Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Last Thursday the budget conference committee voted to approve a final cost-containment provision for the FY 2016-2017 state budget. The cost containment language directs Texas Health and Human Services Commission to reduce spending on acute care therapy by $75 million in general revenues in 2016 ($50M from rates and $25M through policy changes) and at least $75 million in general revenues in 2017 (through rates with the continued savings from policy changes). If the $25 million in policy savings are not achieved the first year, HHSC can make up the difference in additional rate reductions in 2017 for a total of $150 million in cuts over the biennium – 25% reduction to the program.
What can your legislator do?  They are YOUR VOICE in government and should REPRESENT YOU by communicating the devastating consequences of this decision to budget leaders. House Finance Chairman John Otto and Senate Finance Chairwoman Jane Nelson have the ability to mitigate the damage. Your legislators must insist that they do so!
The budget bill will need a vote on the House floor before it can go to the Governor for signature. Your legislators can approach the microphone and share your concerns publically. This is especially important because there have been no public hearings on this issue, in complete disregard for open government and transparency. While TAHC&H did everything we could to inject reason, context, and good data to these private conversations, budget conferees proceeded with only a very slightly modified proposal from the original and egregious Senate proposal.
CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS IMMEDIATELY and tell them that a $150 million cut to therapy programs in HB 1 (budget bill) is wrong for Texas and will severely threaten access to care! Let them know how these cuts will affect your ability to serve Medicaid clients if the program is reduced so drastically. Tell them about specific children being served in their district and how rate cuts will impact those patients.
TAHC&H will continue to fight these cuts and work with HHSC and legislators on behalf of therapy services (see press release). Because the budget legislation must still be passed by the House and Senate, over the next few days it is imperative that TAHC&H members call and visit your legislators to impart the seriousness of this situation. If you are aware of therapy companies in your area that are not members, please feel free to share this information with them as this impacts ALL therapy!