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(AUSTIN, Texas – June 17, 2019) After unanimously passing both the Texas House of Representatives and Texas Senate, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) Friday signed into law landmark legislation to preserve critical funding for Texas’ designated trauma hospitals. Passage of House Bill 2048, by Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond) and Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), achieves what Texas hospitals, stakeholders and lawmakers have sought for years—to preserve critical funding for Texas’ designated trauma hospitals while eliminating the Driver Responsibility Program, the primary source of revenue for the state’s trauma fund (Account 5111).
The broad swath of support by a coalition of organizations representing law enforcement, hospitals, health care professionals, people with disabilities, counties, the judiciary and others is a testament to the achievement that HB 2048 represents.
“THA applauds Gov. Abbott for signing into law legislation that ensures Texas trauma hospitals’ ability to continue providing lifesaving trauma care to the hundreds of thousands of Texans who depend on it,” said Ted Shaw, THA president/CEO. “Passage of HB 2048 is a major achievement that Texas hospitals have worked toward for over six years.”
Texas trauma hospitals provide lifesaving care to any individual who needs it, regardless of ability to pay. Since 2003, the Texas Legislature has provided dedicated funding for Texas trauma hospitals. This funding, combined with federal matching funds, provides approximately $176 million to cover just over half of Texas trauma hospitals’ more than $320 million in unreimbursed trauma care costs.
“For the past several years, Texas hospitals have worked with stakeholders to identify alternative sources of funding for trauma care,” said Shaw. “Rep. Zerwas and Sen. Huffman are to be praised for their dedication to eliminating the DRP while preserving vital funding for lifesaving trauma care in communities across the state.”
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 400,000 health care professionals statewide. Learn more about THA at www.tha.org or follow THA on Twitter at http://twitter.com/texashospitals.