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Monday, June 20, 2011


Five state senators and five representatives are reportedly very close to finalizing the details of Senate Bill 7, the omnibus health care bill that rolls up many measures from the regular session of the Texas Legislature. We expect to have a conference committee report ― and possibly votes in both chambers ― as early as tomorrow. Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) is the author of SB 7; Rep. John Zerwas, MD (R-Simonton), is the House sponsor. Key provisions of the bill 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 department use;
  • Create more than $460 million for Medicaid by placing a premium tax on Medicaid managed care companies expanding to the Rio Grande Valley; and
  • Protect patients from vaccine-preventable diseases by requiring health care facilities to have a plan for properly immunizing health care workers.

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