Texas Legislature Approves Bill to Improve Access to Mental Health Treatment

House Bill 10 Heads to Governor’s Desk

(Austin – May 23, 2017) Legislation to improve statewide access to mental health and substance use treatment will soon make its way to Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk, as the Texas Senate late yesterday approved House Bill 10 by Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo) and Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo).

HB 10 increases the Texas Department of Insurance’s authority to enforce the existing parity law, which requires health plans offering mental health and substance use treatment coverage to provide comparable coverage for physical and mental health conditions. It also creates a behavioral health ombudsman to help consumers and providers navigate and resolve challenges related to behavioral health care access.

“Enforcing mental health parity is an important step in mental health care reform,” said Ted Shaw, president/CEO of the Texas Hospital Association. “Texas hospitals appreciate the legislature’s commitment to improving the state’s mental health system and promoting access to necessary treatment.”

More than half a million Texas adults experience a serious and persistent mental illness annually. Half a million Texas children have a serious emotional disturbance. Yet, a fraction of those individuals actually receive treatment each year.

Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) convened the Select Committee on Mental Health, chaired by Rep. Price, during the interim to identify solutions to the state’s mental health system. One of the committee’s recommendations was a state mental health parity law.



Lance Lunsford, vice president, strategic communications
Email: llunsford@tha.org
Twitter: @lancelunsford

Connect with THA:

About THA
Founded in 1930, the Texas Hospital Association is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state’s hospitals and health care systems. Based in Austin, THA enhances its members’ abilities to improve accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of health care for all Texans. One of the largest hospital associations in the country, THA represents 452 of the state’s non-federal general and specialty hospitals and health care systems, which employ some 369,000 health care professionals statewide. Learn more about THA at www.tha.org or follow THA on Twitter at http://twitter.com/texashospitals.