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Bills Considered by Chairman Raymond’s Committee
March 19, 2013 Hearing

HB 1536: Administrative Hearings to Recover Medicaid Overpayments
Author: Rep. Bobby Guerra
The office of inspector general of the Health and Human Services Commission has a duty to investigate suspicions of fraudulent Medicaid payments. Such investigations have been targeted at clinics with a higher volume of Medicaid claims, and the current procedures have resulted in the withholding of payments for services provided without a final determination on the merit of the claims against the providers, many of which are forced to close clinic doors or turn away patients who would otherwise qualify for Medicaid.

HB 1536 seeks to ensure due process by providing for a final appeal on allegations of fraudulent Medicaid overpayment so that a fair and impartial determination is rendered for both the state and Medicaid providers.

HB 165: Placement Decisions for Children in Foster Care
Author: Rep. Dan Flynn
To ensure that a child placed under the supervision of the Department of Family and Protective Services has the best possible quality of life, the placement options for the child must be considered carefully.

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Currently, foster parents are allowed to file a suit affecting the parent-child relationship only if the child has resided with them for 12 months or longer. HB 165 seeks to recognize the importance of the role of a child’s foster parents and of the degree of emotional attachment formed by the child by changing the amount of time a child must have resided with a foster parent for the foster parent to file such a suit and by requiring the emotional stability of a child placed in foster care to be taken into consideration when making a placement decision regarding the child.

HB 376: Regulation of Child Care Providers
Author: Rep. Mark Strama
In 2009, Governor Rick Perry established the Texas Early Learning Council to research early childhood education and child care with the purpose of providing recommendations that would lead to higher success rates for children entering kindergarten. Industry experts assert that the council’s research has confirmed that children who are fortunate enough to have high-quality child care and early education before they start kindergarten are better prepared for school and are more likely to excel in pre-reading, reading, and math. These experts further assert that such children are more likely to demonstrate the social and emotional skills needed to succeed in school, are less frequently assigned to special education classes, and are less likely to be retained in a grade.

HB 376 intends to implement some of the recommendations of the Texas Early Learning Council by enhancing the Texas Workforce Commission’s Texas Rising Star Program, which is a voluntary, quality-based child care rating system.

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HB 868: Exceptions to Mental Health Information Disclosure Prohibitions
Author: Rep. Mike Villarreal
Texas law currently prohibits the release of certain confidential information, such as medical records and treatment plans regarding mentally ill patients. Several exceptions are made to this prohibition, such as exceptions for governmental agencies, law enforcement or medical personnel, and the parent of a patient who is a minor, and for purposes of financial audits and legislative inquiries relating to state hospitals. HB 868 seeks to allow mental health professionals to share information with certain mental health service providers and other individuals who can play a meaningful role in treatment progress.

HB 1561: Access to a Deceased Person’s Mental Health Information
Author: Rep. Stephanie Klick
The process to obtain the medical records of a deceased family member who was receiving mental health services has become costly and complicated. Currently, only a patient’s personal representative may have access to the deceased person’s confidential mental health records. Interested parties assert that, if a personal representative has not been named, the family is often forced to go to court to obtain access to these records. HB 1561 seeks to establish a better process for obtaining certain confidential mental health information of a deceased family member for whom a personal representative was not appointed.

HB 1760: Provision of Services by a State-Supported Living Center
Author: Rep. Drew Darby
The Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) is the result of the consolidation of several legacy agencies. Prior to consolidation, each legacy agency had a unique policy set out in statute that allowed the agency to accept donations of money, goods, and in-kind donations for the benefit of the agency’s clients. Because DADS is currently operating under these outdated policies regarding the authority to accept donations, HB 1760 seeks to create a uniform and consistent donation policy for DADS.

HB 1971: Pilot Program of Accreditation Surveys in Assisted Living Facilities
Author: Rep. John Davis
The need for assisted living continues to grow as more people seek an independent living residence. Recent legislation allowed an assisted living facility to obtain a third party accreditation in lieu of an inspection by the state if the accreditation meets certain minimum standards and conditions. As state resources become scarce and the demand for new facilities grows, there is a concern that, because The Joint Commission no longer participates in assisted living accreditation, the ability to conduct timely accreditation of new facilities has become more difficult.

The Texas Assisted Living Association has been working with DADS to determine if a CARF accreditation process could work in Texas. Such an accreditation process would protect the safety of assisted living residents and could have the added benefit of potentially freeing additional resources for DADS in its efforts to strengthen other areas of long-term care regulation. HB 1971 seeks to address the needs of elderly Texans and achieve growth and modernization of assisted living in Texas by providing for the development of a pilot program to authorize certain accreditation surveys of assisted living facilities.

HB 2240: A Study on Homeless Youth
Author: Sylvester Turner
Homeless youth are vulnerable to human trafficking and other negative outcomes associated with not having a safe and stable living environment. Because not all homeless youth can be found in shelters, where they are more easily detected by organizations collecting population data, there is a scarcity of reliable data on how many youth face these challenges. Although anecdotal evidence suggests the number of homeless youth is much higher than officially reported, determining the scope of the problem would lead to a more accurate picture of the situation and possibly more viable solutions for this vulnerable population. HB 2240 seeks to better understand the extent of the problem and the available solutions by providing for a study on homeless youth in Texas

Bills Voted Out of Committee:

  • HB 591: Relating to the health professions resource center.
    Author: Rep. Elliott Naishtat

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