5 Things Texas: Contract awards, Stephanie Muth, Convening Panel

Wow. Last night, Kentucky went from being Trump +30 to a Democratic governor. Virginia now has a Democratic legislature and governor for the first time since the Civil War. If that general trend continues, things may get a bit more complicated for Sen. John Cornyn, too, who six months ago many thought would sail to re-election.

We’ll set that aside for now… But, it’s useful context for these 5 Things We’re Watching in Texas health care for November, 2019.




With help from Emily Viles    

1. Medicaid contract awards disrupt the market

Last week, Texas HHS announced contract awards to managed care organizations in corresponding service areas for the STAR+PLUS product. The $10bn in contract awards will become effective September 1, 2020 and will last for 3 years. Another $10bn in CHIP awards are expected in December.

Centene Corporation and United Health received the most contracts across the state, but other companies stand to lose millions in revenue as a result of lost contracts. Molina was not selected to return to five of the six regions it has served through the Star+Plus program. The loss of these contracts is expected to result in nearly $1 billion in lost revenue for the company. Cigna Corporation and Anthem also stand to lose millions in premium revenue after losing contracts in a number of counties as well.


2.  Convening Panel meets ahead of Austin event

Next week, our Convening Panel will gather to sort through the various topics, ideas, and speakers to feature at our 2020 Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference. The topics and speakers rests on the feedback and guidance of our Convening Panel and from the input from our readers and engaged stakeholders.  So, if you have suggestions for content at this year’s conference, now’s a good time to let me know.

This year’s event isn’t until after the holiday season on February 4th, but you can put a hold on your calendar now. Early Bird pricing for registration is still open until December 6. So, if you know you want to join about 350 of your closest friends in Texas health care, you can save a few bucks and get signed up now!

3. Medicaid Director Stephanie Muth to leave state

Late last week, Texas State Medicaid Director Stephanie Muth announced that she would be stepping down from her position in the agency. Muth began her career in Texas government nearly 20 years ago as a legislative aide in the Texas House of Representatives. Since then, she has held many positions in the Medicaid and health care space, including most recently as deputy executive commissioner for transformation.

In a Linkedin statement explaining her departure Muth said, “I’ve spent over 20 years in Texas government and it’s been an amazing journey. I’ve been able to touch the lives of Texans in many ways, but what has had the greatest impact on me, is the people I have met along the way.  Each day I am overwhelmed by the commitment to public service and the passion that my team demonstrates.”

4. Video: W. Stephen Love, DFWHC

Stephen Love is the President and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council, and one of the most active advocates in Texas health care. Love hosts a number of informative webinars each month, and has participated in several State of Reform conferences over the years. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss trauma funding.

“Texas is blessed to have the trauma system it has and unfortunately part of that funding comes through a program that’s funded through the Driver Responsibility Act. There are many people that want to repeal the Driver Responsibility Act because there are some administrative problems with it, but our concern is if it’s repealed where will the funding come from to help support trauma funding?”


5. Expanded cancer research passes at ballot

A notable health care question on the 2019 ballot passed yesterday with strong support.  Voters approved Prop. 6 with 63%, which doubled the bond capacity of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) from $3bn to $6bn. Before this passage, Texas was already the second largest public funder of cancer research in the country behind the National Cancer Institute.

From the Dallas Morning News: “CPRIT funding has supported more than 100 clinical trials, lured about a dozen companies to the state, and laid the groundwork for billions of dollars in follow-on investing. CPRIT is the reason about 170 cancer researchers and their labs are in the state, including James Allison at MD Anderson Cancer Center who won the 2018 Nobel Prize.”