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Selected Senate Interim Charges

This list includes those with potential relevance to the Health Science Center.

Each committee is “charged with conducting a thorough and detailed review of the following issues, including state and federal requirements, and preparing recommendations to address problems or issues that are identified.”

  • Finance

    Senator Steve Ogden (R-Bryan), Chair

    1. General Budget Oversight. Monitor state agency implementation of House Bill 1 by reviewing key strategies, programs, and rider provisions.

    Health and Human Services:

    Funding for Homeland Security. Monitor and report on the amount and uses of federal homeland security dollars in Texas appropriated through the Governor’s Office and directly to local governments.

    Public and Higher Education:

    Tuition Revenue Bond Authorization. Review recent history and beneficiaries of TRB authorization by previous legislatures. Recommend procedures, criteria and priorities for potential new TRB authorizations and funding sources for the 79th Legislature.

    Nature and Use of Local Funds. Develop a representative sample profile of local funds of various types of agencies and institutions of higher education and report on amounts, revenue sources, expenditures, and how these funds impact the use of General Revenue appropriated in the General Appropriations Act.

    Natural Resources and Economic Development:

    Enterprise Fund. Monitor and report on current and potential future uses of the Enterprise Fund. Study and develop re commendations for using economic development funds and assessing potential projects, including but not limited to, establishing criteria for investment, developing standards for cost-benefit analyses, leveraging local participation, and incorporating claw-back provisions if goals are not met.

    General Government, Regulatory and Judiciary:

    Revisit Rising Health Care Cost Study of the 77th Legislature. Review the cost study and determine which cost elements of the study have not been controlled and make recommendations to the 79th Legislature to address bringing them under control. Examine the budget impact of policy decisions of the 78th Legislature and make recommendations for improvement.

    General Budget and Tax Issues:

    Pension Fund Review. Report on the current condition of the state’s pension systems., including an analysis of unfounded liabilities. Make recommendations, as necessary, to ensure Texas meets its financial obligations in the future.

  • Governmental Organization

    Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston), Chair

    1. Study the management of state assets and leases, including real estate, leased space, inventory and other assets by the General Land Office, the Texas Building and Procurement Commission, as well as other agencies. Explore and make recommendations n the possible use of sale-leaseback opportunities for properties that the state now owns. Review allegations of theft of state property and make recommendations on enhancing security of state assets.

  • Health and Human Services

    Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), Chair

    1. Study and make recommendation on structural reform, efficiency improvements, and cost savings in the state Medicaid and CHIP programs, with a goal of changing the method and delivery of service to reduce costs while providing the intended services. The Committee should examine and make recommendations to:

      • Lower institutional costs,
      • Subsidize private insurance in lieu of Medicaid and CHIP where possible; …
      • Reimburse health care providers based upon outcomes where feasible;
      • Match currently unmatched local funds with federal funds;
      • Alter Texas’ current method of finance and distribution of DSH; …

    2. Monitor implementation and make recommendations to improve HB 2292. Include reviews of implementation of the preferred drug list and prior authorization…

    3. Study and make recommendation in improving Texas’ county and local indigent health care system. Consider whether the system should be regionalized to reflect usage and gain efficiencies, so that one or more counties are not paying for regional health care.

    4. Monitor the implementation and make recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of legislation relating to the Board of Medical Examiners, legislation relating to childhood immunizations, legislation relating to the pilot front end Medicaid fraud reduction systems, …expansion and new construction of Federally Qualified Health Centers, federal developments related to prescription drugs in Medicare and the effect on Medicaid. Also monitor and report on the use of new federal Medicare funds allocated for Texas.

    5. Study and make recommendations on increasing electronic transactions in health care. Review the use and make recommendations on improving technology in health care administration, including expediting pre-authorizations and increasing the efficiency of claims processing so that medical providers are paid once procedures are pre-authorized and performed, and administrative costs lowered, benefiting both the consumer and the managed health care organizations.

    6. Study health facility regulation in Texas and make recommendations that facilitate innovation and patient safety. Concentrate studies on hospitals, including niche hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers and long term care facilities, and make recommendations for improving patient choice, facility competition, indigent health care, and for maintaining a competitive, patient-oriented health care industry.

  • Higher Education

    Senator Royce West (D-Dallas), Chair

    1. Study the impact of admissions policies on enrollment in Texas public institutions and make recommendations for improving the admissions procedures, as necessary. The study should include, but not be limited to, a review of recent court decisions on college admissions policies, and an evaluation of the impact of the “Top 10%” law on college admissions.

    2. Study and make recommendations to modify the student financial assistance programs to provide better incentives for students to graduate on time with better grades, such as the B-On-Time program and work-study programs, and to simplify the application process for financial aid programs.

