The Weekly Insight: February 5
Texas Insight Reports
- Texas Gun Violence as a Public Health Issue Part II: This is the second posting in the TI series on gun violence framed as a public health issue. This posting will summarize current firearm policies in the state, laying the groundwork for subsequent postings on the public health approach to gun violence in Texas.
- HHSC: Intellectual and Developmental Disability System Redesign Advisory Committee: The Intellectual and Developmental Disability System Redesign Advisory Committee gathered for their quarterly meeting. Created by Senate Bill (SB) 7 of the 83rd Texas Legislature (Regular Session), [the Committee] will advise HHSC and the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) on the implementation of the acute care services and long-term services and supports (LTSS) system redesign for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Federal Healthcare Policy Reports
- Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education: FY2018 Appropriations
This report offers an overview of actions taken by Congress and the President to provide FY2018 appropriations for accounts funded by the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations bill.
- Taxes and Fees Enacted as Part of the Affordable Care Act
Background and Provisions: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains a number of tax provisions that serve different purposes. Some of the more well-known provisions, such as the individual mandate and employer penalty, have revenue and budgetary effects but are primarily intended to encourage health insurance coverage. The focus of this product is a number of other taxes and fees enacted as part of the ACA that primarily serve to raise revenue.
- DNA Testing in Criminal Justice: Background, Current Law, and Grants: This report provides an overview of how DNA is used to investigate crimes and help protect the innocent. It also reviews current statutory law on collecting DNA samples, sharing DNA profiles generated from those samples, and providing access to post-conviction DNA testing. The report also includes a summary of grant programs authorized by Congress to assist state and local governments with reducing DNA backlogs, provide post-conviction DNA testing, and promote new technology in the field.
Texas Healthcare News
- Medical cannabis dispensaries are opening in Texas, but the newly legal oils still aren’t easy to procure: The state has approved three dispensaries to provide cannabis oil to seizure patients. But with only 17 doctors able to prescribe it, the oils still can be tough to secure.
- Harvey, budget intertwined as Texas awaits federal disaster aid: Texas House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. John Zerwas, R-Richmond, told health care leaders and advocates this afternoon he had no doubt Hurricane Harveyrelief would require Rainy Day Fund But it would not require returning lawmakers to Austin for a special session, he said.
- Speaker Straus calls for hearings on HHSC audit of Medicaid provider: Texas HouseSpeaker Joe Straus is calling for legislative hearings to account for the Health and Human Services Commission allowing a managed care provider to net $30 million in incentives and bonuses.
- Health agency leader: “We welcome” audits into contracting issues: Texas Health and Human Services executive commissioner Charles Smith said during a speech Thursday that his agency is working to improve how it handles contracts.
Federal Healthcare News
- U.S. Pays Billions for ‘Assisted Living,’ but What Does It Get?
Federal investigators say they have found huge gaps in the regulation of assisted living facilities, a shortfall that they say has potentially jeopardized the care of hundreds of thousands of people served by the booming industry.
- In the U.S. Virgin Islands, Health Care Remains in a Critical State
Health care in the U.S. Virgin Islands remains in a critical state, five months after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria pummeled the region. The only hospital on St. Thomas, the Schneider Regional Medical Center, serves some 55,000 residents between the islands of St. Thomas and St. John. Schneider’s facilities suffered major structural damage, forcing a decrease in its range of services, mass transfers of its patients, staff departures and significant losses in revenue. Only about one-third of the beds are currently available for patient care.
- Flu Patients Arrive in Droves, and a Hospital Rolls out the ‘Surge Tent’
The worst flu season in nearly a decade has filled emergency rooms and strained resources at medical centers. Hospitalization and infection rates are among the highest in two decades.
- Director of Veterans Hospital Accused of Manipulating Ratings is Replaced
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced on Thursday it would replace the director of its medical center in Roseburg, Ore., Douglas Paxton. He had come under fire in recent weeks for limiting the number of patients the center admitted in an effort to improve its dismal performance rating, according to doctors at the hospital.
- Trump’s top health official traded tobacco stock while leading anti-smoking efforts
The Trump administration’s top public health official bought shares in a tobacco company one month into her leadership of the agency charged with reducing tobacco use — the leading cause of preventable disease and death and an issue she had long championed.
- Senate defeats Trump-backed 20-week abortion ban: The Senate on Monday blocked a bill, backed by President Donald Trump, to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.