Health Related Related Legislation »

HB 394 by Rose/Van de Putte - Relating to the use of money from the Enterprise Fund to benefit certain small businesses and certain projects. Amends Section 481.078, Government Code, by adding Subsections (k) and (l), to require the governor to encourage the creation, development and location of small businesses in this state and to consider making grants from the Texas Enterprise Fund to recipients that are small businesses in this state that commit to using the grants to create additional jobs or small businesses from outside the state that commit to relocate to this state.

HB 497 by Zerwas/Nelson - Relating to a study to determine the effect on the health care infrastructure in this state if the state Medicaid program is abolished or a severe reduction in federal matching money under the program occurs.

Requires the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to conduct a joint study to determine the effect on the health care infrastructure in this state, including health care delivery mechanisms, if the state Medicaid program is abolished or the amount of federal matching money available to the state under the program is severely reduced. Requires that the study address the effect on the availability of and accessibility to health care services provided under the state Medicaid program as of the effective date of this Act. Authorizes HHSC and TDI, in conducting the study, to seek input from health advocacy groups.

HB 1218 by Howard/Watson - Relating to programs to exchange certain health information between the Health and Human Services Commission and certain health care entities and facilities. A section of SB7, Senator Nelson's omnibus healthcare bill, was amended to HB1218. The section deals with Electronic Health Information Exchange and requires the Health and Human Services Commission to develop a pilot program in at least one urban area of the state to determine the feasibility, costs, and benefits of an electronic health information exchange system to improve the safety, quality and efficiency of services delivered under the child health plan and Medicaid. An advisory program is created, and the bill establishes phases to implement the system, including a requirement for HHSC to encourage providers to use the system and report to designated legislative committees.

HB 1358 by Keffer/Nelson - Relating to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute. HB1358 is a follow-up to HB14, the enabling legislation passed in 2007 to create the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute. HB1358 clarifies the structure and process for administration of CPRIT funds. The legislation calls for the Executive Director to appoint the Scientific Research and Prevention Committee, sets the terms of the committee at four years, and allows members of the committee to receive an honorarium. The Oversight Committee may appoint ad hoc advisory committees as needed and is required to create an ad hoc committee on childhood cancers. HB1358 addresses a conflict of interest identified by the Texas Attorney General by creating a separate University Advisory Committee to provide input rather than review proposals. The University Advisory Committee is to include: 1) Two members appointed by the Chancellor of the UT System to represent UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, UTMB Galveston, UTHSC Houston, UTHSC San Antonio, UTHSC Tyler or UT MD Anderson Cancer Center; 2) One member appointed by Chancellor of Texas A&M System to represent the A&M HSC or its teaching hospital; 3) One member appointed by Chancellor of Texas Tech to represent Texas Tech HSC; 4) One member appointed by Chancellor of University of Houston System; 5) One member appointed by the Chancellor of Texas State University System; 6) One member appointed by Chancellor of University of North Texas System; One member appointed by the president of Baylor College of Medicine. HB1358 sets out requirements for disclosure of conflict of interest by members of the Science and Prevention Committee, University Advisory Committee, or ad hoc advisory committee to the Executive Director in writing and recusal of the member from deliberations, actions or decisions. No more than five percent of an award may be spent on indirect costs, and no more than five percent of an award can be spent on purchase, construction, remodel, or renovation of a facility. Requires oversight committee to issue rules regarding procedure for awarding grants including: 1) Science and Prevention Committee is to review applications and make recommendations to ED regarding award of cancer research grants by prioritized list; and 2) ED is required to submit to Oversight Committee list of applications in priority order. Oversight Committee is required to follow funding recommendations of the ED in the order submitted unless overridden by a 2/3 vote. ED is allowed to terminate grants not meeting contractual obligations. ED is to report annually to Oversight Committee on progress and merits of each funded program. Clarifies Public Information including 1) applicant name and address; 2) amount of funding applied for; 3) type of cancer to be addressed; and 4) other information designated.

