Public Policy Issues

The Texas EMS Alliance serves as the unified voice of EMS agencies in Austin.

The 2017 Texas Legislature

TEMSA is encouraging all EMS agencies to engage their lawmakers during the 2017 Texas Legislature.  Click here to learn more: ems-advocacy-2016

TEMSA’s agenda for the 2017 Texas Legislature can be found here: TEMSA 2017 TX Legislature Priorities

The Cost of Readiness

EMS agencies are expected to be ready at all times and respond to every emergency within desired response time goals. To meet these goals, EMS agencies have to have capacity available that is not committed on calls.  EMS agencies refer to these non-revenue generating standby time as “the cost of readiness.”  Additionally, most insurance companies do not pay for ambulance service if the patient is not transported. Often, EMS agencies rely on local taxpayer subsidies to cover its shortfall due to insufficient patient fees being collected. If the Texas Legislature places limitations on EMS agencies to bill patients, then the local taxpayer will be forced to pay more.

Click here to learn more: TEMSA COST OF READINESS 2016

The Importance of Local Project Grants

LPGs provide a lifeline to many Texas EMS agencies.  However, the future of LPGs is threatened due to the “spend down” of the state’s tobacco settlement fund and other factors.  Click here to learn more about the importance of LPGs in Texas: LPGs TEMSA 2017

Texas EMS Assistance Program – HB 1407

The Texas Senate passed HB 1407, the Texas EMS Assistance Program, on May 23.  As a result, it will be sent to Governor Abbott for his signature.

State Rep. JD Sheffield, DO (D-Gatesville) and State Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) filed HB 1407 and SB 147. The program would ensure the future of local project grants (LPGs) for EMS agencies and create a distance-learning program to keep paramedics in rural communities.

HB 1407 creates the framework to preserve LPGs and create the distance-learning program. TEMSA will work with Texas officials to secure funding mechanisms in the interim.

Click here to learn more about the legislation: Texas EMS Assistance Program FINAL

 

 

 

Fuel Tax Relief – HB 1332

Legislation introduced by Representatives Tan Parker and Richard Raymond (HB 1332) would provide fuel tax relief to all EMS agencies that provide 9-1-1 services to Texas communities.  The 2015 Texas Legislature passed fuel tax relief for a limited number of EMS agencies set up as non profits.  However, this did not help city- and county-owned third service EMS agencies, hospital-based EMS agencies, and other entities that provide 9-1-1 services to Texas communities.

Click here to learn more about the issue: HB 1332 Fuel Tax

85th Texas Legislature Bill Tracker

Turn to TEMSA’s member e-mail newsletter for updates on bills in the 85th Texas Legislature. Updated on May 11, 2017.

 

EMS Personnel

HB 786 (Rep. Gary VanDeaver, R-New Boston) – The bill would prohibit an employer from terminating or suspending the employment of an employee due to his or her absence as a result of being a volunteer emergency responder. The bill is scheduled for consideration by the House on 05.10.17.

HB 1794 (Rep. Cecil Bell, R-Magnolia) – The bill would establish the Work Group on Mental Health Access for First Responders. Two EMS professionals would have a seat at the table, and one of the two professionals must come from a fire department-based EMS agency. Passed out of the House and received in the Senate on 05.10.17.

HB 357 (Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Kingwood) – The bill would provide free prekindergarten to the children of certain first responders, including EMS professionals. The bill passed out of House committee and was sent to the House Calendars Committee on 04.06.17.

SB 580 (Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls) – The Bill would prevent the state from requiring volunteer firefighters or members of an industrial emergency response team from obtaining licensing. The bill was considered in committee on 04.04.17. 

HB 590 (Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston) – The bill would protect first responders who civil liability if they are helping an individual with roadside assistance. The bill passed out of the House and was referred to a Senate committee on 05.09.17.

