5 Things Texas: Update from HHSC, The future of Texas Medicaid, Plan-provider relationships


Eli Kirshbaum


We are looking forward to seeing many of you next week at our 2021 North Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference! Our audience of about 250 folks from across the spectrum of Texas health care will again be virtual this year. So, while you can’t join us at the Irving Convention Center, you can join us in your pajamas from your home office..!

So, we thought we’d highlight for you a few of the key sessions you’ll see on the agenda on October 30th. It’s the kind of diverse crowd of senior health care executives and health policy leaders that you have come to expect of us a State of Reform. And, we’d be honored to have you with us.





With help from Eli Kirshbaum

1. Afternoon Keynote: Texas legislative leaders

We’re thrilled to host two prominent health policy leaders during our Afternoon Keynote at the 2021 North Texas State of Reform Health Policy Conference on September 30. Sen. Kelly Hancock and Rep. Donna Howard will join me for a discussion on their experience with health policymaking during this unprecedented year in the legislature.

Hancock has been called “the go-to man in the Texas Senate” by Gov. Abbott and serves as Chair of the Veterans Affairs & Border Security Committee. He is a champion of conservative fiscal policy in the legislature. Howard, a former nurse, sits on the Article II Appropriations Committee, which oversees budget funding for state health services. She is Chair of the Texas Women’s Health Caucus and is a strong advocate for women’s health. So, expect a smart, thoughtful conversation in two weeks.

2. Third special session is around the corner

Texas’s third special session will begin Sept. 20. With a quorum restored in the most recent session, Republicans passed some of their biggest legislative priorities including additional abortion regulation and their controversial “election integrity” bill. Abbott’s agenda for the upcoming session includes allocating ARPA funds and passing a bill to prohibit vaccine mandates.

These and other significant health policy developments will be discussed during our “Capitol insiders discuss the 2021 legislature” panel at the conference on the 30th. We’ll hear from Tom Banning, CEO of the the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, Chad Cantella, Principal at Texas Star Alliance, and Gregg Knaupe, lobbyist and lawyer at Knaupe Government Relations.


3. Update from HHSC

We are honored to have HHSC Executive Commissioner Cecile Young kick off our conference with a Morning Keynote address at 8:45 AM. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from Young about issues related to her agency’s work to combat COVID-19 and an update on the state’s Medicaid 1115 Waiver.

Later, we’ll hear more from the commission during our “Update from HHSC” panel. It will feature Deputy Executive Commissioners Sonja Gaines and Stephanie Stephens, as well as CFO Trey Wood. Gaines oversees IDD and BH Services and Stephens leads Medicaid and CHIP. Bring your questions to what will be a particularly forward-looking session.


4. The future of Texas Medicaid

Texas recently accepted CMS’s offer to extend its DSRIP, UHRIP, and QIPP programs for another year while the future of the state’s Medicaid 1115 waiver continues to be deliberated. CMS is still in the process of reviewing Texas’s recent extension application, and litigation between Attorney General Paxton and the federal government concerning CMS’s repeal of the state’s previous waiver extension remains ongoing.

A group of subject matter experts will discuss Medicaid’s uncertain future at our “What now for the future of Medicaid in Texas?” panel. Anne Dunkelberg, Associate Director at Every Texan, Sen. Nathan Johnson, Vice Chair of the Senate Administration Committee, and Stephen Palmer, Principal at Health Management Associates, make up a panel that is as well informed on Medicaid policy as any you’ll find in the state.

5. The changing nature of plan-provider relationships

How has COVID-19 changed the relationship between those who provide care and those who pay for it? Hear from leaders in this space about the conversations taking place to reform this relationship at our 10:30 AM “The changing nature of plan-provider relations” panel.

Register here to attend an informative dialogue between Dan Crowe, MD, Managing Principal at Health Management Associates, John Wendling, CEO of Parkland Community Health Plan, and Adam Bruggeman, MD, Owner of the Texas Spine Care Center.