Approximately one-third of all trauma patients in Texas are uninsured. As a result, Texas hospitals annually bear more than $230 million in uncompensated trauma care costs. In the last 10 years, uncompensated trauma care has cost Texas hospitals more than $2 billion.
This amount would be even higher without the funds generated by the Driver Responsibility Program. Since 2003, the DRP has collected fines and surcharges from drivers with repeat moving violations and from drivers with DWI convictions. The program is intended to hold irresponsible drivers accountable for causing trauma and to partially offset hospitals’ uncompensated trauma care costs.
These much-needed funds are critical for maintaining a trauma safety net. They have also facilitated the expansion of trauma care and increased access to trauma services throughout the state. Since the inception of the DRP, an additional 77 Texas hospitals have been designated as trauma facilities. This expansion of the trauma network is particularly important to provide access to trauma services in rural areas of the state.
THA and our partners successfully preserved the DRP and its vital trauma care funding, despite the efforts of some lawmakers to repeal the program without identifying another funding source.
THA will continue to educate lawmakers, other stakeholder groups and the public on the importance of the DRP to funding trauma care services in Texas. THA also will work with lawmakers to identify ways to improve the DRP while preserving trauma funding.