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THA Testimony from the 2021 Legislative Special Session


Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021

Steve Wohleb, J.D., general counsel and senior vice president of legal and regulatory compliance for THA, testified Oct. 14 before the Senate Committee on State Affairs against SB 51, relating to COVID-19 vaccination mandates. The legislation requires that any law, policy or other measure requiring an individual in Texas to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter or gain access to, receive a services from, or be employed by an establishment must allow the individual to claim an exemption from the vaccination. The legislation allows an employee who is subject to a violation may bring an action in a district court and a complainant may recover reasonable expenses.


Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021

Steve Wohleb, J.D., general counsel and senior vice president of legal and regulatory compliance for THA, testified Oct. 13 before the House Committee on State Affairs against HB 155, relating to COVID-19 vaccination mandate exemptions. The legislation requires that any law, policy or other measure requiring an individual in Texas to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter or gain access to, receive a services from, or be employed by an establishment must allow the individual to claim an exemption from the vaccination. The legislation allows an employee who is subject to a violation may bring an action in a district court and a complainant may recover reasonable expenses.


Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021

John Hawkins, THA’s senior vice president of government relations, testified Oct. 6 before the House Appropriations Committee on HB 145, relating to making supplemental appropriations and giving direction regarding ARPA appropriations. Like SB 8, the filed version of the bill would appropriate $3 billion to the Department of State Health Services from the state’s ARPA allotment to provide funding for state and local hospital surge staffing; purchasing therapeutic drugs; and providing funding for the operation of regional infusion centers.


Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021

Alberto Gutierrez, M.D., medical director of HOPE Family Health Center and Assistant Medical Director at DHR Health Hospice, represented THA testifying on Oct. 5 before the House Public Health Committee on issues involving access to health care along the Texas-Mexico border.


Monday, Oct. 4, 2021

John Hawkins, THA’s senior vice president of government relations, testified Oct. 4 before the Senate Committee on Finance in support of SB 8, relating to making appropriations of federal COVID-19 relief money. The bill appropriates $3 billion to the Department of State Health Services from the state’s American Rescue Plan Act to provide funding for state and local hospital surge staffing, purchasing therapeutic drugs and providing funding for the operation of regional infusion centers.


Monday, Aug. 30, 2021

Kimberly Avila Edwards, M.D., pediatrician with Ascension in Austin, testified Aug. 30 on THA’s behalf before the Texas House Public Education Committee on two bills related to mask mandates in public schools - HB 141, which would prohibit face covering mandates for public school students, and HB 164, which would require face coverings in public schools.


THA Testimony from the 2021 Legislative Session


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Steve Wohleb, J.D., THA’s senior vice president and general counsel, testified May 20 before the Senate Committee on Jurisprudence in support of THA priority HB 2709, which would streamline the process for clinicians to request an order of protective custody and expedite access to emergency inpatient psychiatric treatment for individuals experiencing a psychiatric crisis.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Binita Patel, PharmD, vice president of pharmacy services, Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, testified May 19 on THA’s behalf before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee for HB 1919, which would protect patients’ rights to use their pharmacy of choice and eliminate “white bagging” of oncology drugs. Patel encouraged the committee to consider eliminating “white bagging” of other clinician-administered drugs.


Monday, May 17, 2021

Steve Wohleb, J.D., THA’s senior vice president and general counsel, testified May 17 before the Senate State Affairs Committee on HB 3046, which would prohibit state agencies and political subdivisions from cooperating with the federal government in implementing a policy or rule that has been found by a federal court to be unconstitutional. This primarily would impact public hospitals.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Cesar Lopez, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified May 13 before the Senate State Affairs Committee against HB 2064, which would allow attorneys' fees and expenses to be deducted from hospitals’ recovery for providing care to injured patients under the Texas hospital lien law.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Christine Bryan, vice president of information technology and public policy, Clarity Child Guidance Center in San Antonio, testified May 12 on THA’s behalf before the House Public Health Committee for SB 640, which would require the state health agency to assess via a survey the behavioral health technology landscape as it relates to readiness, interoperability and gaps in state supported behavioral health organizations, managed care and key Medicaid stakeholders.


< /a>Thursday, May 6, 2021

Steve Wohleb, J.D., THA’s senior vice president and general counsel, testified May 6 before the Senate State Affairs Committee against SB 1669, which would prohibit hospitals from requiring employees, students, interns and residents to be vaccinated.


Monday, May 3, 2021

Cesar Lopez, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified May 3 before the Senate Agriculture Committee for SB 1382, which would allow hospitals to drill a water well on its property to provide water during an emergency or natural disaster when the normal supply is disrupted.


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Cameron Duncan, III, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified April 28 before the House Public Health Committee for HB 3965, which would ensure patients’ access to dialysis treatment during a disaster.


Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Cesar Lopez, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified April 28 before the House Public Health Committee on HB 3980, which would require a health facility to remove all medical equipment from a deceased individual's body before the body is transferred to a funeral director.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Steve Wohleb, J.D., THA’s senior vice president and general counsel, testified April 21 before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee on SB 505, which would prohibit hospitals from discharging patients to an unlicensed or unpermitted group home.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Steve Wohleb, J.D., THA’s senior vice president and general counsel, testified April 21 before the House Public Committee for HB 136, which would establish a maternal mortality and morbidity data registry to help improve maternal outcomes and eliminate preventable maternal mortality and morbidity.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

John Hawkins, THA’s senior vice president for government relations, testified April 20 before the Texas House County Affairs Committee for HB 3661, relating to training for rural hospitals’ governing bodies. THA’s Texas Healthcare Trustees provides education, resources and training related to health care governance for its member hospitals.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Steve Wohleb, J.D., THA’s senior vice president and general counsel, testified before the House Public Health Committee April 15 against HB 1424, which would permit the subjective exercise of religious, ethical or moral beliefs as a state sanctioned opt out of basic core job duties by health care workers.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Tommie Farrell, M.D., hospice physician, Hendrick Health in Abilene, testified April 14 on THA’s behalf before the House Public Health Committee against HB 2609, which would require a hospital to provide medical interventions on a terminally ill patient indefinitely pending transfer to another facility.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Frank Xavier Placencia, M.D., neonatologist and ethicist, Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, testified April 14 on THA’s behalf before the House Public Health Committee against HB 2609, which would require a hospital to provide medical interventions on a terminally ill patient indefinitely pending transfer to another facility.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Savitri Fedson, M.D., advanced heart failure cardiologist, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, testified April 14 on THA’s behalf before the House Public Health Committee against HB 2609, which would require a hospital to provide medical interventions on a terminally ill patient indefinitely pending transfer to another facility.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Mark Casanova, MD, director of clinical ethics & supportive and palliative care, Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, testified April 14 on THA’s behalf before the House Public Health Committee against HB 2609, which would require a hospital to provide medical interventions on a terminally ill patient indefinitely pending transfer to another facility.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Mark Casanova, MD, director of clinical ethics & supportive and palliative care, Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, testified April 14 on THA’s behalf before the House Public Health Committee for HB 2943, which would make necessary clarifications to the state’s in-hospital do-not-resuscitate statue created in 2017.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Robert L. Fine, MD, clinical director, office of clinical ethics and palliative care, Baylor Scott and White Health in Dallas, testified April 14 on THA’s behalf before the House Public Health Committee for HB 2943, which would make necessary clarifications to the state’s in-hospital do-not-resuscitate statue created in 2017.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Tommie Farrell, M.D., hospice physician, Hendrick Health in Abilene, testified April 14 on THA’s behalf before the House Public Health Committee for HB 2943, which would make necessary clarifications to the state’s in-hospital do-not-resuscitate statue created in 2017.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Steve Wohleb, J.D., THA’s senior vice president and general counsel, testified April 14 before the Texas House Public Health Committee on HB 1291, which would require hospitals to notify every hospital staff person, including non-clinical staff, of their right to object to participate in an abortion procedure.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Cameron Duncan, III, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified April 13 before the Texas House Insurance Committee for THA priority HB 2035, which would prohibit a health plan from denying emergency care based on a patient’s final diagnosis and adds guardrails to utilization review.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Cameron Duncan, III, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified April 13 before the Texas House Insurance Committee on HB 4051, which would prohibit anti-competitive practices by health plans that limit the rates for which a hospital can contract with competing plans.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Cesar Lopez, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified April 13 before the Texas House Insurance Committee for HB 621, which would allow hospitals to recoup payment for services from health plans, especially in personal injury cases.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Cameron Duncan, III, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified April 13 before the Senate Business & Commerce Committee against SB 2122, which would require hospitals to provide an itemized list of services and supplies on every billing statement.


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Steve Wohleb, J.D., THA’s senior vice president & associate general counsel, testified April 8 before the House County Affairs Committee for HB 3125, which would hold hospitals harmless from county court costs associated with patients’ mental health hearings.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Mark Casanova, MD, director of clinical ethics & supportive and palliative care, Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, testified April 7 on THA’s behalf before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee for SB 1944, relating to end-of-life issues and hospice care.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Mark Casanova, MD, director of clinical ethics & supportive and palliative care, Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, testified April 7 on THA’s behalf before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee against SB 917, relating to advance directives or health care or treatment decisions made by or on behalf of patients.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Robert L. Fine, MD, clinical director, office of clinical ethics and palliative care, Baylor Scott and White Health in Dallas, testified April 7 on THA’s behalf before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee for SB 1944, relating to end-of-life issues and hospice care, and against SB 917, relating to advance directives or health care or treatment decisions made by or on behalf of patients.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Becket Gremmels, system vice president of theology and ethics, CommonSpirit Health, testified April 7 before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee for SB 1944, relating to end-of-life issues and hospice care, and against SB 917, relating to advance directives or health care or treatment decisions made by or on behalf of patients.


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Cesar Lopez, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified April 6 before the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee on HB 1617, which would codify the opportunity for extensive, time-consuming and expensive discovery for personal injury lawsuits in which the hospital is not a party. THA is working with the bill authors on language that would allow hospitals to respond by affidavit and provide evidence of the hospital costs.


