Tribpedia: Health And Human Services Commission

Tribpedia

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, with its $16 billion annual budget and 9,300 employees, administers and determines eligibility for programs for underprivileged Texans, including Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

The commission oversees the four other state health agencies, including the Department of Aging and Disability Services, the Department ...

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Gov. Rick Perry speaks to media after the groundbreaking ceremony of the Teletón USA children's rehabilitation center in San Antonio on Aug. 6, 2013.
Gov. Rick Perry speaks to media after the groundbreaking ceremony of the Teletón USA children's rehabilitation center in San Antonio on Aug. 6, 2013.

Perry Directs HHSC to Pursue Medicaid Block Grant

In a letter to the state's health agency on Monday, Gov. Rick Perry laid out his plan to request a federal waiver to reform Medicaid as Texas sees fit — without expanding eligibility. “Seemingly, the president and his administration are content to simply throw money at a problem and hope that any problems will resolve themselves,” he wrote.

Gabrielle Davis, 16, receives a shot at the Immunization Collaboration of Tarrant County in Fort Worth on Aug. 30, 2013.
Gabrielle Davis, 16, receives a shot at the Immunization Collaboration of Tarrant County in Fort Worth on Aug. 30, 2013.

Outbreaks Make a Case for Vaccinations

A measles outbreak at a North Texas megachurch and soaring rates of whooping cough across the state are drawing renewed calls for immunization legislation, which some lawmakers and medical professionals argue would help the state prevent and respond to public health crises.

New Medicaid Eligibility Calculation Draws Concerns

The Affordable Care Act's new rules for determining Medicaid eligibility has officials at the Health and Human Services Commission worried about an increased burden in processing applications. But proponents of the law say such hurdles are a natural part of major policy reform.

Birth control at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin, Texas.
Birth control at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin, Texas.

Texas Women's Health Program Claims Decline

The number of claims filed for medical and family planning services in the new state-run Texas Women's Health Program has dropped since the state ousted Planned Parenthood from it and set up its own program without federal financing, according to figures from the Health and Human Services Commission.

Zoila Chaver, second from right, a member of the Texas Organizing Project, giving health care information to Dallas resident Graciela Garcia at Garcia's home on July 10, 2013.
Zoila Chaver, second from right, a member of the Texas Organizing Project, giving health care information to Dallas resident Graciela Garcia at Garcia's home on July 10, 2013.

Groups Work to Promote Health Insurance Exchange

With state officials declining to implement key components of the federal Affordable Care Act, many private organizations are working to educate Texans about coverage options through the federal health insurance exchange, which opens on Oct. 1.

Yesenia Alvarado holds her daughter, Medicaid patient Melanie Almaraz, 2, while waiting to see Dr. Alberto Vasquez for treatment of a fever at the Su Clinica Familiar in Harlingen, Texas on Jul. 9, 2013.
Yesenia Alvarado holds her daughter, Medicaid patient Melanie Almaraz, 2, while waiting to see Dr. Alberto Vasquez for treatment of a fever at the Su Clinica Familiar in Harlingen, Texas on Jul. 9, 2013.

Health Care Providers Bracing for Medicaid Enrollment

Texas is not expanding Medicaid eligibility, but enrollment in the program is still expected to climb under new rules created by the federal Affordable Care Act. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission projects 240,000 children currently eligible for Medicaid but not participating will enroll in 2014 and 2015.

Tiger Whitehead and his children Logic and Domnick, who use SNAP and the the Sustainable Food Center Farmer's Market double dollars coupons, shopping at the Tuesday afternoon Farmer's Market at 2835 East MLK Blvd., Austin, Texas, on March 19, 2013.
Tiger Whitehead and his children Logic and Domnick, who use SNAP and the the Sustainable Food Center Farmer's Market double dollars coupons, shopping at the Tuesday afternoon Farmer's Market at 2835 East MLK Blvd., Austin, Texas, on March 19, 2013.

Nutrition Benefits a Mixed Bag for Farmers Markets

About 50 farmers markets around the state take SNAP benefits, WIC benefits or both. The programs are not well utilized, but proponents say it is important to provide as many healthy food options as possible for Texans who use nutrition benefits.

Interactive: Economic Impact of Medicaid Expansion

It's politically unpopular among most Texas Republicans — and Gov. Rick Perry has vowed not to do it — but proposals to expand Medicaid coverage to more poor adults have gained traction with some fiscal conservatives who argue the economic benefits could outweigh the backlash. This interactive shows the estimated economic impact of expanding Medicaid by House and Senate district. 

 

 

State Sen. Tommy Williams on the Senate floor on May 16, 2011.
State Sen. Tommy Williams on the Senate floor on May 16, 2011.

Senate Finance Committee Tackles Health Budget

The Senate Finance Committee opened its discussion on how to finance the state's health budget on Wednesday by considering the impact of cost containment initiatives passed last session, how to proactively curb Medicaid fraud and ways to address the costs associated with federal health care reforms.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, outline proposals to reduce Medicaid spending in Texas at a press conference on Jan. 16, 2013.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, outline proposals to reduce Medicaid spending in Texas at a press conference on Jan. 16, 2013.

Dewhurst, Nelson Tout Proposals to Curb Medicaid Costs

The Texas Senate on Wednesday released proposals to bring down spending on Texas Medicaid, the state’s health program for the poor, by instituting quality-based payment reforms for long-term care services and measures to catch Medicaid fraud and abuse.