5 Things Texas: Price transparency, mental health, “Keynote Conversations”

We are five weeks away from the 2019 North Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference, and we’re rounding the corner to the home stretch! If you haven’t had a chance to review the Topical Agenda, take a look as the content areas continue to evolve based on stakeholder input.

Registration pricing does go up here in another few weeks. So, if you already know you want to be with us and about 300 of your closest friends in DFW health care, we’d love to have you get registered this week!

With help from Emily Viles
and Laura Burns


1. Texas health coverage among lowest in nation

A new report released Monday morning shows that Texas has some of the lowest health care rankings in the nation. The report looks at each state’s quality of care in terms of access, affordability, and health outcomes and then gives each state an overall ranking.

Texas received a score of 43 overall putting the state in the bottom ten percent for health care in the nation. This ranking is a result of combination scores in three categories: cost, access and outcomes. The state ranks 28th in terms of cost, 51st in access, and 38th in terms of outcomes.

2.”Keynote Conversations” at State of Reform

Next week, we release our Detailed Agenda for our 2019 North Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference. You’ll see about 65 speakers curated for you across all areas of Texas health care and health policy.  But, I wanted to flag a few for you that will be really high value.

Clay Jenkins, Judge of Dallas County, and Fred Cerise, CEO of Parkland Health and Hospital System will both join me for “One on One Conversations” to start the morning. Then, our Lunch Keynote on “The Future of Texas Health Care” will include some of the most informed voices in the state, like Former HHSC Commissioner Charles Smith and Sen. Nathan Johnson.

You’ll see the full list of names for both Keynote sessions, as well as the other speakers throughout the day, next week. So, stay tuned!

3. CMS files new hospital price transparency rule

A new proposed rule by CMS would increase transparency in health care pricing structures by requiring hospitals to release both industry standard, and negotiated funding figures. The goal is to lower costs and increase competition in the market, a goal of the Trump Administration. Insurance plans, and hospital associations oppose the plan, citing a potential opposite effect on the market.

The proposed rules would become effective January 1, 2020 and would require hospitals to implement a “consumer friendly, “machine readable,” file for public use. The new rule also proposes that a series of new enforcement mechanisms be created, including monetary fines for lack of compliance, auditing, monitoring and corrective action. In coming weeks, CMS will seek public comment on the best way to capture compliance information.


4. Panel: “System level improvements to mental health”

A panel you’ll see on our Topical Agenda when it gets released next week will explore how the mental health system of one region can vary wildly from another, and how we might learn from success in one county so they can be deployed in a second. It’s a timely discussion as Dallas County and others struggle with meeting the demands for access to care.

The panel includes three impressive speakers: Carol Lucky, CEO of North Texas Behavioral Health Authority; Bonnie Cook, Executive Director of Mental Health America of Greater Dallas; Celeste Johnson, VP of Nursing at Parkland Health and Hospital System.

5. “Prevention Quality Indicators:” county variation

The Texas Department of State Health Services “prevention quality indicators”  data show trends that signal a lack of access to critical care that is variable by health condition. These raw data sets are broken up into different indicators that rank the quality of health care by county and better illuminate areas where access reform is needed.

A critical look into the data shows that lack of access to a hospital does not always correlate to poor health outcomes. Data on hospital admission as a result of pediatric asthma, for example, show that counties with the highest incidence rates had access to a hospital within county lines. Data on pediatric diabetes complications, on the other hand, shows an opposite trend. The highest rates of child diabetes complications occur in a single county where residents do not have access to a hospital.