• Latest Legislative News

    • Keep Perinatal Advisory Council
      We understand that a goal of HB 2304 is to reduce redundant or outdated councils and committees, while also directing the HHSC executive commissioner to appoint new advisory bodies where appropriate to solicit external expertise. But the Perinatal Council’s work is too important to suspend. Its work underpins a safe, effective system of care for pregnant women and newborns and ultimately will result in better birth outcomes. We urge your continued support.
    • Delay DSHS/DFPS Merger; Support Other Sunset Proposals
      Over the past 18 months, the Sunset Advisory Commission performed a remarkably thorough review of the agency. The Sunset report to the legislature included numerous recommendations championed by our organizations, including proposals to streamline the Medicaid application and credentialing processes; undertake new initiatives to improve health care quality; and consolidate HHSC and OIG audits of Medicaid managed care plans to reduce duplication and administrative costs on health plans and physicians in their networks
    • Expanding Raw Milk Sales Could Be Unhealthy
      There is lack of science and practice on what would make raw milk safe. We encourage you to task one of our state public health institutions with this question. If the wider distribution and sale of raw milk is legalized, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will need to convene state and national experts to develop rules to determine an adequate level of safety for raw milk products. In the end, DSHS will need to adopt evidence-based standards that will minimize the threat to health.
    • Require Childproof Packaging for E-cigarettes
      Texas pediatricians are concerned about the known and unknown health risks associated with smoking or “vaping” e-cigarettes. Scientific conclusions on the effects of e-cigarettes are only now beginning to emerge and vary widely due to variability across devices, e-juices and product brands. However, we feel there is enough evidence associated with the health risks of ingesting e-cigarette liquids that substantial protections need to be put in place in order to protect our smallest children from poisonings.
    • State Budget Negotiations Begin
      Every legislative session, in the process of writing a two-year state budget, the Texas Senate and House of Representatives each craft their own version of the spending plan. The work of reconciling the differences between the House and Senate budgets falls to a 10-person conference committee appointed by the lieutenant governor and speaker of the house. The 2015 Texas Legislature reached that milestone for House Bill 1, this session’s budget bill, on April 23.
    • Advisory Council Improvements Will Help Mothers, Newborns
      The Perinatal Advisory Council has met quarterly and recently provided its recommendations for neonatal levels of care to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). DSHS hopes to officially propose the rules in September 2015. The Perinatal Council’s recommendations parallel national neonatal standards but are designed for Texas. The proposal provides more flexibility to hospitals than the national guidelines to accommodate the unique challenges faced by rural hospitals. At each step of the drafting process, the council obtained lively, honest, and robust stakeholder input.
    • Reach Out and Read Helps Children
      Pediatricians and other medical providers are often the first contact for a family and a trusted authority on all things associated with childhood development. For these reasons the American Academy of Pediatrics has acknowledged that literacy promotion is an essential component of pediatric primary care.  Literacy promotion via the physician’s office is at the heart of the Reach Out and Read program.
    • Preserve Fitnessgram
      Our state is facing a childhood obesity epidemic. The current Fitnessgram measurement provides essential data to allow schools, communities, the state and philanthropic groups to target resources to address the epidemic. Leaders at all levels of government have recognized the magnitude of the childhood obesity epidemic and the need for data to reverse the epidemic. Former Comptroller Susan Combs understood the impact of obesity on Texas and on Texas’ businesses and released reports citing her concern for the projected costs to Texas businesses as a result of the obesity epidemic. Despite promising work and interventions, this threat is real and this threat remains.
    • Medical Power of Attorney Co-Agents a Troubling Idea
      TMA and THA believe designated co-agents for health care decisions would make challenging and complex situations even more difficult and confusing. Under this language, any co-agent may act independently, and a third party may rely on the decisions of any co-agent. Probate attorneys have suggested that in the event of a disagreement between co-agents, the physician or health care provider may refuse to accept the medical power of attorney with respect to that matter. This does not help a physician or hospital when trying to make critical end-of-life decisions, which may or may not include the decisions related to the provision or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. We are sure that we do not have to remind the committee of the sensitive nature of that topic and related legislation.