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Cameron Duncan, III, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified April 6 before the House Insurance Committee for THA’s priority legislation, HB 2241, which would strengthen the prudent layperson standard for emergency care.


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Cesar Lopez, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified on April 6, 2021, before the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee on HB 3063, which would require a private professional guardian to obtain the written consent of an adult ward's next of kin prior to making a critical care or end-of-life decision for the ward.


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Cameron Duncan, III, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified March 31 in the House Public Health Committee in support of HB 4, which would make permanent the telemedicine flexibilities that were put in place to ensure access to care for Medicaid and CHIP clients during the pandemic.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Cesar Lopez, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified March 30 before the House Business & Industry Committee, against HB 396, which would change the presumption in worker's compensation cases in the last year to presume that any nurse that came in contact with a COVID-19 patient and subsequently suffered from disability or death from COVID-19 was exposed at their place of work.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Cameron Duncan, III, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified March 30 before the House Human Services Committee in support of HB 2955, which would allow urban teaching hospitals to request an update to their indirect medical education add-on payment once a biennium.


Monday, March 29, 2021

Cesar Lopez, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified March 29 before the Senate State Affairs Committee against SB 207, related to recovery of medical or health care expenses in civil actions.


Thursday, March 25, 2021

Steve Wohleb, J.D., THA’s senior vice president & general counsel, testified March 25 before the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee against HB 2675, which would create an exception to the prohibition against carrying guns in hospitals. 


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Jeremy Yates, administrator, Texas Health Recovery and Wellness Center, testified March 24 on THA’s behalf before the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee in support of HB 2709, which would simplify the process for hospitals to request orders of protective custody for certain mental health patients.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Cameron Duncan, III, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified March 24 before the House Public Health Committee in support of HB 2052, which would increase transparency in hospital investigations.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Cameron Duncan, III, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified March 24 before the House Public Health Committee for HB 326 on preventing workplace violence in health care facilities.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Cesar Lopez, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified March 24 before the House Public Health Committee on HB 2211 on hospital visitation during a disaster.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

John Hawkins, THA’s senior vice president of government relations, testified March 23 before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee in support of SB 412, which would make permanent the telemedicine flexibilities introduced during the public health emergency to provide Medicaid and CHIP services.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

John Hawkins, THA’s senior vice president of government relations, testified March 23 before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee against SB 1137, which would require price disclosure of hospital services.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

John Hawkins, THA’s senior vice president of government relations, testified March 17 before the Senate Health & Human Services Committee on SB 809, relating to reporting of federal money received for the coronavirus disease public health emergency.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Cameron Duncan, III, J.D., THA’s associate general counsel, testified March 17 before the House Public Health Committee on HB 1490, which would require hospitals to disclose the cash price of hospital services.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Steve Wohleb, J.D., THA’s senior vice president and general counsel, testified March 17 before the House Public Health Committee against HB 1164, which would designate health care entities as centers of excellence for the management and treatment of placenta accreta spectrum disorder.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Binita Patel, Pharm.D., vice president of pharmacy services, Memorial Hermann Health System, testified March 16 on behalf of THA before the House Insurance Committee in support of HB 1586 to eliminate white bagging.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Carrie Kroll, THA's vice president of public policy, quality & public health, testified March 11, 2021 before the House State Affairs Committee in support of HB 3, the Texas Pandemic Response Act.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

John Hawkins, THA's senior vice president of government relations, testified March 11, 2021, before the House County Affairs Committee on hospital payments.


Monday, March 1, 2021

John Hawkins, THA’s senior vice of government relations, testified virtually March 1, 2021, before the Texas House Appropriations Subcommittee on Article II (Health Care) on hospital funding in the state budget.


Friday, Feb. 26, 2021

John Hawkins, THA’s senior vice president of government relations, testified Feb. 26 before the Senate Finance Committee in support of hospital funding in the proposed state budget.


THA Testimony from the 2019-2020 Interim


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Carrie Kroll, THA’s vice president of advocacy, quality & public health, testified before the Texas Public Health Committee on March 10 on Texas hospitals’ preparedness and response to COVID-19 as well as concerns about testing capability, PPE, staffing and financial support.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Donna Boatright, CEO, Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital in Sweetwater, and Brent Kaziny, medical director of emergency management and emergency center attending physician, Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, testified before the Texas House Public Health Committee on March 10 on rural and children’s hospitals preparedness and response to COVID-19 as well as concerns.


Monday, Dec. 9, 2019

John Hawkins, senior vice president of government relations for the Texas Hospital Association, testified Dec. 9 before the Texas Senate Health & Human Services Committee on the importance of the Medicaid 1115 Waiver for Texas’ health care safety net.


Monday, Nov. 11, 2019

Steve Wohleb, J.D., senior vice president and general counsel for the Texas Hospital Association, testified Nov. 11 before the Texas House Human Services Committee on hospitals’ role to protect children from abuse and neglect.


2019 Legislative Session
2017-2018 Interim
2017 Legislative Session