In addition to the final passage of HB 567, two of our bills were voted out of the House this week, and one was voted out of committee. I've talked about each of these bills before, but as a reminder:
Out of the House
HB 548 will allow physicians and nurses in good standing to waive into a Texas License and continue to practice in Texas once they leave active duty service if they have served at a military installation, are licensed in good standing in another state, and pledge to provide their services in a part of the state that is deemed medically underserved. All of HD-69 (Archer, Baylor, Clay, Foard, Knox, and Wichita) is considered "medically underserved" and would fit within the parameters of the legislation.
Texas has a shortage of physicians and nurses, especially in rural areas of the state. We are also the proud home of the largest number of military installations in the country. It only makes sense that active duty medical personnel that have served our armed forces in a responsible manner be allowed to continue their practices once they leave active service in the military.
HB 3041 implements federal funding made available through the Family First Preservation Services Act to allow children to remain safely at home with their parents as a direct alternative to removal into state conservatorship through the delivery of evidence-based services to families who are reported to DFPS.
Importantly, it defines the available participants as those at immediate risk of entering the system in order to focus on providing services without resorting to actual removal from homes.
Out of Committee
would improve the interest list process for Medicaid waiver programs.
In an effort to serve Texans who have an intellectual or developmental disability, the state has several Medicaid waiver programs which allow us to use Medicaid funds to provide long-term care services outside of an institutional setting. This practice has meant better health and well-being outcomes for the participants themselves, and has allowed the state to serve more individuals.
Unfortunately, there is a lengthy list of individuals who are interested in getting services but for whom there are not enough waiver slots currently. Also, we do not have a clear idea of how many of those on the interest list: (a) are actually eligible for services; (b) need the services immediately or soon; and (c) most need the services. If the Legislature is going to tackle the problem of lengthy (and growing) interest lists, we have to do a better job of accurately assessing who needs what services when.
HB 3720 would work toward that goal by requiring persons on an interest list to fill out a questionnaire that includes information pertinent to their individual needs. The bill would also direct the Health and Human Services Commission to explore the possibility of creating an online portal for applicants to update their status so that the interest list picture is more current.