HB 1958 (Rep. Drew Springer, R-Gainesville) – The bill would not allow the state to mandate licensure or certification for volunteer firefighters and members of industrial emergency response teams. Left pending after a House committee hearing on 04.24.17.

HB 1983 (Rep. John Wray, R-Waxahachie) and SB 1722 (Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston) – The bill relates to the eligibility of a firefighter or a peace officer for workers’ compensation benefits for PTSD. HB 1983 passed out of the House and was referred to a Senate committee on 05.04.17.

HB 2467 (Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston) – The bill would create a grant program for peace officers who experience critical incidents during official duty. The bill was voted out of committee on 05.08.17.

HB 2685 (Rep. Mando Martinez, D-Weslaco) – The bill relates to employment provisions for firefighters.

HB 3228 (Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin) – The bill would exempt certain tuition and fees for paramedics.

HB 3264 (Rep. Rodney Anderson, R-Irving) – The bill relates to tax benefits for certain current and former first responders and their families.

HB 3625 (Rep. Phil Cortez, D-San Antonio) – The bill would update the state’s reciprocity standards for certain EMS personnel who served in the military by adding that an individual who completes the state emergency medical certification exam while enlisted in the US military or within the 12-month period following an honorable discharge from the military would be eligible. The bill was not considered in the Legislature because current statute allows for this.

 

EMS Personnel – Guns

HB 2735 (Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston) – The bill would direct the state to create standards for first responders to carry guns while on duty. The training course would have to include not less than 40 hours of instruction and be taught by a qualified handgun instructor.

HB 56 (Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van) – The bill would amend various sections of the Penal Code and Human Resources Code relating to exempting first responders for trespassing with a concealed or openly carried handgun if the first responder was carrying out their duties. It does not mandate an employer to allow carry. It simply exempts first responders who do carry from 30.06 and 30.07 prosecution. It is not a government mandate. Sent to the House Calendars Committee on 04.07.17.

 SB 1408 (Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas) – The bill relates to the carrying of a handgun by certain first responders and volunteer EMS personnel. It would apply to volunteers only, require training to de-escalate the situation, and indicate that the discharge of the firearm is outside the scope of duty for a volunteer EMS professional or firefighter. It would prevent the agency from limiting an individual’s right to carry while on duty. Scheduled for a Senate committee hearing on 04.10.17.

HB 435 (Rep. Ken King, R-Canadian) – The bill would provide protections to volunteer emergency services personnel for the purpose of carrying handguns while on duty. It is not a government mandate. Sent to the House Calendars Committee on 04.06.17.

According to the bill author:

  • The bill would amend the Penal Code and Civil Practice and Remedies Code relating to the application of certain weapon laws to volunteer emergency services personnel licensed to carry a concealed handgun.
  • The bill would specify a governmental unit is not liable in a civil action arising from the discharge of a handgun by a volunteer emergency services personnel licensed to carry a concealed handgun.
  • The bill specifies the discharge of a handgun is outside the course and scope of an individual’s duties as a volunteer emergency services personnel.
  • The bill would create a defense to prosecution for volunteer emergency services personnel for certain offenses relating to the carrying of a handgun on certain premises.
  • The bill would add certain volunteer emergency personnel to a list of individuals that Section 46.02 and 46.03, Penal Code, does not apply.

HB 1337 (Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano) – The bill relates to the carrying or storage of a handgun by a firefighter at a fire station in which the firefighter is assigned. This is only for firefighters.

HB 982 (Rep. John Wray, R-Waxahachie) – The bill relates to the ability of certain first responders to carry a handgun.

HB 2009 (Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood) – The bill relates to an exemption for certain law enforcement and military personnel from a requirement to complete a hunter education program.

 

EMS Personnel – First Responders Killed or Fatally Wounded

HB 1526 (Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford) – The bill relates to the provision of state death benefits to peace officers employed by certain private institutions of higher education located in this state. The bill passed out of the House and was placed on the Senate’s Intent Calendar for 05.10.17.

