The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services will hold a stakeholder meeting on Wednesday, March 6, from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. in the John H. Winters Human Services Complex Public Hearing Room (Room 125), 701 W. 51st. St., Austin, Texas.
The meeting is to solicit stakeholder input regarding Senate Bill 7 (83rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2013) relating to improving the delivery and quality of certain health and human services.
To listen to the meeting, please dial (877) 226-9790, followed by the access code 3189773. Callers will be able to submit questions during the hearing to the following email: SB7@dads.state.tx.us.
Senate Bill 7
The Senate Health and Human Services Committee took up Senate Bill 7 on Tuesday, February 27. In the next 90 days, the Texas Legislature will decide the extent to which it will move both medical and long term services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into managed care.
Participants, families and stakeholders packed the Senate Chamber Tuesday to be heard on the bill. Senator Nelson, the bill’s author, laid out the bill, allowed invited and resource testimony that included Lex Frieden, Director of the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston and former Chairman of the National Council on Disability; Bob Kafka long time community organizer with ADAPT; and the executive directors from the Texas Conservative Coalition and the Texas Association of Business. There was no invited testimony from stakeholders from the current IDD system.
Because of the broad confusion about the intent and implication of SB 7, in a rare move, the bill was then left pending so that agency and legislative staff could field questions about the affect and intent of the original bill and the 55 page committee substitute. The Q&A session was the first substantive discussion of the proposal since the bill’s introduction in November. Families questioned the exclusion of State Supported Living Centers from the proposal to redesign the long term services and supports system for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, especially because other institutions were specifically included in the managed care system outlined in the bill. Some disability advocates expressed that opposition to the proposal perpetuates silos based on labels. Many families voiced concerns that transferring acute medical services to managed care insurance companies would reduce access to health services because their physicians have expressed their refusal to participate in a managed care system. For many families, their current access to specialists is their most valued resource and some believe that the managed care proposal threatens the health and safety of their loved ones.
After the Q&A session, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard four hours of public testimony in which people told their personal stories about how their services have improved their current circumstances and provided security for their future. Some provided testimony about managed care complications including communication breakdowns and access failures.
Senator Nelson left SB 7 pending Tuesday and instructed DADS staff to hold an additional stakeholder forum now scheduled on Wednesday, March 6, from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. at the Winters Building to ensure that stakeholders have adequate opportunity to understand the proposal and provide input.
Senator Nelson convened the Senate HHS Committee again Wednesday, February 27, 2013, upon adjournment of the Senate and the committee substitute (CSSB 7) was passed unanimously by the Committee.
For more information on SB 7, read Understand and Follow the Progress of Senate Bill 7 Relating to Managed Care for People with I/DD on The Arc of Texas website.