P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2015
AUSTIN – The Senate Health and Human Services Committee today approved SB 200 by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, the Sunset legislation for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).
"SB 200 will make the system more cohesive and easier to navigate, but over an extended timeline that takes into account suggestions from the Governor’s Strike Force Report, allows careful study and ensures strong oversight over the next two sessions," said Senator Nelson. "This approach will still consolidate administrative functions, functionally align programs and make it easier for citizens connect to the services they need."
SB 200 would:
- Create a Policy and Performance Office at HHSC to facilitate system-wide improvements.
- Establish the Transition Legislative Oversight Committee (TLOC) with 4 Senate members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, 4 House members appointed by the Speaker, and 3 public members appointed by the Governor.
- Consolidates administrative functions by September 1, 2016 as required by current law;
- Create in statute divisions at HHSC for Medical and Social Services; Regulatory; Administrative; Facilities; and Office of Inspector General, with flexibility for the Executive Commissioner to create additional divisions and with language expiring in 2023 to align with a limited-scope Sunset review:
- Move client services including women's and mental health and the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and prevention programs at the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to HHSC in 2016;
- Move state hospital operations from DSHS to HHSC in 2016;
- Move Medicaid programs from DSHS and the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) to HHSC in 2016; and
- Merge regulatory functions spread out among three agencies at HHSC in 2016.
Senator Nelson intends to offer a floor amendment that will:
- Abolish and transfer functions of Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and DADS to HHSC in 2016;
- Continue DFPS and DSHS as independent agencies; and
- Direct the Executive Commissioner and TLOC to study whether DFPS and DSHS should continue independently or be merged into HHSC. The Executive Commissioner would make a recommendation by September 1, 2018 to TLOC, which would in turn make a recommendation to the 86th Legislature by December 1, 2018.
The bill now moves before the full Senate for consideration.