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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
April 19, 2011
Contact: Janet Elliott
Senate Passes Bills to Lower Costs, Improve Health Care Quality

AUSTIN — The Senate today passed SB 7 and SB 8, legislation authored by State Senator Jane Nelson to control rising health care costs and improve patient outcomes. The bills now go to the House.

"Our health care payment system should not be based on the number of tests and treatments that are performed on a patient, but on the quality of care that keeps a patient healthy," said Senator Nelson, R-Flower Mound. "Taxpayers should not have to bear the full financial responsibility of preventable hospital re-admissions and complications."

Senate Bill 7 restructures the payment system for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program to focus on healthy outcomes and to reduce costs associated with waste, inefficiency and preventable medical errors. Senate Bill 8 improves efficiency and outcomes across all types of health care.

Key provisions of SB 7 would:

  • authorize Medicaid payment reductions in cases of preventable readmissions and complications;
  • allow the state to share savings with providers who deliver high quality, efficient care;
  • establish copayments for unnecessary emergency room visits;
  • create incentives for providers who reduce non-emergency use of the emergency room; and
  • study pay-for-performance in long-term care.

Key provisions of SB 8 would:

  • develop a statewide plan for improving health care transparency, quality and efficiency;
  • establish the Health Care Collaborative certificate for providers who join together to provide care that promotes quality, patient engagement and coordination of services;
  • require public reporting of potentially preventable readmissions and complications;
  • develop standardized patient identification wristbands based on patient medical characteristics; and
  • recognize exemplary health care facilities and make the information available to the public

"If we fail to address these structural flaws, our health care costs will continue to soar and impact our ability to fund 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.