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 ...

Read More...

Overshadowed, Med Schools Face Drastic Reductions

Texas medical schools feel like the scorned children of the state’s education budget. Lost amid the pleas of parents to restore funding for public education, and the demands of college students to preserve financial aid, the state’s health care institutions say few seem to understand the drastic situation they face. Med schools say they won’t be able to fully fund the students currently enrolled, and could be forced to curb new admissions next year.

Doctors Harish Chandna, Ajay Gaalla, Dakshesh Parikh stand for a portrait in their offices' waiting room.
Doctors Harish Chandna, Ajay Gaalla, Dakshesh Parikh stand for a portrait in their offices' waiting room.

Cardiologists Accuse Hospital of Discrimination

Whether racial animus led Victoria's Citizens Medical Center to close its cardiology unit to non-staff doctors — effectively revoking the privileges of Drs. Harish Chandna, Ajay Gaalla and Dakshesh Kumar Parikh to practice there — is the subject of fierce debate and a discrimination lawsuit filed by the three doctors in federal district court in the Southern District of Texas. The dispute has divided Victoria’s close-knit medical community.

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 and across the nation — protesting a provision of the 2010 federal health care overhaul that prohibits pre-existing condition limitations for children under 19 — have simply stopped offering new child-only policies. For children being raised by their grandparents who are not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, there are few options.

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. 

Texas Medicaid Costs Vary Widely by Hospital, Area

The cost of common medical procedures paid for by Texas Medicaid varies dramatically from hospital to hospital and region to region, according to a Texas Tribune analysis. A routine delivery at St. Luke’s The Woodlands Hospital costs twice as much as at Christus St. Catherine Hospital in Katy, just 50 miles away. A coronary bypass? The Laredo Medical Center bills Medicaid nearly $5,500 more for one than the Harlingen Medical Center.

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 — and by doctors too quick to offer women elective inductions and Caesarean sections before their babies are full term.

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

In 2004, doctors told Gloria Garza she needed a new liver to stay alive. Five years later, the McAllen native's wish was granted, after the family of a deceased person agreed to donate one. That Garza is even alive is surprising in a predominantly Hispanic region where cultural and religious beliefs further impede organ donations, which already face hurdles of genetics and matching blood types.

Medicare UPL Distribution by Texas Senate Districts
Medicare UPL Distribution by Texas Senate Districts

Mapping Where Federal Hospital Dollars Go in Texas

State health officials hope they've reached a breakthrough in their effort to achieve two seemingly competing goals: expanding Medicaid managed care, and keeping a combined $1 billion in federal health care dollars flowing into Texas hospitals every year. Check out our maps to see which House and Senate districts have the most to lose if UPL dollars can't be preserved.

Texas Seeks Medicaid Waiver, but Prognosis Is Poor

Only months ago, Texas lawmakers threatened to drop out of Medicaid. Now, Texas and other financially struggling states are asking Washington for permission to operate the program as they see fit. The feds are unlikely to agree — further fueling the fire behind the state’s anti-Washington, state-sovereignty rhetoric.

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. The onslaught of emotional testimony appeared to affect some senators. “I’ve never seen the [level of] concern by your presence today," said state Sen. John Whitmire, the Houston Democrat who has argued against such sweeping cuts. "It will make a difference."