HB 3454 (Rep. Terry Wilson, R-Georgetown) – The bill certain offenses committed against a federal law enforcement officer or EMS personnel. The bill did not witness movement.

SB 1184 (Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Tyler) – The bill relates to benefits for the eligible survivors of certain law enforcement officers, firefighters, and “other public employees killed in the line of duty.”

HB 1919 (Rep. Richard Raymond, D-Laredo) – The bill would add EMS professionals, peace officers, and firefighters to the list of individuals who are covered by “prejudice profiling attacks.” The bill was heard in a House committee on 04.17.17.

SB 899 (Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston) and HB 429 (Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas) – The bill is similar to HB 1919. The bills have not had committee hearings.

SJR1 (Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels), HJR 86 (Rep. Angie Button, R-Garland) and HJR 88 (Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Frisco) – The proposed constitutional amendment would authorize the Legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty. SJR 1 was voted out of the Senate and referred to a House committee on 05.09.17.

HB 2119 (Rep. Kyle Kacal, R-Bryan) – The bill relates to workers’ compensation death benefit eligibility for certain spouses of first responders killed in the line of duty. The bill passed out of the House and was sent to the Senate on 05.08.17.

SB 15 (Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas), HB 2524 (Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Frisco) and HB 570 (Rep. Angie Button, R-Garland) – The bill relates to an exemption from property taxes for the surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty. SB 15 passed out of the Senate and was referred to a House committee on 04.18.17.

 HB 3264 (Rep. Rodney Anderson, R-Irving) – The bill would provide some ad valorem tax benefits for certain first responders. EMS professionals would not be included.

 

EMS Personnel – Workers’ Comp

HB 2082 (Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock) and SB 1036 (Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock) – The bill relates to the designation of a liaison to assist first responders with workers’ compensation claims. HB 2082 passed out of the House and was referred to a Senate committee on 05.10.17.

 

Texas EMS Assistance Program

HB 1407 (Rep. JD Sheffield, R-Gatesville) and SB 1471 (Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo) – The bill would create a dedicate fund to preserve local project grants (LPGs) and create a rural distance-learning program for paramedics. HB 1407 passed out of the House and was heard in a Senate committee on 05.10.17.

HB 3577 (Rep. JD Sheffield, R-Gatesville) – The bill would create a rural distance-learning paramedic program.

 

EMS Tax Relief

HB 1332 (Rep. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound) – The bill would provide fuel tax relief to entities that provide 9-1-1 services to Texas communities. Heard in a House committee hearing on 03.15.17.

HB 379 (Rep. John Cyrier, R-Lockhart) – The bill would add entities that have an agreement with a local governmental entity to provide emergency ambulance services to the list of entities that have sales tax relief for the purchase of vehicles that are used for EMS services. Heard in a House committee hearing on 03.15.17.

 

Mental Health

HB 71 (Rep. Mando Martinez, D-Weslaco) – The bill would direct county officials to maintain a list of EMS providers in the McAllen area that can transport mental health patients to mental health facilities. It focuses on McAllen and would direct county officials to reimburse the EMS providers for their services. Sent to the Local and Consent Calendar on 03.30.17.

HB 1289 (Rep. Andy Murr, R-Kerrville) – The bill would require any individual who transports a person to a mental health facility at the direction of a peace officer to immediately file with the facility the notification of detention completed by the peace officer who made the request. The bill was heard in committee on 03.07.17.

SB 344 (Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas) – The bill would provide peace officers with the ability to transport a mental health patient directly to a paramedic for the purposes of bypassing a hospital and taking the patient directly to a mental health facility. Passed out of the Senate and referred to House Public Health on 05.05.17.

HB 2402 (Rep. Shawn Thierry, D-Houston) – The bill would direct the state to create an acute psychiatry bed registry of list available beds for emergency detention and treatment of certain individuals.

SB 1186 (Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas) – The bill would require a certain percentage of municipal police departments and sheriff departments to have a percentage of their officers who have mental health assignment certification.

