BCMS Chief Governmental and
Community Relations Officer
As we enter the last stretch of
the 83rd Session, there are a number of bills of importance to
medicine making their way through the legislative
process. Here are some of the highlights:
by the Texas Senate:
SB 143 by Sen. Jane
Nelson (R-Flower Mound), which allocates $11.5 million in the
2014-15 state budget for GME expansions, including establishing two
primary care incentive programs for medical schools and expanding
the Physician Loan Repayment Program to allow participation by physicians
who provide services to Medicaid and Women's Health Program
329 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), which
prohibits minors from using tanning salons. SB 822 by
Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), which would regulate silent
PPOs; it received unanimous support in the Senate. SB 303, by
Sen. Bob Deuell, MD (R-Greenville), which amends the Texas Advance
Directives Act (TADA) to allow patients to make their care
preferences known before they need care; this bill would maintain
protection against forcing physicians to violate their religious
beliefs, moral conscience and professional ethics. SB 301 by
Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), which prevents off-shore medical
schools from buying clinical clerkships for their students.
by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee:
SB 1609 and
1610, also by Sen. Schwertner; offer targeted amendments
that maintain the strength of privacy protections passed in 2011,
while clarifying and simplifying the process of complying with the
law (HB 300 passed in the 82nd Legislature).
by the Texas House:
HB 63 by Rep. Tom
Craddick (R-Midland), which bans texting while driving. HB 15, by
Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), which aims to improve the quality
of care and birth outcomes.
by the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee:
HB 1803 by Rep. Bill
Callegari (R-Katy), would start the renewal of the DPS Controlled
Substances Registration with the online medical license renewal at
the Texas Medical Board.
by the House Human Services Committee:
HB 1536 by Rep. Bobby
Guerra (D-Mission), gives physicians and other healthcare providers
who treat Medicaid patients a right to an administrative hearing
when the OIG takes action to recover overpayments. HB 3452 by
Rep. Craig Eiland (D-Galveston) gives physicians and other
healthcare providers a right to a contested hearing to dispute
unreasonable Medicaid or HMO payments. HB 2731 by
Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo) aims to reduce administrative
hassles in Medicaid HMOs by standardizing credentialing and prior
authorization forms, requiring HHSC to more actively oversee HMO
contract compliance and ensure prompt payment of claims. HB 3158 by
Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton), requires HHSC to develop and
implement one or more Medicaid managed care contracting
pilot(s) using a healthcare
by the House Insurance Committee:
HB 1032, also by Rep.
John Zerwas, MD, which looks to establish a standardized prior
authorization form for prescription drug benefits.
by the House Technology Committee:
HB 395 by Rep. Lyle
Larson (R-San Antonio), which would allow physicians and their
staff to check in patients using the electronic strip on the back
of their Texas driver's license.
Bills sent to
HB 620, also by Rep.
Craig Eiland, which would regulate silent PPOs and is the companion
bill to SB 822. HB
772 by Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), which would
make the state's immunization registry, ImmTrac, an opt-out
on the General State Calendar (for the week of April 22):
HB 1782 by Rep. Sarah
Davis (R-West University Place), a truth in advertising bill, which
requires positive identification name badges with credentials for
healthcare practitioners. HB 740 by Rep. Myra Crownover
(R-Denton), which would screen newborns for critical congenital
heart diseases in the hospital setting. HB 832 by
Rep. Helen Giddings (D-Dallas), which would help local public
health officials prevent West Nile virus outbreaks by reducing
barriers that prevent them from spraying pesticides on standing
water on abandoned residential property.
Stay tuned to this column for
more updates on the status of bills and other activities as the
83rd Legislative Session continues.
For local discussion on the 83rd Legislative Session,
First Tuesdays trips to the Capitol and other legislative and
socioeconomic topics, consider joining the BCMS Legislative and
Socioeconomics Committee by contacting Mary Nava at email@example.com.