P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2011
AUSTIN — Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today filed SB 7, which contains many of the statutory changes needed to balance the health and human services budget, as lawmakers convened at the Capitol for the first day of the 1st Called Special Session.
"We are ready to push full steam ahead with these reforms. They are critically needed to ensure that we can meet our responsibilities to the people who depend on state services -- within the confines of what we can afford," Senator Nelson said. "We cannot allow the people's will to be thwarted by obstructionist tactics. The people of this state fully expect us to meet our needs without jeopardizing our economic future or adding to the pain already being felt by businesses and families in this difficult economy. It's government's turn to tighten our belts."
The Texas Constitution limits special sessions to no longer than 30 days. Issues must conform to items on the governor's call, which is online at http://governor.state.tx.us/news/proclamation/16212/.
SB 7 includes portions of three bills filed by Senator Nelson during the regular session -- SB 23, relating to efficiencies, cost-savings, and fraud prevention in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP); SB 7, achieving savings in Medicaid and CHIP by re-focusing our health care dollars on better patient outcomes; and SB 8, allowing health care providers to form collaboratives to better coordinate care, free from burdensome federal regulations.
Provisions in the bill filed today include items that are necessary to achieve the savings assumed in the state budget -- such as the expansion of Medicaid managed care; utilization reviews to prevent fraud and waste; the establishment of co-pays for non-emergency visits to emergency rooms; and authorization to reduce payments for treatment associated with preventable medical errors. It includes measures to improve patient outcomes -- such as the public reporting of preventable hospital re-admissions and complications. It also allows providers to join together to improve quality and efficiency without the fear of violating antitrust and fee-splitting laws.