Where are they now? An update of Texas healthcare legislation
With only three and a half weeks left until the end of session, it is crunch time at the Texas state capitol. We have been tracking several healthcare related bills evolving through the Texas Legislature this session. Here is an update on where the bills are at this point:
Get the latest state-specific policy intelligence for the health care sector delivered to your inbox.
A series of opioid bills have been progressing through the House. You can read our additional coverage of the bills, and the goals of each, here. HB 2454, 2811, 2174 and 1710 have passed favorably through committee and are advancing for additional consideration, both in the opposite chamber and on the floor. Other bills in the series, like HB 1866,have been slow-moving, and there are currently no additional actions on record. This is where each of the bills stand, procedurally, as of today:
HB 2454: The bill requires that a medical professional complete a mandatory two hours of continuing education on management and opioid use in order to renew their medical license. The bill was heard in the House Public Health Committee in mid-March, and was placed on the General State Calendar for consideration on 4/29.
HB 2811: The bill adds a new section on acute pain treatment, which outlines new procedures for prescribing opioids. The bill was heard in the House Public Health Committee on March 20. During a formal hearing of the bill, one amendment was made by Representative Price that inserted language into the bill detailing the role of regulatory agencies defining guidelines for prescription use. The bill was passed engrossed, as amended, on 4/20. The bill is now headed to the Senate for consideration.
HB 2174: This piece of legislation was recommended by the attorney general. It includes many of the the requirements found in HB 2811, and 2454, but also provides guidelines for electronic prescribing requirements and several educational and prescription limitation requirements. The bill successfully passed through the House on third readings, and was referred to the Senate Health and Human Services committee on 4/29. The bill should be heard in the committee this week or next.
HB 1710: Creates new guidelines for discussing the risks of prescription opioid use with patients. The bill passed third readings of the House in mid-April. The Senate received the bill on April 16th, and it was referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 4/26. The hearing will be in the coming weeks.
HB 1866: When dealing with acute pain, the bill would limit the use of opioids for pain management to seven days or less. The patient would also undergo an extensive review of their medical history. The bill was heard in the House, and the committee report has been sent to the general calendar for recording. There have been no additional hearings scheduled in either chamber.
The Senate has also focused on several maternal health bills this session. You can read more about the context of these pieces of legislation, as well as the details of each, here. Only SB 436 has made significant progress through the legislature this session, having passed through Senate third readings. The other two bills, SB 147 and 307, have not been scheduled for additional actions following committee hearings. This is where each of those bills stands today:
SB 147: The bill would extend medical coverage via Medicaid for 12 months following the birth of a child or a miscarriage. It attempts to address the gap in coverage that currently exists postpartum. This bill was approved for a co-author on February 25, but there has been no action on the bill otherwise.
SB 307: Similar to SB 147, the bill would extend behavioral health services via Medicaid for 12 months following the birth of a child or miscarriage. This piece of legislation also addresses a current gap in coverage. It’s still being considered in the Senate Health and Human Services committee. The last action recorded was in mid-March.
SB 436: The bill requires DSHS to create and implement a series of initiatives that seek to better assist maternal and newborn health for women who are dealing with opioid dependency. It would create additional screenings and referrals. This bill passed successfully through the Senate on third readings. It was scheduled for public hearing and is headed to the House Health and Human Services Committee. It should be available for public testimony in the coming weeks.
Other health care bills to watch
We have also been tracking a series of miscellaneous healthcare bills that cover a range of topics. There is more information about the following bills available here. Several bills, like HB 2041, 1941, and 3388 have been added to the General State Calendar for consideration. Other bills, like SB 21 have been advancing steadily, while HB 1941 remains pending following the committee hearing. This is where each of the following bills is, procedurally, as of today:
HB 2041: The bill strengthens the requirements for freestanding emergency rooms in order to notify patients of the potential of receiving out-of-network care. This is an attempt to prevent surprise billing situations. The bill was heard in committee in April, and was referred favorably. It has been sent to the General State Calendar for consideration.
HB 1941: This bill, like the previous bill, addresses the high costs that often occur at freestanding emergency rooms. It allows the attorney general to take action against facilities that charge 200 percent or more of the average cost of a medical service. The bill was heard in committee in April, and was referred favorably. It has been sent to the General State Calendar for consideration.
HB 2231: Attempts to tighten regulations on pharmacy benefit managers. The bill seeks to create additional consumer protections and would increase oversight. This bill was left pending follow the committee hearing on April 2.
HB 3388: The bill enacts a fee-for-service model for prescription drug benefits. This bill was heard in the House Public Health Committee, and was referred favorably. It has been placed on the General State Calendar for consideration.
SB 21: Raises the minimum age for purchasing cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and tobacco products from 18 to 21. The bill passed through third readings in the Senate successfully, although the vote was a narrow 5-4. The bill was referred to the House Public Health committee without amendments, and the committee report was sent to the calendar last week.