83rd Legislature Children's Health
Many important issues regarding children’s health were addressed this legislative session. Below is a brief recap of the most significant initiatives impacting children’s hospitals. We want to express our sincere thanks for your support throughout this legislative session.
Some of the most significant bills passed relating to children’s hospitals included:
House Bill 15
Authored by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, HB 15 establishes levels of care designation for neonatal and maternity services. HB 2626 from the 82nd Texas Legislature laid the groundwork for HB 15 by authorizing the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Council to examine and make recommendations regarding neonatal intensive care operations standards and best practices to ensure that every baby receives the appropriate level of care.
Senate Bill 7
Authored by Sen. Jane Nelson, SB 7 includes many provisions that improve the delivery and quality of care for Medicaid recipients. Specifically related to children’s health, the bill creates a STAR Kids managed care program for children with disabilities.
House Bill 2550
Authored by Rep. Diane Patrick, HB 2550 establishes a Resident Physician Expansion Grant Program to support direct costs of residency positions and establishes one-time planning grants for entities that have never had a Graduate Medical Education (GME) program. Legislators acknowledged the need to address physician shortages by appropriating additional money for the program.
House Bill 740
Authored by Rep. Myra Crownover, HB 740 requires newborn screening tests to align with the national recommendations. Screening for critical congenital heart disease and other disorders are now included.
Senate Bills 62, 63 and 64
Authored by Sen. Jane Nelson, these bills involve several changes to immunization policies including: aligning state requirements with national recommendations on meningococcal immunizations, allowing parents who are younger than 18 to consent to their own immunizations and requiring childcare centers to have immunization policies for employees in place.
The Legislature wrapped up the session by passing the 2014-15 General Appropriations Act, providing $30.8 billion in state funds for health and human services. This represents an increase of eight percent over the 2012-13 biennium. The number of children enrolled in Medicaid is expected to reach 3.1 million by 2015. The number of kids receiving benefits through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is projected to decline to about 337,000 by 2015, as children falling between 100 to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level move to the Medicaid program (as required by the federal Affordable Care Act).
Reliance on the managed care delivery model will continue to grow, and significant cost containment measures will continue to challenge healthcare providers participating in Medicaid.
A more comprehensive description of legislation impacting child safety and health issues can be found on the CHAT website.
Your Continued Support
As you can see, there is still work to be done for children’s health programs as the child population in Texas continues to grow. We will look to you for continued support to ensure that all children in Texas receive the care they need and deserve!
Please continue to check the CHAT website for ongoing news updates, and join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.