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Seal of the Senate of the State of Texas
Welcome to the official website for the
Texas Senate
Senator Jane Nelson: District 12
Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
News Release
February 16, 2011
Contact: Janet Elliott
Senator Nelson Files Bills to Lower Costs, Improve Health Care Quality

AUSTIN — Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today filed two bills to re-structure the health care payment system to increase savings and improve medical outcomes.

"These bills move us toward a payment system that rewards quality outcomes rather than quantity of services, along with reducing our costs for unnecessary tests and preventable hospital readmissions. We need to refocus our payment system on the true goal -- healthy outcomes for Texans," said Senator Nelson.

Senate Bill 7 re-focuses the payment system for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program to discourage waste and abuse and to encourage healthy outcomes for clients. Senate Bill 8 re-names and re-aligns the Health Care Policy Council into the Texas Institute of Health Care Quality and Efficiency, giving it a new mission of improving outcomes for state employees, teachers and others.

Key provisions of SB 7 would:

  • authorize Medicaid payment reductions in cases of preventable readmissions and complications;
  • establish copayments for unnecessary emergency room visits;
  • provide incentives for providers who reduce waste and improve quality of care; and
  • initiate a study of pay-for-performance in long-term care.

Key provisions of SB 8 would:

  • develop a statewide plan for improving quality and increasing efficiency through performance-based payments;
  • test innovative health care models such as accountable care organizations, allowing groups of physicians and hospitals to be held accountable for the costs and quality of care -- and share in the savings;
  • require public reporting of potentially preventable readmissions and complications;
  • require the Department of State Health Services to work with hospitals to create standardized patient identification wristbands based on patient medical characteristics; and
  • require the Department of State Health Services to study and make recommendations on reporting potentially preventable adverse health conditions that occur in long-term care facilities.

"If we fail to address these structural flaws, our health care costs will continue to soar, which either will mean ill-advised tax increases or deep cuts to funding for schools, roads, public safety and other priorities," said Senator Nelson.

Senator Nelson represents Senate District 12, which includes portions of Denton and Tarrant counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee.