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Recent Posts

Time For More Progress on Knocking Down Roadblocks to Care

(Posted 9/21/22) As health care continues to sit at the front of the public consciousness – as it has since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – patients and providers alike continue to find themselves characters in a story as persistent as it is frustrating. Read more

Behavioral Health: Top of Mind and Time For Change

(Posted 8/18/2022) With no shortage of polarizing issues circulating in Texas right now, one thing is clear no matter your politics: Mental health is top of mind. The stress of an ongoing pandemic layered with racial tensions, school shootings, divisive abortion laws, and a turbulent economy have pushed behavioral health front and center. Read more

Hospitals Pulled Us Through a Pandemic – Now Let’s Pull For Them

(Posted 7/16/22) The passage of time takes the sting out of painful memories. It’s a coping mechanism that allows us to move on from trauma and move forward with hope. As the pandemic moves toward second-page news, it’s hard to recall the early days of intense uncertainty, rapid-fire disease spread, school closures, mixed mask messages, travel bans, hand sanitizer rationing, and an abundance of panic as the country embarked on what we thought maybe a few weeks of turbulence and closures. Read more

Public Health Emergency Ensures Medicaid Coverage – But For How Long?

(Posted 6/14/22) When the COVID-19 pandemic first took hold of the nation, legislation quickly passed that has allowed most Medicaid enrollees to maintain coverage during the ongoing public health emergency. The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act granted states an increase in federal Medicaid dollars as long as they paused disenrolling anyone from their Medicaid programs starting in March 2020. With the boost in Medicaid dollars Texas received, the state’s budget was stabilized, and Medicaid enrollees were granted uninterrupted coverage during the PHE. Read more

It’s Our Duty to Unite Against Workplace Violence

(Posted 5/19/22) Health care workers have dealt with endless challenges in recent years, especially after two years of COVID-19 patient care and the resulting burnout and fatigue. As hospitals and health systems face severe staffing shortages, the burden on those workers remaining grows more profound. Amid the mounting pressure and strain, health care workers must contend with, one concern is entirely preventable and must be addressed in a comprehensive and meaningful way. Workplace violence simply cannot be tolerated to any degree within a health care setting. With last month designated as Workplace Violence Awareness Month and June 3 called out by the American Hospital Association as Hospitals Against Violence day, now is the time to highlight what we as organizations and individuals must do to ensure safe, secure work environments for our dedicated health care workforce. Read more

DPP Approval: The First Step in Securing Texas’ Safety Net

(Posted 4/20/22) Hospitals around the state are breathing a collective sigh of relief following the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ approval of three directed payment programs in late March. These vital DPPs raise reimbursement rates closer to the cost of providing care to Medicaid enrollees and amount to $5.3 billion a year in payment enhancements to Texas providers. But for nearly seven months, the programs were left pending as CMS and the State of Texas remained in a deadlock over negotiations regarding the programs’ funding methods — leaving the state’s health care providers wondering if they were rapidly heading toward a financial cliff. The Texas Hospital Association is grateful CMS took a step in the right direction by issuing approval of the DPPs, but we also recognize that more work is needed to ensure the lasting viability of the Texas health care safety net. Read more

Workforce Shortages Threaten Patient Care

(Posted 3/17/2022) Hospitals have grappled with health care workforce shortages long before the pandemic, but two years of providing COVID-19 care have strained provider resources and staff like never before. Health care workers serving on the frontlines of one COVID-19 variant surge after the next are profoundly burned out and exiting hospital employment in record numbers. Some are leaving the field altogether, while others are trading full-time work for more lucrative travel positions. Without policies designed to build and sustain a robust health care workforce, this exodus of skilled professionals from hospital employment could threaten providers’ ability to care for patients. Read more

Critical Funding Remains in Limbo as Pandemic Wears On

(Posted 2/17/2022) While much of our attention lately has been focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and related challenges, another crisis has been quietly brewing with the potential to drastically impede health care delivery across Texas. Since last fall, supplement payment programs that raise hospitals’ Medicaid reimbursements closer to the actual cost of care either expired or are still awaiting federal approval. Months have now passed without Medicaid providers receiving these desperately needed funds, as negotiations between the state and federal authorities remain at an impasse. Read more

Despite Workforce Challenges, Frontline Workers Bravely Tackle Another Surge

(Posted 1/18/2022) Hope was on the horizon as we inched closer to the end of 2021. Powerful tools like vaccines, masks, boosters and testing capabilities were ubiquitous, and the general public was deeply educated about how to protect themselves. A new year brought hope for a new health care environment that perhaps would largely leave COVID-19 in the rearview mirror. But, as the holidays unfolded, so did another serious wave of infections due to the omicron variant. Read more