 

Driver Responsibility Program

HB 4257 and HJR 124 (Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston) – Rep. Walle is proposing a constitutional amendment to add the “EMS and Trauma Fund” to the list of which “line items” receive oil and gas taxes and General Revenue surpluses. Currently, 50 percent goes to the Rainy Day Fund (Economic Stabilization Fund). The rest goes to the State Highway Fund.

The constitutional amendment would give three-eighths to the Rainy Day Fund, one-eighth to the “EMS and Trauma Fund,” and the rest fo the Highway Fund.

HB 67 (Rep. James White, R-Woodville), HB 275 (Rep. Larry Gonzales, R-Round Rock), SB 90 (Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood) and SB 661 (Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas) – These bills would repeal the DRP. SB 90 was heard in a Senate committee on 04.05.17.

HB 459 (Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park) – The bill would give a justice of the peace the ability to enforce the DRP, if the justice desires to do so. Heard in a House committee on 03.07.17.

HB 684 (Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston) – The bill would require the department to add a disclosure regarding the DRP for citizens who are indigent.

SB 266 (Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin) – The bill would decrease the amounts of the surcharge and ensure that 99 percent of the into the dedicated account as opposed to the current provision that places half of the revenue in the state’s general revenue fund. Heard in a Senate committee hearing on 04.05.17.

HB 1430 (Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston) – The bill relates to the indigent status of an individual for the purposes of the DRP.

SB 599 (Sen. Konni Burton, R-Fort Worth) and HB 1016 (Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth) – The bills relate to the deferral and reduction or waiver of certain surcharges assessed under the DRP. SB 599 was placed on the Senate calendar for 05.01.17. HB 1016 passed out of committee in the House on 04.24.17.

HB 2068 (Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman) and SB 2185 (Sen. Borris Miles, D-Houston) – The bill relates to the DRP and has been viewed as the one DRP bill that is “moving.” HB 2068 passed out of the House and was sent to the Senate on 05.08.17.

 

Air Medical

HB 935 (Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond) – The bill would dedicate a portion of the state’s traffic fine revenue and direct it to air medical ambulances for the purpose of helping the industry to draw down additional federal dollars for the purpose of increasing the air medical ambulance Medicaid rate to match Medicare. The bill passed out of the House.

 

Commercial Insurance

SB 507 (Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills) & HB 1566 (Rep. John Frullo, R-Lubbock) – The bill would subject all types of health care providers to a mediation process that allows to content any balance bill in the amount of $500 or more. However, ambulances would be exempt. The current law, which was originally passed in 2009, applies to facility-based physicians and assisting surgeons. SB 507 passed out of the Senate on 03.29.17. The House held a hearing on the House companion.

HB 3348 (Rep. Dennis Paul, R-Houston) – The bill would offer an insurance rider to consumers that covers emergency care. Providers would paid be based on usual, customary, and reasonable standards that is the 80th percentile of a specific database.

HB 1428 (Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo) – The bill would add the Teacher Retirement System of Texas to the list of health insurance plans that are eligible for mediation for certain balance billing claims. This is the $500 mediation threshold for balance bills from facility-based physicians and assisting surgeons. Sent to the House Calendars Committee on 03.30.17.

HB 307 (Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock) – The bill would require certain health care professionals to disclose certain fees.

HB 336 (Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth) – The bill would require greater transparency regarding the networks of the state’s commercial health insurance plans.

HB 477 (Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth) – The bill would require commercial health insurance plans to offer additional disclosures to patients.

HB 1832 (Rep. Nicole Collier, D-Fort Worth) – The bill would require facilities to provide disclosures to patients about facility-based physicians and potential charges and laboratory costs.

HB 1994 (Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock) – The bill would create a joint interim committee to study health care costs and the transparency of costs and benefits.

HB 2077 (Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood) – The bill would require the Texas Department of Insurance to collect data related to health plans’ calculation of payments to out-of-network providers.

