FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2005
AUSTIN, TX--Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. reached a compromise today to return the operation of the Type 2 diabetes risk assessment program to the University of Texas-Pan American Border Health Coordination Office instead of the Texas Department of State Health Services, as the bill originally required, by agreeing to an amendment by Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa.
Senate Bill 1239 would have allowed the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to coordinate the current Acanthosis Nigricans program to detect Type 2 diabetes among school children, and contract with higher education institutions like the Border Health Coordination Office, which was created in 1990. The program is currently administered in 11 of 20 Education Service Center Regions in the state, primarily in areas closer to the Border and with high Hispanic populations. The bill would allow for expansion to all Education Service Center Regions as funds become available.
"I commend Sen. Frank Madla, co-author of the bill, for working so closely with me so that we eventually reach our goal of seeing the Type 2 diabetes risk assessment program become statewide," said Sen. Lucio. "We will continue to monitor the work of the Border Health Coordination Office to ensure that this program becomes strong and viable," said Sen. Lucio.
The Border Health Coordination Office will conduct the assessments as a pilot project, subject to sunset after two years, and the office must submit a report to the Legislature concerning the effectiveness of the risk assessment program.
Under the current program, students are first screened for Acanthosis Nigricans (AN), a marker visible on the body and a possible indicator of a person having or being at-risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Under the bill, however, a school nurse or other trained professional would first assess the body mass index (BMI) of a student, and if the BMI is elevated, then the student would be screened for AN and high blood pressure. The parents or guardians of the student will receive the information with an explanation of the assessment and advice on seeking further medical evaluation for the child.
The bill retains the Type 2 diabetes risk assessment program advisory committee operated by the Texas Diabetes Council, and will include members from the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Medical Association, a representative from an institute of higher learning, the Texas Pediatric Society, two school nurses (from rural and urban areas), a school district administrator, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and a parent of a child with Type 2 diabetes.
The bill will now be considered by the House of Representatives.