2005 Legislative Compendium: Public Health

Methamphetamine/Pseudoephedrine Regulation  |  Sexual Assault  |  Cervical Cancer   |  Communicable Diseases  |  HIV Testing of Inmates  |  Prohibition of Tobacco Products to Inmates  |  Health Spas  |  Governor's Health Care Coordinating Council   |  Public Health Close Call  

Methamphetamine/Pseudoephedrine Regulation

The comprehensive child and adult protective services bill, SB 6 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville) and Rep. Suzanna Hupp (R-Kempner), was amended to establish a drug-endangered child initiative aimed at protecting children who are exposed to methamphetamine or to chemicals and other hazardous materials used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine. Also, a provision was added to the bill requiring law enforcement to notify the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) if a child is located on the premises used for the manufacture of methamphetamine. 

HB 164 by Rep. Leo Berman (R-Tyler) and Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) increases the civil and criminal penalties relating to the manufacture of methamphetamine; distribution and retail sales of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and norpsuedoephedrine (does not apply for preparation in liquid, liquid capsule, liquid gel capsules, or by physician prescription); and the possession and transportation of anhydrous ammonia. This bill allows DFPS, law enforcement, and juvenile probation to remove any child found on the premises used for the manufacture of methamphetamine. Also required is a pedigree for each prescription drug not distributed through the normal distribution chain and that is sold, traded, or transferred to any other person. This bill restricts access to over-the-counter products containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and norpsuedoephedrine; and requires an ID, signature, and record of the purchase. A person will not be allowed to purchase more than two packages or a product containing more than six grams of these substances in a single transaction.

SB 66 by Senator Nelson and Rep. Joe Driver (R-Garland) requires the establishment of a voluntary "Methamphetamine Watch Program." The program will inform retailers of the problems associated with the illicit manufacture and use of methamphetamine, and encourage retailers to limit patron accessibility to products used in methamphetamine. The bill provides for good faith reporting to law enforcement personnel and limited liability for those reporting under the established guidelines. SB 66 offers prevention education for students, education for school personnel and parents on how to identify signs of methamphetamine use, and help for children who are users or exposed to chemicals used in methamphetamine manufacturing. Materials will be developed to educate distributors, farmers, retail dealers, cooperatives, and other appropriate people about 1) the use of anhydrous ammonia in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine as well as 2) practices to deter the theft of anhydrous ammonia. Additionally, the bill requires DFPS to establish a drug-endangered child initiative aimed at protecting children who are exposed to methamphetamine or chemical use in the manufacture of methamphetamine manufacturing. 

Sexual Assault

HB 677 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) requires health care facilities to submit plans for providing emergency sexual assault services to the Texas Department of State Health Service (DSHS) that include the following minimum standards: 1) a forensic medical examination; 2) transfer to a facility for treating sexual assault survivors; 3) access to a sexual assault program advocate; 4) private waiting and exams rooms, if available; 5) if indicated by history of contact, appropriate prophylaxis for exposure to sexually transmitted infections; and 6) the name and telephone number of the nearest sexual assault crisis center. The bill also requires DSHS to develop a standard information form for sexual assault survivors that must include: 1) detailed explanation of the forensic medical exam and the requirement for photographs of the genitalia and other injuries; 2) information regarding treatment of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy; 3) information regarding drug-facilitated sexual assault, including the necessity of an immediate urine test; 4) information regarding crime victim compensation; 5) consent for the examination, and provisions of withdrawal of consent at any time during the examination; 6) names and telephone numbers of sexual assault crisis centers statewide; and 7) information regarding post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV infection.

Cervical Cancer

HB 1485 by Representative Thompson and Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) requires health benefit plans, including small employer health benefit plans, to cover an annual diagnostic test for cervical cancer for women 18 and older.

HB 2475 by Rep. Dianne Delisi and Senator Nelson establishes a cervical cancer initiative to work toward eliminating mortality from cervical cancer by the year 2015. DSHS will collaborate with the Texas Cancer Council and convene workgroups to: 1) identify barriers to effective screening and treatment for cervical cancer, including specific barriers affecting providers and patients; 2) identify methods to increase the number of women screened regularly for cervical cancer; 3) review current technologies and best practices for cervical cancer; 4) review technology available to diagnose and prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection; 5) develop methods to create public and private partnerships to increase awareness of cervical cancer and the importance of regular screening; 6) review current screening, treatment, and related activities in the state and identify gaps in service; 7) identify actions that can be taken to reduce the mortality and morbidity from cervical cancer by the year 2015 and a timeline for taking those actions; and 8) make recommendations on policy changes and funding needed to achieve the state plan. 