HB 2397 (Rep. Sergio Munoz, D-Mission) and SB 1388 (Sen. Chuy Hinojosa, D-McAllen) – The bill would add fraud committed by a provider against a health plan as an additional reason for terminating a contract under Texas law.

HB 2396 (Rep. Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas) – The bill would require HMOs to provide an annual report of their earnings to the Texas comptroller.

HB 2447 (Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo) – The bill would add the Texas Education Agency commissioner to the list of individuals who make up the statewide health coordinating council.

HB 2449 (Rep. Sergio Munoz, D-Mission) – The bill relates to the assignment of insurance benefits and the ability of providers to go after patients for payments.

HB 2630 (Rep. Sergio Munoz, D-Mission) – The bill would require health plans to report on a quarterly basis the number of claims and the number of denials.

HB 2760 (Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood) – The bill would require enhanced network transparency standards and provider listings. The bill was heard in a House committee on 04.04.17.

SB 1171 (Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls) and HB 3343 (Rep. Dennis Paul, R-Houston) – The bill relates to the suspension and reactivation of the operation of the Texas Health Reinsurance System. SB 1171 was voted out of committee on 04.03.17. HB 3343 is scheduled for a House committee hearing on 04.11.17.

HB 3412 (Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano) – The bill would prohibit HMOs from requiring a pre-authorization for the immediate need of durable medical equipment and diagnostic testing.

SB 1485 (Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels) and HB 2945 (Rep. Sergio Munoz, D-Mission) – The bill would require health plans to pay out-of-network providers based on an allowed charge for a covered service that is not less than the average charge for the service by out-of-network providers in the geozip area (minus any charge that was the patient’s responsibility). In exchange, the provider would agree to not balance bill the patient.

SB 1486 (Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels) and HB 3755 (Rep. Rodney Anderson, R-Irving) – The bill would define UCR as the average allowed charge based on a specific geographic area.

HB 3546 (Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Houston) – The bill would require health plans to credit an insured’s deductible and annual out-of-pocket expense based on an amount the insured pays directly to a health care provider for a covered service if the claim is not submitted to the insurer and the amount paid by the insured to the provider is less than the average discounted rate for the service paid to an equivalent.

HB 3753 (Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood) – The bill relates to payment standards for out-of-network services.

HB 3814 (Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood) – The bill is similar to HB 3753 and would define UCR as 135 percent of the maximum allowed charge for out-of-network services.

SB 1613 (Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels) and HB 2449 (Rep. Sergio Munoz, D-Mission) – The bill relates to assignment of benefits and would allow a provider to take any necessary action to recover payment.

SB 1615 (Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels) – The bill adds additional definition to what constitutes balance billing by stating that balance billing does not include charging for any deductible, copayment, or coinsurance for which the enrollee is obligated to pay. In addition, it would include any amount the health plan is obligated to reimburse the enrollee or to pay on behalf of the enrollee for the service received by the enrollee (assignment of benefits).

SB 1614 (Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels) – The bill would additional text to what constitutes a misleading representation of a policy by adding “make a misleading representation or misrepresentation in an explanation of benefits provided by a health insurer or other health benefit plan issuer or a third-party administrator of a health benefit plan to an individual covered under the plan.”

SB 1636 (Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels) and HB 1649 (Rep. Sergio Munoz, D-Mission) – The bill would prevent HMOs from using extrapolation to complete an audit of a participating provider. HB 1649 will have a House hearing on 04.11.17.

HB 4194 (Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe) – The bill would require certain disclosures regarding the network status for facilty-based physicians.

HB 4197 (Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock) – The bill relates to the prohibition or denial for the use of certain types of health benefit plans or payment methods.

HB 4178 (Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana) – The bill relates to the disclosure of certain health care costs and shared savings between certain health benefit plans and state employees.

HB 4011 (Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock) – The bill relates to the prohibition of reporting of information regarding debt incurred for nonemergency medical care.