HB 1671 by Crownover/Nelson - Relating to mutual aid agreements for newborn screening laboratory services. HB1671 authorizes the Department of State Health Services to enter into a mutual aid agreement to provide services to another state and to receive services from another state in the event of an unexpected interruption of service, including an interruption caused by a disaster. This bill includes provisions to address the confidentiality of the identity of the newborn child and the newborn child's family.

HB 1795 by Pierson/Uresti - Relating to newborn screening and the creation of the Newborn Screening Advisory Committee. The bill requires establishment of the Newborn Screening Advisory Committee to include healthcare providers, a hospital representative, persons who have affected family members, and persons involved in the delivery of newborn screening services, follow/up or treatment in Texas. The bill removes the requirement for DSHS to screen for galactose epimerase, and galactokinase and allows the department to require additional newborn screening tests with the advice of the Advisory Committee.

HB 2004 by McCall/Ellis - Relating to a breach of computer security involving sensitive personal information and to the protection of sensitive personal information and certain protected health information. HB 2004 amends Chapter 181, Health and Safety Code, by adding a section that provides that an individual's protected health information, for a covered entity that is a governmental unit, includes any information that reflects that an individual received health care from the covered entity, and is not public information and is not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552 (Public Information), Government Code.

HB 2154 by Edwards/Hinojosa - Relating to physician loan repayment.

Was amended to be replaced by HB 1876 (Chisum), Relating to creating the health care access fund to recruit health care providers in health professional shortage areas and to support federally-qualified health centers with tobacco tax proceeds. This bill addresses this loophole in the state's smokeless tobacco taxation method, shifting from an ad valorem method to a weight-based method. This change in the basis for taxation would bring the taxation of smokeless tobacco in line with taxation methods for other tobacco products. Under the program, A physician may receive repayment assistance under this subchapter in the amount determined by board rule, not to exceed the following amounts for each year for which the physician establishes eligibility for the assistance, (1)for the first year, $25,000; (2)for the second year, $35,000; (3)for the third year, $45,000; and (4)for the fourth year, $55,000.

HB 4471 by Kolkhorst/Nelson - Relating to the professional nursing shortage reduction program.

Texas is currently suffering a shortage of approximately 22,000 registered nurses, and the shortage is expected to grow as the state's rapidly increasing population ages and as more nurses retire. Prior to the session, a coalition involving higher education institutions, the Texas Nurses Association, the Texas Hospital Association, and others, worked to develop a comprehensive solution to increase enrollment and graduation of Texas-trained nurses to help meet the shortage. HB4471 updates the statutes regarding the Professional Nursing Shortage Reduction program, removing outdated parameters and including language to confirm participation of all schools, including those that are newly established. The Legislature appropriated $49.7 million in nursing education for 2010-2011, a $35 million increase over the previous biennium. Funding for nursing education includes $14.7 million per year in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's base budget to continue supporting increased graduation rates. Up to 50 percent of this part of the program funding can be allocated to community college programs (a change from 40 percent of the program last biennium). In addition, $30 million per year in upfront funding will be available for nursing schools to increase enrollments beginning in the fall 2009 semester, with $20.5M allocated to schools with graduate rates above 70 percent. This part of the program is to be funded at $10,000 per student. The $9.5M in remaining funds will be distributed to programs with graduation rates of less than 70 percent, hospital based diploma programs, or new programs with no established graduation rate. Institutions will receive $20,000 for each additional initial RN graduate in two year programs and $10,000 for each additional graduate in one-year programs. Through an application process to be outlined by the Coordinating Board, institutions will agree to increase graduates by a certain amount and must meet certain benchmarks to receive payment of these funds. Another $5 million will go to The University of Texas at Arlington to establish a regional nursing education center. Under HB4471, the THECB is required to through rule establish the process under which a professional nursing program may apply for a grant to enroll additional nursing students or graduate additional nursing students prepared for initial licensure as registered nurses. In addition, the board is required to adopt rules for permitting newly established professional nursing programs to participate in and receive grant awards under the program.

