AUSTIN –The House Committee on Human Services, led by Representative Richard Peña Raymond (Laredo), will conduct a comprehensive review of programs administered by the Health & Human Services Commission as part of interim assignments announced yesterday by the House Speaker. Key measures to be reviewed include: improving services and health security to children within the foster care system, review state services and programs available to aging Texans and study the Medicaid managed care system to identify ways to increase transparency, accountability and efficiency.
The Texas’s House standing committees were tasked with formulating recommendations on education, health care, the economy, transportation and other important issues in preparation for the 2017 legislative session. As chair of the Human Services committee, Rep. Raymond will play a key role in developing plans to confront the issues outlined in the House Human Services Committee's interim charges.
House Speaker Straus stated, "The Human Services committee is going to look at some very serious issues that affect millions of Texans, including children. I especially hope that the committee will take an extensive look at ways to continue improving care for children in our foster care system. I have confidence in Chairman Raymond and his committee to provide some very meaningful recommendations on the issues before them."
Rep. Raymond along with his nine member committee have oversight over the HHSC system which is currently comprised of five agencies: HHSC, Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), and the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
"I'm looking forward to having hearings on the managed care system in Texas, our foster care system and adoption process and fully going over every one of the Speaker's Interim Charges," stated Chairman Raymond.
Rep. Raymond will also participate in studies of the state’s judicial courts, the Office of the Attorney General, and all civil court matters as a member of the House committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence.
The Interim Charges for the House Human Services Committee:
1. Study the ten year anticipated growth, the geographic distribution, and the projected economic impact of aging Texans. Review state services and programs available to seniors, including independent living services, and determine the capacity and effectiveness of the programs. Determine if Texas is prepared for the increased demands of aging Texans.
2. Investigate the operation and regulation, including a review of standards, monitoring, and enforcement, of boarding homes in municipalities and unincorporated areas of counties. Identify communities that have adopted local standards, and review procedures for investigating and closing unlicensed facilities that are providing services which require state licensure. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Urban Affairs)
3. Examine the Department of Family and Protective Services’ policies and procedures, including prevention measures and resources, dedicated to eliminating child abuse and fatalities within the foster care system; explore ideas and strategies to increase the number of foster families and improve the delivery of services to children with high needs; review adoption policies, including disruptions, and make recommendations for possible improvements. Also, monitor and assess the continuation of foster care redesign.
4. Review the Health and Human Services Commission’s Medicaid managed care organizations policies and procedures including a review of quality initiatives. Study contract management and assess the Vendor Drug Program drug formularies and current function. Identify the savings achieved by moving Medicaid into managed care. Determine what mechanisms or policies could be modified or strengthened to encourage increased participation or retention of health care providers in the Medicaid managed care system.
5. Study and evaluate the practice of youth being recruited into human trafficking. Specifically, evaluate the scope of the pipeline of potential victims from foster care, including methods and means used to lure youth into trafficking. Evaluate the types of services that are available to support children and youth in the conservatorship of DFPS who are victims of human trafficking. Make necessary recommendations to assist DFPS in identifying, recovering, serving, or caring for children and youth who are victims of human trafficking prior to placement in foster care. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Juvenile Justice & Family Issues)
6. Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 84th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee should:
a. consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens;
b. identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate;
c. determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and
d. identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs.
Representative Richard Peña Raymond represents District 42, which is entirely in the city of Laredo. He is Chairman of the House Human Services Committee and a member of the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee. Before becoming Chair of the Human Services Committee, he served several terms on the Appropriations Committee, including as Vice Chairman.
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