HB 4016 (Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood) – The bill relates to the payment of and disclosures related to certain out-of-network provider charges. It would define UCR as 135 percent of the highest allowed charge for out-of-network services within a specific region.

 

Regional Advisory Councils (RACs)

HB 1148 (Rep. Sarah Davis, R-Houston) – The bill would consolidate some of the administrative duties in order to save money and time. RACs would be able to opt out. Administrative hubs would take over the role of contracting, legal, and other administrative duties so that personnel could focus on the communities. In addition, administrative hubs would have to apply for the role and ensure that checks and balances will be applied to assure that money is being spent and allocated correctly. Passed out of the House on 03.31.17. Did not receive a committee referral in the Senate.

 

Emergency Services Commissioners/Districts

SB 517 (Sen. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston) & HB 267 (Rep. Ana Hernandez, D-Houston) – The bill would reimburse emergency services commissioners for some of their costs. A similar effort was vetoed in 2015.

HB 2788 (Rep. James White, R-Woodville) – The bill relates to the number of emergency services commissioners appointed in a region near the Louisiana boarder in southeast Texas. HB 2788 passed out of the House and was considered in a Senate committee haring on 05.08.17.

SB 1563 (Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham) – The bill relates to audits of financial accounts and records of emergency services districts.

HB 3214 (Rep. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio) – The bill relates to the service plan for annexation by certain municipalities of territory included in an ESD. Heard in a House committee hearing on 04.05.17.

 

General EMS Issues

SB 210 (Senator Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham) – The bill would require state agencies to remove two existing regulations in exchange for creating a new regulation that would impact a taxpayer. The bill was heard in a Senate committee on 04.06.17.

HB 3186 (Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City) – The bill would add a new definition to the Health and Safety code to define “patient” as a person who has a perceived need for medical care for a physiological or psychological illness or injury; requires medical observation, monitoring, or assessment; and is either awaiting treatment or already under treatment for the related condition. The bill would also require epinephrine on an EMS vehicle when authorized by the medical director.

HB 1223 (Rep. Andy Murr, R-Junction) – The bill would require vehicles to pull over for both the audible and visible signals of an emergency vehicle. Current law only requires a response to audible signals. Sent to the House Calendars Committee on 04.05.17.

HB 1249 (Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Arlington) – The bill would prevent individuals from operating vehicles that resemble official ambulances. The bill has passed out of the House and will be heard in a Senate committee.

SB 854 (Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville) – The bill would permit the Texas Division of Emergency Management to purchase food and beverages for department personnel who are activated in response to an emergency situation. Voted out of the Senate on 04.04.17.

HB 2063 (Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood) – The bill relates to DNR orders and situations in which neither the patient nor the family has specified a DNR. Heard in a House committee on 04.05.17.

SB 1224 (Sen. Borris Miles, D-Houston) – The bill would create a statewide system for stroke response and treatment.

SB 1570 (Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston) and HB 3152 (Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston) – The bill relates to care and transportation provided to a sexual assault survivor by a health care facility. HB 3152 is scheduled for a House committee hearing on 04.11.17.

 

Prescription Drugs

SB 584 (Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas) and HB 3313 (Rep. Toni Rose, D-Dallas) – The bill would allow certain individuals to provide opioid antagonist drugs to individuals who are experiencing an opioid overdose. SB 584 passed out of the Senate and received a House committee hearing on 05.09.17.

HB 1178 (Rep. John Kuempel, R-Seguin) & SB 536 (Sen. Chuy Hinojosa, D-McAllen) – The bill would add new punishment standards for the burglary and theft of controlled substances in pharmacies, clinics, hospitals, and nursing facilities. HB 1178 passed out of the House and was considered in a Senate committee hearing on 05.10.17.

 

Medicaid

SB 293 (Sen. Chuy Hinojosa, D-McAllen) – The bill relates to the proof required to impose payment holds in certain cases of fraud by Medicaid providers. Passed out of the Senate and voted out of a House committee on 05.10.17.

