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(AUSTIN, Texas –April 3, 2019) Funding for Texas’ 283 trauma hospitals is the focus of a bill that will be heard in the Texas House of Representatives Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee today. John Hawkins, senior vice president of government relations at the Texas Hospital Association, will testify in support of House Bill 2048, by Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond), 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).
“Traumatic events can happen anywhere, and when they do, all Texas trauma hospitals provide lifesaving care without question, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay,” said Ted Shaw, THA president/CEO. “Hospitalizations for a traumatic event require medical care of the highest specialization — neurosurgery, orthopedics, burn care and beyond. This legislation maintains critical funding so Texas trauma hospitals can continue providing lifesaving care.”
In 2016, Texas’ 283 trauma designated hospitals provided more than $320 million in unreimbursed trauma care. Those costs are in addition to the significant annual costs of maintaining the highly trained staff, services and equipment required to achieve and maintain trauma designation.
Since 2003, the Texas Legislature has provided dedicated funding for the state’s trauma hospitals. 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. Short of this funding, fewer hospitals would be able to maintain their trauma services, and fewer Texans in fewer communities would have access to lifesaving trauma care when and where they need it.
“For the past several years, Texas hospitals have worked with stakeholders to identify alternative sources of funding for trauma care,” said Shaw. “Rep. Zerwas is to be applauded 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.