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Monday, June 13, 2011

HOUSE, SENATE PASS MASSIVE HEALTH BILL IN SPECIAL SESSION

Both chambers of the legislature have approved Senate Bill 7 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) and Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton). We’re waiting to hear whether the Senate will accept the House version or take the bill to conference committee. In a (large) nutshell, SB 7 would:

  • Establish a statewide plan to improve quality and increase efficiency by forming and regulating health care collaboratives:
  • Ensure physicians have an equal say and vote in a collaborative’s governing board, and due process protections and the ability to participate in more than one collaborative arrangement;
  • Create a Medicaid and CHIP Quality-Based Payment Advisory Committee and program that would tie a portion of Medicaid HMO premiums to improved health outcomes and quality, and implement copayments in Medicaid to reduce unnecessary emergency room use;
  • Create more than $460 million for Medicaid by placing a premium tax on Medicaid managed care companies expanding to the Rio Grande Valley;
  • Protect patients from vaccine-preventable diseases by requiring health care facilities to have a plan for properly immunizing health care workers; and
  • Establish the Texas Emergency and Trauma Care Education Partnership Program to ensure support of the trauma infrastructure in Texas.

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