Editorial

09 January 2018

Critical Dollars for Texas Hospitals

Happy New Year to all! The holiday season has wrapped up, it’s back to work, and everyone’s regular routines are taking over. As 2018 is just a few days old, there’s no reason to think that it won’t be another prosperous year for Texans. On that note, I’d like to share some exciting news for healthcare in this update from your Capitol in Austin. . .

Critical Dollars for Texas Hospitals

Over the holiday season, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a division of the United States Department of Health & Human Services, informed the State of Texas that it would be extending the Texas Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement Program (Section 1115 Waiver) through September of 2022. The waiver, which was set to expire on January 1st, provides federal match funding for an array of medical services.

The 1115 Waiver, which many healthcare providers in East Texas take advantage of, helps hospitals draw down dollars to pay for a portion of charity and uncompensated care. As many hospitals, especially in rural areas, are threatened with closure, this extra funding is crucial to keeping the lights on and the doors open. There is arguably no greater need across Texas than access to quality healthcare options, and I am happy to see the federal government and the State of Texas working together to accomplish this goal.

During my time in the Legislature I have supported measures which would increase access to healthcare in rural areas, including how counties can take advantage of the 1115 Waiver. In the most recent session I authored House Bill 2995, with a fellow East Texas legislator. The bill, which passed both chambers and was signed into law by Governor Abbott, ensured that areas of our state could have access to available federal dollars which they otherwise would not have been eligible. I’m proud of this accomplishment and will continue to fight for rural Texans to have the same opportunities as our urban counterparts.

Reminders

The mobile office is on the road for the month of January and looks forward to seeing you in the following locations, on the following dates: January 17th at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett from 9:00-11:00am and the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton from 1:30-3:30pm; and January 24th at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine from 9:00-11:00am.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.

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