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Gains on Uninsured, Reducing Shortages of Nurses/Physicians, Health Care Funding Among Session's Successes
Date:6/2/2009

another bill to help small employers. "Sen. Robert Duncan's legislation creates the Healthy Texas Program, which provides a reinsurance mechanism for qualifying small employers. Based on the experience of other states, this program is estimated to reduce insurance premiums by about 30 percent for participating employers," Stultz explained. The budget includes $35 million for the biennium to implement the program.

"Sen. Dan Patrick and Rep. Fred Brown passed legislation that will ensure that large universities offer health care coverage to students and accept private insurance for care they provide."

Nursing Education

"In 2008, Texas nursing schools turned away some 8,000 qualified applicants due primarily to a lack of faculty. The Legislature made $30 million in new upfront funding available so nursing schools can increase their enrollment this fall, and all schools producing graduates to become registered nurses are eligible to participate," Stultz said. The new funds are in addition to $14.7 million in the base budget to increase nursing school funds following enrollment growth, plus $5 million for a new simulation lab at The University of Texas at Arlington.

Physician Issues

"Sen. Duncan, Rep. Garnet Coleman and a number of legislators representing rural hospitals led efforts to allow rural hospitals to employ physicians, which will make it easier to recruit doctors to remote areas of the state," Stultz said. The measure -- along with a bill by Sen. Royce West regarding physician employment by the Dallas County Hospital District -- was added to a county services bill by Rep. Coleman; the final bill allows the Dallas County Hospital District and hospitals in counties with a population of 50,000 or less and operated by a governmental entity, such as a county hospital or hospital district, to employ physicians. "The bill contains important pro
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SOURCE Texas Hospital Association
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