SB 39 by Zaffirini/Zerwas - Relating to health benefit plan coverage for routine patient care costs for enrollees participating in certain clinical trials. There is currently no statutory requirement for Texas insurers to cover routine patient care costs for individuals who elect to participate in clinical trials. Lack of health insurance coverage for routine medical costs could be a significant barrier to patients who might otherwise enroll in a beneficial clinical trial. This is due in part to many insurers denying medical coverage for clinical trial participants. Since 1995, nearly half of all states have passed legislation or entered into agreements requiring health plans to cover routine patient care costs for trial participants and, in 2000, Medicare beneficiaries who chose to participate in clinical trials were eligible for routine patient care cost coverage. SB39 sets forth health benefit plan coverage (including the A&M System Plan) requirements for routine patient care costs for persons with life-threatening illnesses who have elected to participate in certain clinical trials. In addition, it requires the state Medicaid program to provide the required benefits, to the extent allowed by federal law.

SB 78 by Nelson/Smithee, Relating to promoting awareness and education about the purchase and availability of health coverage. SB6 by Duncan was amended to SB78 to create the Healthy Texas program to increase small business' access to health insurance, to encourage small employers to offer coverage to employees and dependants, and to maximize managed care strategies. As a result, Texas Department of Insurance is charged with adopting rules to administer the program by January 4, 2010.

SB 98 by Lucio/Lucio III - Relating to establishing a health science center and medical school in South Texas. SB98 adds the health science center and its component institutions, if established, to the definition of "medical and dental unit" for purposes of the Higher Education Coordinating Act of 1965, to the list of institutions eligible to receive funds from the permanent health fund for higher education, and to the list of component institutions and entities of The University of Texas System. The bill prohibits funds for a fiscal biennium ending on or before August 31, 2015 from being appropriated for the purposes of the health science center.

SB 174 by Shapiro/Branch - Relating to accountability of institutions of higher education, including educator preparation programs, and online institution resumes for public institutions of higher education. The bill requires the THECB to prepare online resumes on institutions of higher education. Subchapter D relates to medical and dental units including nursing and allied health programs. The resume must provide a medical or dental unit's institutional grouping and in-state and out-of-state peer institutions. The THECB shall request any information it considers necessary to be included in the institution's resume. The report card must also have comparisons for the most recent available fiscal year with its previous fiscal year of information about (a) enrollment, including total students enrolled; (b) total enrolled by the institution's medical school; (c) total number of physicians in accredited residency training programs each September. The section on costs will include the average annual total academic costs, including by degree program and student type, as well as comparisons with costs of peer institutions. On success rates data will include a) the percentage of medical students who are practicing primary care in the state (including comparisons with peer group success rates; b) percentage of medical school students who pass licensure; c) the percentage of medical school students who are practicing primary care in the state; d) the number of nursing degrees or allied health degrees awarded for each level (including comparison with peer group success rates); and e) the estimated total amount of research expenditures for the most recent state fiscal year available. Also included will be information about legislative funding (including money appropriated for faculty and staff health coverage and retirement benefits) and funding from all other sources. The THECB must also maintain a website for prospective students and others that identifies a medical or dental unit's (a) institutional grouping and in-state and out-of-state peers, (b) enrollment data disaggregated by student ethnicity, (c) costs, including tuition and fees charged, average annual total academic costs, tuition increases during the five preceding fiscal years (d) information about financial aid, including the percentage of students receiving financial aid and the average amount received, and (e) success rates of graduates including pass rates on first time licensure exams.

SB 291 by Nelson/McReynolds - Relating to hepatitis B vaccination for students enrolled in certain health-related courses of study at an institution of higher education. Current law stipulates that all students enrolled in certain health-related courses of study receive a hepatitis B vaccination series before the students begin providing direct patient care. Some potential students may choose not to pursue health care careers due to the expense and time required to receive the hepatitis B vaccination.

