state.tx.us.
As chair of the state's top health policy-making body, Senator Nelson will play a key role in developing plans to confront the issues outlined in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee's interim charges. Highlights include studies of:
- the potential impact of federal reforms to the Texas health care system;
- the state's preparedness to confront H1N1 and other public health threats;
- our ability to serve and protect a graying population;
- community-based prevention to reduce obesity rates, increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and improve self-management of chronic diseases;
- the current and long-range need for physicians, nurses, dentists and other medical professionals
- the efficiency, safety, and quality of health care in Medicaid and other entitlement programs;
- the implementation of Senator Nelson's reform plan to protect Texans with disabilities living in our state-supported living centers or residential settings;
- 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.
"We must always remember our responsibility to those who depend on these critical state services, as well as our fiduciary duty to those who support these services with their hard-earned tax dollars, especially in these difficult economic times," Senator Nelson said.