FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/18/2015
SUNSET CHAIR, VICE CHAIR PURSUE GRADUATED APPROACH TO HHSC REFORMS
"I strongly support our Sunset decisions, but in light of recent events I propose that we implement these reforms over an extended timeline. This allows us more time to monitor the reorganization over the next two sessions," said Senator Jane Nelson, the Commission's Chairman. "Recent problems at the enterprise are symptomatic of a fragmented system that is in dire need of reorganization. We need a cohesive system that is easier for citizens to navigate."
"I concur with Chair Nelson that further reorganization is absolutely essential in order to best deliver vital services that Texans depend on every day. A full year of detailed examination of the current health and human services structure has led me to conclude that the current system could be improved. The Sunset process has revealed that the system has blurred lines of accountability, lacks proper and timely oversight, and is often devoid of strategic coordination. Utilizing a graduated approach for the development of these recommendations is wise so that more time can be devoted to proper implementation," said Representative Four Price, the Commission's Vice Chairman.
The Sunset leaders are developing committee substitutes for SB 200/HB 2304 to:
• Continue the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) for 12 years with a limited-scope Sunset review in 8 years;
• Consolidate the system's administrative functions such as information technology, contracting, legal, audit and rate-setting functions into one Administrative Division at HHSC, in accordance with current law;
• Placing Medicaid programs and client services in a new Medical and Social Services Division at HHSC;
• Moving regulatory functions from three agencies into one Regulatory Division at HHSC;
• Establish a Policy and Performance Office to assist in the re-organization and serve as a "think tank" to promote coordination across the system;
• Abolish and transfer functions of the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services to HHSC in 2016;
• Abolish and transfer functions of the Department of Aging and Disability Services to HHSC in 2016;
• Abolish and transfer functions of the Department of Family and Protective Services, and the Department of State Health Services in 2019;
• Create a Transition Legislative Oversight Committee of 4 Senators appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, 4 Representatives appointed by the Speaker, and 3 public members appointed by the Governor to oversee the transformation.
Megan Hanson, (512) 463-0112
Hal Talton, (512) 463-0470