Infection Rates in Hospitals

An amendment to SB 872 by Senator Nelson and Representative Delisi, relating to disclosure of physician ownership in specialty or niche hospitals, establishes an Advisory Panel on Health Care Associated Infections. The panel is required to study and recommend definitions and methodologies for collecting and reporting evidence-based data on infection rates and/or process measures.

Communicable Diseases

HB 162 by Rep. Brian McCall (R-Plano) and Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas) requires hospitals and local health authorities to give notice of possible exposure to certain reportable diseases to persons other than emergency medical personnel, peace officers, detention officers, county jailers, or fire fighters if the person was exposed while providing emergency care. In addition, if a person is accidentally exposed to the blood or body fluids of an individual who dies at the scene of an emergency or during transportation to the hospital, EMS personnel or physicians can take reasonable steps to have the deceased tested for communicable diseases without consent of a family member. If the body of the deceased is delivered to a funeral home before testing, the funeral home must allow EMS or physicians access to the body for testing.

SB 776 by Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos (D-Austin) and Rep. Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin) adds correctional facility employees to the categories of persons who may request testing of a person who may have exposed them to a reportable disease, including HIV infection.

HIV Testing of Inmates

HB 43 by Rep. Yvonne Davis (D-Dallas) and Senator Ellis requires the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to conduct a mandatory HIV test on inmates and state jail felons before they are released. Positive results must be reported to DSHS.

Prohibition of Tobacco Products to Inmates

HB 549 by Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) and Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) and HB 2077 by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), and Sen. Todd Staples (R-Palestine) make it a misdemeanor to provide a cellular phone, tobacco product, or money to inmates of correctional facilities, including local jails, TDCJ facilities, and juvenile detention centers. 

Health Spas

HB 135 by Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton) and Sen. Chris Harris (R-Arlington) requires health spas to file a security bond of no less than $20,000, and no more than $50,000 with the secretary of state to receive a health spa operator's certificate of registration. Any advertisement must include the health spa operator's certificate of registration number.

Governor's Health Care Coordinating Council

HB 916 by Rep. Beverly Woolley (R-Houston) and Senator Nelson creates the Governor's Health Care Coordinating Council to identify the following in the health care system: 1) disparities in quality and levels of care; 2) problems for uninsured individuals; 3) cost of pharmaceuticals; 4) cost of health care; 5) access to health care; 6) quality of health care; and 7) any other issues related to health care. It asks the council to study the issues identified and provide possible solutions. The council also shall ensure state agencies collaborate effectively when purchasing health care products or services. And it asks the council  to facilitate and promote the use of technology to decrease administrative costs; monitor, research, and promote initiatives for patient safety; encourage the use of telemedicine and telehealth; and establish a clearinghouse of information for communities in assessing the needs of local health care systems.

Public Health Close Call

HB 264 by Rep. Norma Chavez (D-El Paso) would have required a person less than 21 years of age operating or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle to wear protective headgear. This bill also removed the provision that required persons 21 years or older to complete a safety course or provide $10,000 in medical benefits if injured. TMA opposed the bill, which died awaiting debate on the House floor.

Public Health TMA Staff Contacts:  

  • Greg Herzog, Legislative Affairs, (512) 370-1360
  • Gayle Love, Public Health, (512) 370-1670
  • Susan Griffin, Public Health, (512) 370-1462 

Overview  | Tax Reform | Scope of Practice | Physician Ownership | Inadequate Health Plan Networks (Balanced Billing) | Managed Care/Insurance Reform | Texas State Board of Medical Examiners Sunset and Physician Licensure | Agency Sunset Review  | Corporate Practice of Medicine | Health Care Funding | Medicaid and CHIP | Indigent Care and the Uninsured | Workers' Compensation | Professional Liability Reform | Medical Education/Workforce | Child Health, Safety, and Nutrition/Fitness  | Border Health | Rural Health | Mental Health | Trauma/EMS | Prescription Drugs | Medical Science | Long-Term Care | Abortion | Transplantation/Organ Donation | Table of Contents