Oct 3

Topgolf with HAHU's Vanguard Council

Join HAHU’s Vanguard Council for breakfast at Topgolf, 9:00AM on Tuesday, October 3rd.

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Jan 30

Political Action - State Level

"Day at the Capitol"

April 1, 2015 Summary

TAHU’s Annual Day at the Capitol was outstanding.  Our Association had 11 members to attend:  Dirk Blankenship, Jo Middleton, Marty Budinsky, Michael Rivera, Michael Ledgerwood, Jo Ann Ross, Scott Long, Beckie Stockstill, Stacy Merritt, Siboney Toth, and Rand Wall.  With our efforts, 20 visits were made to our Texas Senators and Representatives.  When we take the effort as voters and industry leaders to voice our concerns and preferences, our elected officials listen.  They need and appreciate our input.

Our topics were:

  •          Telemedicine – These services have been successfully provided to Texans for many years but are being threatened by a change recommended by the Texas Medical Board which regulates physicians.  A proposed TMB rule would require an initial face-to-face evaluation of a patient by a doctor before any telemedicine service could be provided.  Consumers will have to pay more and suffer significantly greater hassle to get care for minor and preventative care.  This increases the possibility that people will delay getting treatment, resulting in more visits to the emergency room or to the doctor when the condition worsens.  There are more people insured than ever.  Why would we limit access to health care now?

o     SB 1177 by Sen. Kevin Eltife / HB 3444 by Rep. Jodie Laubenberg:  These good bills assure a technology-neutral definition of “telemedicine” exists which will enhance consumers receiving timely, accurate medical attention.  The bills also have explicit language that will prevent any state agency from implementing a face-to-face requirement. 

o    HB 2172 by Rep. John Smithee:  This bill updates current statutory requirements about telemedicine and requirements that must be met in order for telemedicine services to be provided.  Importantly HB 2172 specifies that a telemedicine provider may establish a physician-patient relationship initially through a telemedicine encounter.

  •          Out of Network Balance Bills for Emergency Treatment – This has been a headache for consumers for many years but two good bills have been filed that should end this abuse.

o    HB 1638 by Rep. John Smithee / SB 1562 by Sen. Larry Taylor:  These identical bills are backed by consumer and patient groups and should stop balance billing in emergencies.  These bills will end intractable billing disputes for consumers who have had an emergency and received care for it.

  •          Mediation of Disputed Balance Bills – Existing law requires mediation if requested by a provider or an enrollee to resolve disputed amounts after cost-sharing that are more than $1000.  This has resulted in many bills mysteriously showing up just under the threshold amount.

o    HB 3133 by Rep. John Smithee / SB 481 by Sen. Hancock:  These bills remove that artificial threshold and will require mediation for any amount after cost-sharing has been met.

I truly feel that HAHU members were heard by our Elected Officials on April 1, 2015.  

www.texaspolicy.com/center/health-care/reports/submitted-testimony-sunset-review-commission

Links to:  

TAHU                     www.tahu.org

TAHU PAC            www.tahupac.org

TDI TEXAS