2007 Legislative Compendium: Rural Health

Office of Rural and Community Affairs Sunset Review
HB 2542 by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) and Sen. Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) reestablishes the Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) for eight more years and institutes a new governing board. This board will take into account issues associated with rural communities, including access to care.

Rural Physician Relief Program
Within HB 1, the budget bill, ORCA received $332,352 in continued funding for the Rural Physician Relief Program. Rural physicians seeking coverage of their practices during a brief absence for vacation, medical care, or continuing medical education (CME) can receive assistance in finding a physician to provide locum tenens services. To help recruit and retain rural physicians, ORCA provides a forum for physicians to specify their locum tenens needs, and register their willingness to provide locum tenens and payment for the locums' coverage. ORCA received $6.6 million for programs that increase health care access in rural areas, such as the Texas Health Service Corps and Medically Underserved Community/State Matching Incentive Program.

Senate Bill 24 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville) and Rep. Susan King (R-Abilene) offers Medicaid reimbursement to physicians for services rendered through telemedicine. This bill passed in the hopes of encouraging physicians to participate in these services, especially for rural areas. SB 24 is effective Sept. 1, 2007.

Senate Bill 760 by Senator Nelson and by Rep. Dianne White Delisi (R-Temple) requires the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to encourage health care providers and facilities to participate in telemedicine. SB 760 passed in the hopes of increasing the number of providers available through telemedicine and is effective Sept. 1, 2007.

Rural Health TMA Staff Team:

Legislative: Greg Herzog
Policy: Helen Kent Davis
Legal: Kelly Walla

Overview  |  Managed Care/Insurance Reform | Scope of Practice  | Retail Health Clinics | Responsible Ownership | Corporate Practice of Medicine | Health Care Funding  |  Medicaid, CHIP, and the Uninsured  | Public Health  | Border Health  | Mental Health | Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Care  | Medical Science and Quality  | Physician Workforce, Licensure, and Discipline | Health Information Technology | Prescription Drugs | Long-Term Care | Workers' Compensation | Abortion  | Franchise Tax Reform