HBA-MPM H.B. 2602 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2602 By: Coleman Public Health 7/11/2001 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE In 1999, the 76th Legislature passed legislation that updated the state Indigent Health Care and Treatment Act of 1985. This legislation shifted the focus of county indigent health care programs to primary and preventive care, and gave counties more flexibility to administer local programs tailored to meet local needs. The legislation lowered the spending threshold that a county must surpass to receive state financial assistance, created a list of optional services a county may provide and receive credit toward its threshold, and allowed counties to use less restrictive eligibility standards. The legislation also increased accountability by allowing providers to collect eligibility information from patients, allowing the Texas Department of Health to resolve eligibility disputes and improve reporting. House Bill 2602 ensures proper implementation of the reforms enacted in 1999 by clarifying various provisions of the Indigent Health Care and Treatment Act. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 2602 amends the Health and Safety and Government codes to update statutory references and make clarifying changes to the Indigent Health Care and Treatment Act. The bill provides that if a county and health care provider or a public hospital and health care provider disagree on a patient's eligibility, they are authorized to submit the matter to the Texas Department of Health (TDH). The bill authorizes rather than requires TDH to adopt rules governing the distribution of state assistance that establish a maximum annual allocation for each county eligible for assistance. The bill specifies that the amount in the tertiary care account that is not held in reserve for reimbursement of unpaid tertiary medical services be allocated as follows: _not more than five percent may be used for the costs of administering the account; _five percent is required to be allocated for the payment of state assistance; and _the remaining amount is required to be allocated to tertiary care facilities and level IV trauma centers for unreimbursed tertiary medical services and stabilization services. The bill provides that minimum eligibility standards for indigent health care must incorporate a net income eligibility level equal to 21 rather than 25 percent of the federal poverty level. EFFECTIVE DATE June 15, 2001. Provisions that modify the Indigent Health Care and Treatment Act take effect September 1, 2001.