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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Has Texas Patient Privacy Bill Hit a Snag?

State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst’s bill to further protect Texans’ private medical information looks stuck; it’s been three weeks since it passed out of committee, and it hasn’t yet been set for a House vote. Opponents say the measure adds “duplicative and possibly conflicting requirements” to existing federal law. And insiders question whether it’s got a shot in the Senate, which has already passed a slightly less restrictive medical privacy bill.

Phil and Diann Green at home with their granddaughter Aria, who they've raised since infancy. The Greens, who are retiring and will soon switch from employer-sponsored insurance to Medicare, have been unable to find a child-only health insurance policy for Aria. Insurers in Texas and many other states have stopped offering the policies in protest over federal health reform rules.
Phil and Diann Green at home with their granddaughter Aria, who they've raised since infancy. The Greens, who are retiring and will soon switch from employer-sponsored insurance to Medicare, have been unable to find a child-only health insurance policy for Aria. Insurers in Texas and many other states have stopped offering the policies in protest over federal health reform rules.

Insurers Drop Child-Only Plans, Blame Health Reform

Insurers in Texas have stopped offering new child-only policies in protest over a provision of the federal health care overhaul. For children being raised by their grandparents, there are few options left.

Community home care advocates for children rally on the South steps of the Capitol against budget cuts
Community home care advocates for children rally on the South steps of the Capitol against budget cuts

Advocates Rally to Retain State Health Funds

Hundreds of people rallied at the Capitol today to urge lawmakers to maintain state spending on Medicaid and CHIP, the health care programs for children, the disabled and the very poor. 

Baby Mila, who was born 3 months early, with mom Adrienne Ball 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.
Baby Mila, who was born 3 months early, with mom Adrienne Ball 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.

Maternity Wards, NICUs Face Budget Scrutiny

State health officials, searching for solutions to Texas’ budget shortfall, are eying neonatal intensive care units, which they fear are being overbuilt and overused by hospitals eager to profit from the high-cost care.

Gloria Garza, who had a liver transplant in 2009 at the University Transplant Center in San Antonio, stands with her husband, George, at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg on March 2.
Gloria Garza, who had a liver transplant in 2009 at the University Transplant Center in San Antonio, stands with her husband, George, at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg on March 2.

Doctors, Transplant Patients Hope to Dispel Myths

With the number of Hispanics in Texas continuing to swell, the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance is embarking on a campaign to change cultural and religious resistance to organ donation. 

Disabled man outside room where Senate Finance Committee listens to testimony on February 2, 2011
Disabled man outside room where Senate Finance Committee listens to testimony on February 2, 2011

Health Care Advocates Offer Emotional Pleas

From patients and parents to nurses and practitioners, the many faces of Texans affected by health care budget cuts gathered at the Capitol today to give an earful to lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee. 

Odiel Rodriguez, a physician assistant, checks a patient's file at Ashley Pediatrics Day and Night Clinic in Pharr. Family practitioners fear what budget cuts will mean for the funding that keeps them in business.
Odiel Rodriguez, a physician assistant, checks a patient's file at Ashley Pediatrics Day and Night Clinic in Pharr. Family practitioners fear what budget cuts will mean for the funding that keeps them in business.

Are Payment Reform, Texas Budget in Conflict?

Lawmakers are crafting legislation to make health care more affordable and effective by rewarding doctors who get the best medical outcomes. But the cuts they're proposing to meet the state's budget shortfall could hinder some of the same physicians they're relying on to implement payment reform.

HHSC Commissioner Tom Suehs testifies before lawmakers.
HHSC Commissioner Tom Suehs testifies before lawmakers.

Suehs Warns Lawmakers on Health Cuts

Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs pulled no punches when he warned Senate lawmakers today what proposed budget cuts will mean: either cutting the number of people served, or the money paid to those who care for them.  

Dr. Carlos Cardenas, chairman of the board at Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg, performs an exam on a patient on Wednesday December 8, 2010. Many Texas hospitals like this one oppose certain aspects of the proposed expansion of Medicaid managed care.
Dr. Carlos Cardenas, chairman of the board at Doctor’s Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg, performs an exam on a patient on Wednesday December 8, 2010. Many Texas hospitals like this one oppose certain aspects of the proposed expansion of Medicaid managed care.

Texas Hospitals Could Face Cuts in Federal Funds

Texas hospital administrators aren't thrilled about the 10 percent Medicaid provider rate cut included in the House's proposed budget. But what they fear more is the proposed expansion of Medicaid managed care, which could force them to forgo a combined $1 billion a year in federal funding.

Endoscopy tech Dora Facturan, right, prepares Maria Perez, 65, for a colonoscopy exam from Dr. Carlos Cardenas, back left, on December 8, 2010 at the Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg. South Texans lead some of the longest lives in the state.
Endoscopy tech Dora Facturan, right, prepares Maria Perez, 65, for a colonoscopy exam from Dr. Carlos Cardenas, back left, on December 8, 2010 at the Doctor's Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg. South Texans lead some of the longest lives in the state.

Border Counties Have Some of Texas' Longest Lives

Many of the longest lives in Texas are lived in an unlikely place: along the impoverished border with Mexico, where residents often live until age 80 and beyond. Explanations for this so-called "Hispanic Paradox" range from theories about differences in the diet, faith and family values of first-generation South Texans to suggestions that natural selection is at play in immigration patterns. 

Report Shows Some State Medicaid Improvements

Thirteen states expanded Medicaid or CHIP eligibility last year, and 14 states made improvements in enrollment and renewal procedures. Texas didn't fall into either of these categories, but the state held steady in 2010, while making improvements in technology to prepare for the roll-out of federal health care reform.