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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HHSC Targets Premature Births in Quest to Cut Costs

Natasha and Mark Rosen, of Austin, with baby Matthew, who was born 3 months premature, in Seton Medical Center Austin's neonatal intensive care unit. Texas lawmakers are looking for ways to curb prenatal births and the high costs they present for the state's Medicaid program.
Natasha and Mark Rosen, of Austin, with baby Matthew, who was born 3 months premature, in Seton Medical Center Austin's neonatal intensive care unit. Texas lawmakers are looking for ways to curb prenatal births and the high costs they present for the state's Medicaid program.

A new state health program launched this week aims to reduce the number of women on Medicaid whose newborns require costly neonatal intensive care.


Former state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, on the Texas House floor in 2007
Former state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, on the Texas House floor in 2007

Letter Urges HHSC to Block Abortion-Related Proposal

A letter signed by 10 Democratic state senators asked HHSC Commissioner Tom Suehs to block a proposed rule that would require women seeking abortions to report more personal information. The rule stems from requirements Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington previously outlined failed legislation. But it is not clear yet what impact the letter will ultimately have.

Tom Suehs waiting outside Senate committee hearing on January 31, 2011.
Tom Suehs waiting outside Senate committee hearing on January 31, 2011.

HHSC Commissioner Tom Suehs Retiring in August

Texas Weekly

Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs, who has overseen the state's massive health agency since 2009, is retiring at the end of August. Suehs' announcement follows news last month that Billy Millwee, the state's Medicaid director, was retiring, leaving an even bigger void than anticipated at the top of an agency facing billions of dollars in unpaid Medicaid costs.

State's Medicaid Chief Retiring

Billy Millwee, who oversees the state's giant Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance programs, will retire in August. Millwee has been a state employee for more than 20 years — 18 of them with Texas' Medicaid program. He has directed the Medicaid and CHIP programs, which account for nearly a quarter of the state's total budget, since early 2010.

Interactive: Texas Budget Cuts Shrink State Government

With the state government tightening its belt, there are now 10,200 fewer state employees, according to an analysis of data collected by the state auditor’s office. This interactive shows how budget cuts have affected employment at state-funded entities from the second quarter of fiscal year 2011 to the second quarter of fiscal 2012.

La'Tonya Ephraim speaks with Carrie Adney, a Women's Health Program client since last year, at Seton-Circle of Care Women's Services in Round Rock, TX.
La'Tonya Ephraim speaks with Carrie Adney, a Women's Health Program client since last year, at Seton-Circle of Care Women's Services in Round Rock, TX.

Time Running Out for Women's Health Providers

Texas Weekly

The clock is ticking for reproductive health clinics that are affiliated with abortion providers — the state will force Planned Parenthood and others like them out of the Women’s Health Program early next month.

Interactive: Mapping Access to Health Care in Texas

For many Texans, a basic visit to the doctor requires an hours-long drive. Health care providers are lacking across the vast expanses of rural Texas, and the problem could be worsening. The Tribune created an interactive map to illustrate just how few physicians there are in some parts of the state.

Texas resident Shantell Keller cannot afford insurance and does not qualify for Medicaid. For years, she has avoided seeking treatment for a variety of mounting health problems. Thanks to reduced rates at the federally qualified health service provider Lone Star Circle of Health in Georgetown, she is now able to afford co-payments for occasional visits to a family practice clinic.
Texas resident Shantell Keller cannot afford insurance and does not qualify for Medicaid. For years, she has avoided seeking treatment for a variety of mounting health problems. Thanks to reduced rates at the federally qualified health service provider Lone Star Circle of Health in Georgetown, she is now able to afford co-payments for occasional visits to a family practice clinic.

On the Records: $61 Million Awarded for Health Centers

The federal government awarded Texas $61 million today for new or improved community health centers across the state.

La'Tonya Ephraim speaks with Carrie Adney, a Women's Health Program client since last year, at Seton-Circle of Care Women's Services in Round Rock, TX.
La'Tonya Ephraim speaks with Carrie Adney, a Women's Health Program client since last year, at Seton-Circle of Care Women's Services in Round Rock, TX.

Judge Gives State OK to Exclude Planned Parenthood

A federal judge's ruling this morning means that the state may begin removing Planned Parenthood and other so-called abortion "affiliates" from the Women's Health Program, despite a district judge's Monday ruling to the contrary.

La'Tonya Ephraim speaks with Carrie Adney, a Women's Health Program client since last year, at Seton-Circle of Care Women's Services in Round Rock, TX.
La'Tonya Ephraim speaks with Carrie Adney, a Women's Health Program client since last year, at Seton-Circle of Care Women's Services in Round Rock, TX.

Texas Outlines Future Plans for Women's Health Program

Texas health officials have delivered their plans for taking over the Women's Health Program from the federal government. Taking over responsibility in November would let the state "conduct robust outreach to clients and providers,” an official said.

Interactive: Mapping Medicaid Patients' Pharmacy Access

State lawmakers expect to save more than $100 million by including pharmaceutical reimbursements in Medicaid managed care, but pharmacists are crying foul, saying the lowered rates could put them out of business. Use this interactive map to compare Medicaid patients’ access to pharmacies across the state.

Tribweek Friday, April 6th.
Tribweek Friday, April 6th.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 4/2/12

The first two parts of M. Smith's series on failing school districts (plus Murphy and Seger's interactive on how districts' characteristics relate to ratings), Root on lagging GOP candidates for president trying to shore things up in Texas, Ramshaw on a "fiscal switcheroo" to get federal money for women's health programs, Galbraith talks to a West Texas farmer about crop insurance and climate change and Aguilar on the money behind a lawsuit on long rifle sales: The best of our best content from April 2 to 6, 2012.

March 6th, 2012: Protest against Texas lawmakers decision regarding changed to the  the Women's Health Program. the federal government is expected to cut funding for the program because Texas improperly excluded Planned Parenthood from its list of providers
March 6th, 2012: Protest against Texas lawmakers decision regarding changed to the the Women's Health Program. the federal government is expected to cut funding for the program because Texas improperly excluded Planned Parenthood from its list of providers

"Obamacare" on Center Stage

Texas Weekly

From contraception and cancer screenings to "Obamacare" and state physician shortages, here's a look at the month ahead in Texas health policy. 

U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison talks with supporters at the Bonnie Ruth's Cafe in suburban Frisco, TX during a campaign stop for the Republican nomination for Texas governor.
U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison talks with supporters at the Bonnie Ruth's Cafe in suburban Frisco, TX during a campaign stop for the Republican nomination for Texas governor.

Hutchison Urges Perry to Reconsider Health Program

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison appeared on MSNBC's The Daily Rundown to defend Planned Parenthood and urge Gov. Rick Perry to re-consider federal funding for the Women's Health Program. "We can't keep turning back federal funds that every state gets and then try to find money in our budget which is already being cut in key areas like education," she said.

Senate Committee Tackles Rural Child Welfare

Child Protective Services officials got an earful on Wednesday at a Senate hearing on improving the caseworker retention and turnover rates in rural communities. And they got a minor scolding from Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, who assumed they would come armed with more data and possible solutions than they did.