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(AUSTIN, Texas –April 11, 2019) Funding for Texas’ designated trauma hospitals is the focus of a bill that will be heard in the Texas Senate Finance Committee today. John Hawkins, senior vice president of government relations at the Texas Hospital Association, will testify in support of Senate Bill 918, by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), which would maintain critical funding for Texas’ trauma designated hospitals while eliminating the Driver Responsibility Program—the primary source of revenue for the state’s trauma fund (Account 5111).
“Texas is home to 283 trauma designated hospitals that provide lifesaving care across the state,” said Ted Shaw, THA president/CEO. “Our trauma hospitals provide that emergency care to any individual who seeks it, regardless of their ability to pay. SB 918 preserves critical trauma funding to ensure all Texans can access lifesaving care when and where they need it.”
In 2016, Texas trauma hospitals incurred more than $320 million in unreimbursed trauma care costs. Those costs exacerbate trauma hospitals’ annual costs to maintain highly trained staff, services and equipment required to achieve and maintain trauma designation.
The Texas Legislature has provided dedicated funding for the Texas trauma hospitals since 2003. This funding, combined with federal matching funds, provides approximately $176 million to Texas trauma hospitals—just over half of Texas trauma hospitals’ annual unreimbursed care costs.
Texas’ population is expected to grow from 28.7 million to over 40.5 million from 2018 to 2050, according to the Office of the State Demographer. That means more Texans in more communities will need access to lifesaving care close to home—whether they call Dallas or Valentine home. However, because of the growing costs of maintaining trauma designation and increasing burden of uncompensated care costs, the number of designated trauma hospitals currently is not keeping up with the state’s population growth.
“Texas hospitals are committed to identifying alternative sources of funding for trauma care,” said Shaw. “Texas hospitals applaud Sen. Huffman for eliminating the DRP while not sacrificing vital funding for hospitals and 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.