Texas HHS reveals inaugural ‘Blueprint for Healthy Texas’

On Wednesday, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled its inaugural “Blueprint for Healthy Texas” plan. The blueprint is used as a guideline for HHS to prioritize health care goals for the upcoming fiscal year, and will be released annually from here on. 

“This plan reflects our deep commitment to greater transparency, efficiency and accountability to the people we serve and other vital stakeholders.  Whether it is increasing the number of women accessing prenatal care, making child care safer or reducing call wait times to access services, this plan details our efforts to continually improve, as well as the concrete measures we will use to hold ourselves accountable along the way,” Texas HHS Executive Commissioner Dr. Courtney N. Phillips said in a press release.

The plan includes 12 initiatives and 72 goals to guide both HHS and the Department of State Health Services in improving workplace culture, customer service, and overall operations. 

The blueprint lists a number of deliverables with deadlines that extend to August 2020. Many of these deliverables include amending recommendations, and expanding services in the behavioral health sector. 

 

Get the latest state-specific policy intelligence for the health care sector delivered to your inbox.

 

One key initiative focuses on behavioral health. HHS seeks to increase outpatient mental health service capacity by 3.4 percent, increase coordinated specialty care service capacity by 39 percent, increase residential treatment center (RTC) services by 61 percent for children and adolescents, and expand and coordinate care for pregnant women, postpartum women, and women with dependent children.  

A second initiative focuses on increasing positive outcomes and independence for people with disabilities. HHS will develop a disability services action plan. The plan seeks to improve timely delivery of services, address workforce issues, and leverage local partnerships to improve independence. 

“While some immediate changes can improve service delivery, we must take a comprehensive approach to meet the long-term needs of people with disabilities and ensure they can live as independently as possible in the setting of their choice,” the blueprint explains. 

This legislative session, Medicaid managed care was center stage in health care discussions. As a result, another key initiative in the blueprint will focus on this population. 

Goals include increasing ease and access to care, ensuring that members receive appropriate and timely care, strengthening the oversight of MCOs, and strengthening fair hearings processes. 

“Based on partner feedback, legislative direction and internal review, HHS is focusing on four overarching goals in FY 2020 to improve Medicaid managed care service oversight and quality. Partner engagement is essential to achieving these goals. We are using advisory committees and partner workgroups to inform these efforts and develop ideas to improve MCO oversight.”

Women and children are a center focus in many initiatives in the blueprint.  

“HHS is working to improve health outcomes for women, mothers and children by enhancing access to long-acting reversible contraception, increasing prenatal and well-child visits, and addressing disparities in breastfeeding and breast cancer.” 

Other initiatives focus on: regulatory health and safety; services and supports; advocacy for people in long-term care; supplemental and directed payment programs; HHS workplace culture and recruitment, procurement and contracting; quality control; and technology and innovation.

The goals outlined in this blueprint will be reported on in the 2021 blueprint, and additional goals will also be outlined. 

“….it sets forth strategies for how agency divisions will accomplish each initiative’s respective goals. Next year’s plan will report how HHS measured on all FY 2020 initiatives and will include goals for FY 2021 and beyond.”