SB291 specifies that a rule requiring a hepatitis B vaccination for students may apply only to students enrolled at an institution of higher education in a course of study involving potential exposure to human or animal blood or bodily fluids.

SB 347 by Nelson/Kolkhorst - Relating to the receipt and release of immunization information by the immunization registry in connection with a disaster. Current law has no provision that allows for the exchange of immunization registry data, although it is permitted under federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) guidelines. There is a need to avoid duplicative immunizations and ease transition efforts for Texans who are forced to evacuate or relocate to other states during disasters. SB347 authorizes DSHS to exchange immunization records stored in ImmTrac, the state's immunization registry, with other state and local health departments during disasters or emergencies involving evacuations or relocations.

SB 381 by Van de Putte/Hopson - Relating to the authority of physicians to delegate to certain pharmacists the implementation and modification of a patient's drug therapy. Current law requires a pharmacist to implement or modify a patient's drug therapy as required by the patient's test results and as ordered by the physician in a physician protocol. SB381 allows a pharmacist working in a hospital, hospital-based clinic, or academic health care institution to carry out the supervising physician's orders and provide greater ease for patients in certain healthcare settings who receive services at an urban hospital or clinic but live in a rural area or who use a mail order pharmacy to fill new prescriptions.

The bill authorizes a physician to delegate the implementation or modification of a patient's drug therapy, including the authority to sign a prescription drug order for dangerous drugs, to a qualified pharmacist if certain conditions are met. The bill requires the Texas State Board of Pharmacy to provide on its Internet website a list of pharmacists authorized to sign prescriptions and the name of the pharmacist's delegating physician.

SB 455 by Shapiro/Hopson - Relating to the regulation of the practice of dental assistants, including the delegation of certain dental acts. Access to dental care continues to be an issue for many Texans, and SB455 seeks to address this issue by modifying the dental practice act to allow more efficient use of the existing dental workforce. Allowing dental assistants, who have been trained and certified, to perform certain procedures will relieve dental hygienists and dentists to focus their time on more complex procedures. Under the new law, a dentist will now be able to delegate additional procedures to be performed by a dental assistant, who will remain under the supervision of the dentist.

SB 526 Nelson/Martinez - Relating to grants for federally qualified health centers. More than 200 Texas counties are designated as medically underserved areas. Federally qualified health centers provide health care services to low income and medically underserved communities. The 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003, enacted SB610 directing the Department of State Health Services to create the federally qualified health center incubator program to make grants to establish new or expand existing facilities that can qualify as federally qualified health centers. This program is set to expire on September 1, 2009. SB526 deletes language providing that the program expires on September 1, 2009, and authorizes the program to make grants to support new or expanded services at facilities that can qualify as federally qualified health centers.

SB 532 Patrick/Coleman - Relating to a physician's delegation of prescriptive authority to physician assistants or advance practice nurses. Public demand has increased for more retail clinics for quick and affordable delivery of basic health care. However, Texas law limits and restricts the prescriptive authority of practicing physician assistants and advanced practice nurses. SB532 expands the parameters related to delegated prescriptive authority and decreases, from 20 percent to 10 percent, the amount of time required for physicians delegating prescriptive authority to practice on-site with a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. The bill also increases the distance allowed, from 60 to 75 miles, between an alternate site and a delegating physician's primary residence or practice site. The bill authorizes the Texas Medical Board to waive limitations on the number of physician assistants or advanced practice nurses, mileage, and on-site supervision requirements. The bill authorizes the development and usage of electronic options for the delegation registration process of and review of medical charts.