HB 1398 (Rep. Sergio Munoz, D-Mission) – The bill would require Medicaid plans to allow providers to electronically submit documentation necessary for the Medicaid plan to process a claim for payment. The bill passed out of a House hearing, but it did not move to the House fllor.

HB 1420 (Rep. Mando Martinez, D-Weslaco) – The bill relates to prompt payment rules relating to Medicaid plans. If the bill is not paid on or before the 15th day after the date, the penalty is equal to 20 percent of the outstanding claim amount. Heard in a House committee on 03.13.17.

HB 1524 (Rep. Sergio Munoz, D-Mission) – The bill would direct HHSC to create transparency regarding rate setting in the actuarial reports for the Medicaid managed care plans. Heard in a House committee hearing on 03.20.17.

SB 894 (Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Austin) – The bill would add more transparency to the procedures for auditing and collecting payments from Medicare managed care organizations. The bill passed out of the Senate and was considered in a House committee hearing on 05.10.17.

HB 2342 (Rep. Mando Martinez, D-Weslaco) – The bill would direct the government to study whether switching to Medicaid managed care has led to savings for the state.

HB 2375 (Rep. Sergio Munoz, D-Mission) – The bill would direct the government to study savings associated with the Medicaid managed care program. Heard in a House committee hearing on 03.27.17.

HB 2500 (Rep. Sergio Munoz, D-Mission) – The bill would direct HHSC to convert Medicaid to a fee-for-service model.

HB 2590 (Rep. Richard Raymond, D-Laredo) – The bill relates to dispute resolutions within Medicaid. The bill passed out of the House and was sent to the Senate on 05.01.17.

HB 2626 (Rep. Sergio Munoz, D-Mission) – The bill would set ceilings for the amount of administrative expenses utilized by Medicaid managed care plans.

 

Public Health

SB 31 (Sen. Juddith Zaffirini, D-Laredo) and HB 62 (Rep. Tom Craddick, R-Midland) and HB 160 (Rep. Eddie Lucio, III) – The bill would create a ban on texting while driving. HB 62 passed out of the House and stalled in a Senate committee on 05.09.17.

HB 4090 (Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-North Richland Hills) – The bill relates to advance directives made on behalf of patients.

 

Telemedicine

SB 1107 (Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown) and HB 2697 (Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo) – The bill would direct the Texas Medical Board and other licensing boards to develop standards for telemedicine. SB 1107 passed out of the Senate and passed to “third reading” in the House on 05.10.17.

 

Medicaid “Draw Down” Funding Bills

Several bills have been filed that would allow certain regions within Texas to have hospitals match dollars to draw down additional federal dollars. Several bills were passed in other regions in the 2015 Texas Legislature.

The following is a look at the bills in the 2017 Texas Legislature:

Red River Area
HB 2062

Lufkin Area
HB 2995 and SB 1758.

San Angelo Area
SB 1429 and HB 3398.

Tyler Area
HB 3993 and SB 1840.

Williamson County
HB 3954

Amarillo Area
SB 2117

Dallas Area
SB 2170

 

Freestanding Emergency Medical Centers

HB 3276 (Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Spring) – The bill would require FEMCs to list their network status in the lobby. The bill passed out of the House and had a Senate committee hearing on 05.11.17.

HB 3122 (Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston) – The bill would require FEMCS to disclose their network status to patients.

HB 3099 (Rep. Dennis Paul, R-Houston) – The bill would require FEMCs to provide disclosures to patients.

HB 3867 (Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo) and SB 3867 (Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills) – The bill relates to “unconscionable prices charged by certain health care facilities.” Both bills had committee hearings.

HB 3870 (Rep. John Smithee, R-Amarillo) – The bill relates to required disclosures by freestanding emergency medical centers.

Appropriations – A provision in the Senate’s version of the budget would prevent state employee health plans from paying for insureds to use freestanding emergency medical centers.