    3. Review and make recommendations on the adequacy of funding for graduate medical education, including funding required for professors, facilities, research programs and students. Review and make recommendations relating to increasing the number of health professionals.

  • Joint Charges, Higher Education and Finance

    West, Higher Education Chair, and Steve Ogden (R-Bryan), Finance Chair

    1. Accountability. Study and make recommendations relating to the development of a statewide accountability system for higher education that is consistent with funding strategies for higher education.

    2. Funding for Higher Education. Study all funding of institutions of higher education. Assess the cost ane requirements of increasing the number of Tier 1 universities in Texas. Reexamine current and alternative methods of funding regional universities, community colleges, health science centers and their reimbursement for the provision of indigent health care, and universities.

    3. Tuition Deregulation. Study the budgetary impact of legislation to deregulate tuition at institutions of higher education. This study should include, but not be limited to, a review of recent tuition increases authorized by this Act, their impact on affordability of higher education, and an evaluation of the expenditure of these funds.

  • Infrastructure Development and Security

    Senator Todd Staples (R-Palestine), Chair

    1. Study the implementation and make recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of HB 3588 . . . Monitor and report on the adequacy and use of the trauma care funds generated as a result of the legislation and make recommendations for improving the funding of trauma care services.

    2. Study and report on the distribution of federal funds to Texas through the Governor’s Office, state agencies, and directly to local units of government for homeland security measures, including but not limited to, public health and welfare, safety, awareness, and the subsequent use of any funds that might be awarded. Make recommendations relating the development of a method for tracking this information across jurisdictions and state programs. Evaluate the allocation and efficient use of future federal funds to the state and local governments and identify opportunities to enhance current state funding for homeland security and other measures.

    3. Evaluate state and local efforts to enhance the security of Texans and make recommendations for improving Texas’ ability to detect, deter and respond to acts of terrorism, including state plans and programs for addressing bioterrorism. Regarding bioterrorism events, the committee shall focus on early detection of an incident, reporting of information from local health entities, and ability to organize and administer a mass vaccination. Make recommendations relating to improvements to state and local communications networks and develop innovative methods for sharing federal, state, and local information.

  • Intergovernmental Relations

    Senator Frank Madla (D-San Antonio), Chair

    1. Study the unique challenges and opportunities in rural areas from an economic development standpoint. Study the future and unmet needs of rural communities, residents and businesses and examine the quality of infrastructure, housing, health care, and community involvement. Make recommendations for promoting investment in growth industries in rural areas.

  • State Affairs

    Senator Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock), Chair

    1. Study the implementation of changes made to the state group health insurance plans and identifies additional cost-saving measures. Study the feasibility and practicality of offering health reimbursement accounts as an alternate health insurance plan for those insured in ERS, TRS, and university plans. Provide recommendations regarding whether the current method of administering these programs is in the best interest of the State of Texas and the various insured populations, or whether such programs might be more efficiently administered in another fashion.

    2. Study the implementation of SB 10 and SB 541, and make recommendations, as needed, to make health insurance more accessible and affordable for all Texans.

    3. Study the reimbursement methodology of health care plans operating in Texas for out-of-network claims, specifically focusing upon the reimbursement of usual and customary charges, and make recommendations on how to improve their effectiveness. The study and recommendations should encompass all plans, including those participating in Texas’ Medicaid managed care program and should consider federal and state laws as well as Health and Human Services Commission rules relating to the reimbursement of out-of-network claims.

    4. Study the implementation of HB 4 and Proposition 12 in achieving lower medical malpractice rates and providing more access to affordable health care. Monitor and report on trends in medical malpractice insurance rates and the effect of tort reform on access to health care and provider shortages in certain regions, particularly along the Border.

  • Subcommittee on Base Realignment and Closure

    Senator Eliot Shapleigh (D- El Paso), Chair

    1. Study and communicate national Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) developments, criteria and timelines to the Texas Military Planning Commission (TMPC) and affected military communities. Coordinate and monitor all BRAC issues associated with the Governor and Lieutenant Governor’s offices, the TMPC, the Office of State-Federal Relations, the State Congressional Delegation, and the Texas House Committee on Defense Affairs and State-Federal Relations.

  • Veterans Affairs and Military Installations

    Senator Leticia Van DePutte (D-San Antonio), Chair

    1. Study existing language of the Hazelwood Act which entitles wartime veterans and their children to a waiver of tuition and fees at some state-supported colleges and universities, and make recommendations, including cost estimates, on possible amendments to this Act to permit Veterans who have not fully used their entitlement under the Act to pass on residual benefits to their children.

Last edited by: schnettler 11/10/2017