The Weekly Insight: March 26
Texas Insight’s Recent Reports
- Trauma-Informed Care in Texas: Building on recent postings’ themes of the health and social impacts of economic disparities and abuse, this is the first posting in a new series on trauma-informed care and its use and promise in Texas. Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing event, differing from common life stressors in that trauma causes a sense of intense fear, terror and helplessness that is beyond the normal range for typical experiences. Trauma-informed care programs are those that incorporate knowledge of the impact of trauma and traumatic stress into policies and programs of systems of care, such as the child welfare system, schools, and the healthcare system.
- Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services: Part I: The Senate Health and Human Services Committee met to address several charges. This report covers the following: Evaluate the commission’s efforts to ensure Medicaid managed care organizations’ compliance with contractual obligations and the use of incentives and sanctions to enforce compliance. Assess the commission’s progress in implementing competitive bidding practices for Medicaid managed care contracts and other initiatives to ensure the best value for taxpayer dollars used in Medicaid managed care contracts.
- Texas Senate Health and Human Services: Part II: The Senate Health and Human Services Committee met to address several charges. This report covers the following: Review the Health and Human Services Commission’s efforts to improve quality and efficiency in the Medicaid program, including pay-for-quality initiatives in Medicaid managed care. Compare alternative payment models and value-based payment arrangements with providers in Medicaid managed care, the Employees Retirement System, and the Teacher Retirement System, and identify areas for cross-collaboration and coordination among these entities.
Federal Healthcare Reports
- Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs Funding for FY2016 and FY2017: Members of Congress are frequently lobbied to support adding funding to annual defense appropriation legislation for certain congressional special-interest medical research programs on a wide variety of diseases and topics. When meeting with representatives of various organizations, Members frequently wish to know previously enacted levels for such funding under the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).
- Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018: Brief Summary of Division E – The Advancing Chronic Care, Extenders, and Social Services (ACCESS) Act: This report provides a brief summary of each of the provisions included in the ACCESS Act, along with the contact information for the CRS expert who can answer questions about each provision.
- The National Health Service Corps: This report provides an overview of the National Health Service Corps, including the program’s funding, the number and types of providers the program supports, and the locations where they serve.
State Healthcare News
- Chair Schwertner calls for more changes to Medicaid contracts: Medicaid’s transition from fee-for-service to managed care is now all but complete and Chairman Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, intends to focus next session on bigger service areas, fewer providers and possibly competitive bidding.
- Texas children’s therapy providers face dilemma over offering services: Ahead of a Texas House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday to discuss Medicaid therapy rate cuts and the state’s Early Childhood Intervention program, some providers are considering ending services due to financial struggles.
- Report: Drugs or alcohol factor into half of Texas child abuse and neglect deaths: The number of Texas children dying from abuse and neglect decreased by 22.5 percent in fiscal year 2017, according to a state report, but drug and alcohol use among caregivers is still leading to deaths from trauma, accidental smothering while sleeping and auto accidents, among other causes.
Federal Healthcare News
- Healthcare tops list of Americans’ worries: poll: A majority of Americans say issues surrounding healthcare is a top concern for them, according to a new Gallup poll. Fifty-five percent of those polled said they worry “a great deal” about the cost and availability of healthcare in the U.S., while 23 percent said they worry about the issue “a fair amount.”
- HHS strips lesbian, bisexual health content from women’s health website: A webpage devoted to lesbian and bisexual health, links to LGBT topics and other references were removed between September and October 2017 from WomensHealth.gov, a website maintained by HHS’ Office on Women’s Health. The removals were tracked in a pair of reports by the Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project and shared with POLITICO.
- Trump administration taps AIDS researcher to lead CDC: The Trump administration will appoint prominent HIV/AIDS researcher Robert Redfield to lead the CDC, administration officials announced Wednesday amid new scrutiny of controversies surrounding his earlier research and views.
- Transgender Workers Gain New Protection Under Court Ruling: Federal judges say that employers cannot legally discriminate against employees transitioning from one sex to another.
- Trump Approves New Limits on Transgender Troops in the Military: The directive essentially bans service members from identifying as transgender, but it also largely gives the Pentagon the ability to make exceptions.
- House Passes Bill that Would Give Patients Access to Experimental Drugs: Supporters of the “right to try” bill said it would give dying patients a chance to obtain potentially helpful prescription drugs without waiting for the completion of clinical trials.
- More Cases are Reported of Unusual Cancer Linked to Breast Implants: women with breast implants have an increased risk of a type of lymphoma that can usually be cured by surgery alone – but not always.
- Getting Sick Can be Really Expensive, Even for the Insured: beyond medical costs, a trip to the hospital can mean a permanent reduction in income for many Americans, new research shows.
- Birth Control Apps Find a Big Market in ‘Contraception Deserts’: Women using these services in cities say they like the speed and no-hassle privacy they get by making a purchase through the app.
- More States Move to End ‘Tampon Tax’ That’s Seen as Discriminating Against Women: ChapStick, Viagra and dandruff shampoo. These are just three of the thousands of health and personal care items that are exempt from sales tax in many U.S. states. Notably missing from that list: menstrual products.