P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2012
AUSTIN — Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, will lead a sweeping review of the state's most pressing health and human services challenges under interim charges assigned today to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.
"This list includes both continuing priorities and emerging topics that need to be addressed in the next session. We must closely monitor the ongoing legal challenge to federal health care reform; re-evaluate our mental health system; continue our efforts to improve the overall quality of our health care system; and step up our efforts to reduce fraud, waste and inefficiency," said Senator Nelson, chair of the committee. "Because Texas is a large, diverse, border state, the challenges we face are unique from the rest of the country. As we work to meet the needs of our citizens, it is vital to make the best possible use of our limited resources."
Highlights of the committee's interim charges include assignments to:
- Monitor the impact of federal health care reforms on insurance, Medicaid, CHIP, and the state budget; and ensure the state does not expend any resources until judicial direction is clear.
- Conduct a comprehensive review of our state's mental health system.
- Examine cost-containment strategies throughout the state's health service programs.
- Review the procedures used to authorize Medicaid services and explore ways to reduce fraud and waste, including a specific directive to study fraud in Medicaid orthodontic services.
- Assess ways to lower costs and improve quality among services offered in the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Waivers program.
- Explore ways to improve retention of Child Protective Services caseworkers.
- Evaluate the way public funds are distributed to our local health departments.
- Monitor the ongoing redesign of our foster system and other ongoing reforms.
Attached are the charges in full. Interim charges are assigned to each Senate committee, which must research and conduct public hearings on each charge. Committees must report their findings and recommendations prior to the next legislative session in January 2013. To read about interim charges assigned to other committees, visit www.senate.state.tx.us.