TMA Supports Privatizing Texas Health Services Authority

TMA Testimony

House Committee on Human Services
Texas Medical Association Testimony on House Bill 1680

March 16, 2015

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) appreciates the work of the Sunset Advisory Commission and staff in carefully analyzing the work of the Texas Health Services Authority (THSA). Since its inception, THSA has assisted the state in navigating the new and complex health care environment of health data exchange. TMA also appreciates the work of Chairman Raymond and his staff as they work to implement the recommendations of the Sunset Commission and staff included in House Bill 1680.  

TMA supports the sunset of the state status of this organization and its privatization in 2021. We agree with Sunset Commission members that it is important to establish parameters for a transition plan to protect the state’s interest and investment. 

In regard to any future organization or entity that the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) designates to provide certification of compliance with privacy and security standards for the electronic sharing of protected health information, TMA would request the addition of the following language to ensure that health care providers and other covered entities are charged a reasonable fee for provision of the certification. Additionally, although HHSC likely would include language to permit termination for cause of any contractual relationship with the designated organization or entity, we recommend inclusion of the following protective language as well.  

Proposed new language: A new subsection (l) and (m) added to Section 182.108, Health and Safety Code, with relettering of subsequent subsections in the bill as appropriate.

   (l) The Health and Human Services Commission shall ensure that any fee charged to a covered entity by any designated organization or entity, including any person operating on behalf of a designated organization or entity, for the certification process described in subsection (j) is reasonable. If the Health and Human Services Commission establishes the process under subsection (j)(1), the Health and Human Services Commission shall set a reasonable fee for the certification process.

   (m) For good cause, the Health and Human Services Commission may revoke the designation or authority of an organization or an entity to establish the process or offer certifications under subsection (j).

Thank you for your consideration of our comments during this important process. We look forward to working with the author and members to ensure the success of this sunset legislation.

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June 13, 2016