SB 1182 by Wentworth/Ortiz - Relating to public information and open government. In the interest of protecting security measures in place to allow for research using select biological agents or toxins, SB1182 provides an exception to public information and open records law pertaining to select biological agents or toxins. The following information that pertains to a biological agent or toxin identified or listed as a select agent under federal law, including under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-188) and regulations adopted under that Act, is excepted from the requirements of Section 552.021: (1)the specific location of a select agent within an approved facility; (2)personal identifying information of an individual whose name appears in documentation relating to the chain of custody of select agents, including a materials transfer agreement; and (3)the identity of an individual authorized to possess, use, or access a select agent. This section does not except from disclosure the identity of the select agents present at a facility. This section does not except from disclosure the identity of an individual faculty member or employee whose name appears or will appear on published research. This section does not except from disclosure otherwise public information relating to contracts of a governmental body (including institutions of higher education). If a resident of another state is present in Texas and is authorized to possess, use, or access a select agent in conducting research or other work at a Texas facility, information relating to the identity of that individual is subject to disclosure under this chapter only to the extent the information would be subject to disclosure under the laws of the state of which the person is a resident.

SB 1325 by Nelson/Corte - Relating to the creation of a mental health intervention program for military veterans. Currently, veterans can access mental health services through the Department of State Health Services (DSHS)if they meet requirements for the general public including income and diagnoses. However, many veterans may not be covered by such services. The Veterans Administration provides some services, but veterans are often wary of accessing treatment because they are concerned about the implications of mental health treatment on their military records. Peer-to-peer counseling may reduce the concerns about stigma or negative repercussions. Veterans can share their experiences in a supportive environment, knowing that others have had similar experiences. SB 1325 directs DSHS to create a military veterans peer-to-peer mental health program to provide counseling to military veterans. The bill requires DSHS to solicit and train volunteers to provide the peer-to-peer counseling.

SB 1328 by Nelson/Naishtat - Relating to a study on the feasibility of providing vaccines to first responders deployed to a disaster area. SB1328 requires the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to conduct a study assessing the feasibility of providing vaccines to a first responder who may be exposed to certain diseases during deployment to a disaster area, the vaccination status of first responders and their families, workplace immunization policies and insurance coverage for first responders, the current ability of DSHS to provide vaccines to this population, possible funding sources for such a vaccination program, and ways to educate first responders about available options to vaccinate themselves and their families.

SB 1728 by West/Chavez - Relating to the administration of and eligibility for the Joint Admissions Medical Program. The bill deletes existing text requiring an undergraduate student to have enrolled at an institution of higher education not later than the first fall semester following the student's graduation from high school in order to be eligible for admission to the Joint Admission Medical Program or for selection as a program alternate The bill adds the medical school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at Lubbock and the medical school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso as eligible schools for the program. The bill requires the medical school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso, as soon as practicable to enter into the agreement with the Joint Admission Medical Program Council required by the Education Code and to select an appropriate faculty member to represent the medical school on the council.

SB 1932 by Carona/McReynolds - Relating to the licensing requirements of hospitals temporarily providing outpatient dialysis services to a person because of a disaster. This language was proposed by TAMHSC to address the need for disaster evacuees who require dialysis to be able to receive outpatient services at hospitals in the area to which they have been evacuated. Following Hurricane Ike, patients with medical special needs were housed and cared for at Reed Arena but unable to receive dialysis due to local outpatient clinics being closed and a requirement that hospitals have special licensure to provide the service on an outpatient basis. SB1932 provides an exemption from licensure requirements for hospitals licensed under the Texas Hospital Licensing Law that provide dialysis only to individuals receiving outpatient services who are temporarily relocated due to a disaster declared by the governor or a federal disaster declared by the president of the United States occurring in this state or another state.

SB 2442 by Uresti/Gallego - Relating to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of property owned by certain charitable organizations. Language added via floor amendment provides ad valorem tax exemption for buildings leased to a higher education institution but owned by a charitable organization. Real property owned by a charitable organization and leased to an institution of higher education, as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code, is exempt from taxation to the same extent as the property would be exempt if the property were owned by the institution.