Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 2700
By: Chavez
Public Health
Committee Report (Substituted)


Texas faces unique challenges within its health care system.  Texas has
experienced a large population increase in the last decade, including an
increase in the Hispanic population.  Rural border areas are typical
medically underserved and tend to have lower Medicaid reimbursement rates.
C.S.H.B. 2700 requires the Health and Human Services Commission to
establish telemedicine pilot programs in such areas to enhance health care
services and provides for reimbursement and regulation of telemedicine


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


C.S.H.B. 2700 amends the Government Code to require the Health and Human
Services Commission (HHSC) to establish pilot programs in designated areas
under which HHSC, in administering governmentfunded health programs, may
reimburse a health care professional participating in the pilot program for
telemedicine medical services.  The bill provides that each pilot program
established before January 1, 2003, must be operated in areas that are not
more than 150 miles from the Texas-Mexico border.  In developing and
operating a pilot program, the bill requires HHSC to: 

_solicit and obtain support for the program from local officials and the
medical community; 

_focus on enhancing health outcomes in the area served by the pilot program
 increased access to medical services;

_establish quantifiable measures and expected health outcomes for each
authorized telemedicine medical service; 

_consider condition-specific applications of telemedicine medical services;

_not adversely affect the provision of traditional medical services within
the area served by the pilot program.  

The bill requires the commissioner of health and human services
(commissioner) to establish an advisory committee, not later than December
31, 2001, to assist HHSC in certain telemedicine-related issues.  The bill
sets forth provisions for the composition of the advisory committee, and
provides that members of the advisory committee serve at the will of the
commissioner.  The bill requires the advisory committee to prepare a
report, not later than September 1, 2003, relating to the implementation of
the pilot programs, and provide the report to the governor, lieutenant
governor, speaker of the house of representatives, and appropriate standing
committees of the senate and house. 
The bill repeals law requiring the commissioner to establish an advisory
committee to assist HHSC in  developing policies for reimbursement for
telemedical consultations, and abolishes the existing advisory committee on
the effective date of this Act. 

H.B. 2700 amends the Utilities Code to set forth that a health care
facility providing telemedicine medical services and participating in a
pilot program is eligible to receive a grant from the telecommunications
infrastructure fund grant and loan program. 


On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act
takes effect September 1, 2001. 


C.S.H.B. 2700 differs from the original bill by specifying law is being
repealed from the Government Code in SECTION 3.