The Texas Hospital Association has prioritized legislation to increase funding and services to promote the efficacy of behavioral and mental health programs in Texas. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Texas is 48th in the nation for per capita mental health spending. The national per capita average is $120; Texas has a per capita average of $41. In addition to the lack of funding for behavioral health services, Texas has a shortage of inpatient beds, especially state psychiatric hospital beds, for the number of individuals needing care.

Instead of focusing on prevention, which would result in lower spending and better outcomes, Texas has focused on crisis services, when treatment is more complicated and expensive and when people, their family and friends are more likely to have experienced pain and trauma. This crisis-centered approach also leads to additional burden and expense on law enforcement and the criminal justice system in addition to hospitals.

As a result of limited behavioral health spending, Texas hospitals are increasingly utilized by those in need of behavioral health services as a last resort. The pressure on hospitals forces medical staff away from patients in need of vital health issues to deal with those who are better served in a specialized behavioral health environment or who should have received preventive services in the community.

None at this time.

Charge: To discuss and make policy recommendations to the Council on Policy Development regarding behavioral health care issues affecting hospital members that provide behavioral health services (meets as needed).


Chair: Matthew Feehery, Memorial Hermann Prevention/Recovery, Houston
Vice-Chair: Christine (Chris) Bryan, Clarity Child Guidance Center, San Antonio
Heather Chung, Houston Methodist Hospital
Sally Taylor, MD, University Health System, San Antonio
Jacob Cuellar, MD, Laurel Ridge
Phillip (Wayne) Young, JPS Health Network, Fort Worth
Charlzetta McMurray-Horton, Ben Taub General Hospital, Houston
Jeanne Wypyski, Texoma Medical Center – Behavioral Health Center, Sherman
Tom Collins, Green Oaks Hospital, Dallas
Laci Laird, ETMC Behavioral Health, Tyler
Celeste Johnson, Parkland Health & Hospital System
Becky Tresnicky, Valley Baptist Behavioral Health System, Brownsville
Sherry Bustin, Oceans Behavioral Hospital Lufkin
Stephen Glazier, UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center, Houston
Ed Prettyman, Texas NeuroRehab Center, Austin


Sara Gonzalez, vice president, advocacy and public policy, 512/465-1596

Sharon Beasley, legal manager, legal & regulatory compliance, 512/465-1030

2017 Texas Hospitals’ Policy Priorities
Download an overview of the 2017 Texas Hospitals’ Policy Priorities


According to Texas Government Code 305.027, portions of this material may be considered “legislative advertising.” Authorization for its publication is made by John Hawkins, Texas Hospital Association, 1108 Lavaca, Suite 700, Austin, TX 78701-2180.