The Texas Institute for Health Care Quality and Efficiency Draft Report is posted for public comment.
You only have a day and a half to comment, since the next meeting of our Board of Directors is Thursday, November 15th. All comments should be sent by 1 PM on Wednesday, November 14th.
Instructions on submitting your comments are here.
Now, for a few comments on my observations as a Board member:
Believe it or not, the time frame from the passage of the legislation in SB 7 last June, 2011, to today and in anticipation of preparing for legislation beginning in January, 2013, is too tight. The Institute’s staff and coordinators did a good job of herding cats in the Board. In addition, the Board members worked hard to make all the meetings, to participate, and to contribute. We have met at least once a month, sometimes more than twice, since our appointment. The Board isn’t paid or even reimbursed for expenses by the State, and many gave up work in order to attend meetings far from their homes.
I haven’t commented on the draft until now, because the Board received our first full copy for review and comment on November 2, and comments were due by 5 PM, Election Day, November 6th. We’re all appointed by the Governor — it stands to reason that a few of us would be actively involved in the election and campaigns. I didn’t even open the email until Nov. 7.
I’m not happy with the length of the report, but I guess the nuances of our discussions over the last few months needed to be documented somewhere. Go to the page 34 in the pdf, numbered “26” in the Draft, for the actual recommendations made by vote in the Board meetings.
Finally, my main concern has been with the bureaucracy and regulation that the members of the Board have sometimes appeared to support. In the end, I believe that we have limited recommendations for regulation and “hassle factors” more than some would like. My hope is that the Legislature will decide to focus initially on implementing any new measures in our own State health plans and not interfere directly in private health care practice and systems, except where and when the State foots the bill.
Since President Obama won reelection, I believe that the ability of the 83rd Texas Legislature to adapt and react to Federal Regulations – Obamacare – will be improved by the work of the Institute.