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(AUSTIN, Texas – May 2, 2019) The Texas Hospital Association applauds the Texas House of Representatives for unanimously passing landmark legislation to preserve critical funding for Texas’ designated trauma hospitals. THA and a broad coalition of organizations representing law enforcement, hospitals, health care professionals, people with disabilities, counties, the judiciary and others support House Bill 2048, by Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond), which would maintain 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).
“Texas hospitals and other stakeholders have long recognized the need to identify alternative sources of trauma hospital funding,” said Ted Shaw, THA president/CEO. “Passage of HB 2048 represents an effective compromise that preserves funding for one of the country’s most effective trauma care networks and the hundreds of thousands of Texans who depend on it every year.”
While the DRP serves as the source of revenue to offset some of Texas trauma hospitals’ uncompensated care costs, it is administratively complex and burdensome for judges, courts and sheriffs and challenging for those subject to its fines and penalties, particularly low-income Texans.
HB 2048 would preserve funding to potentially increase or, at a minimum, sustain the number and geographic reach of designated trauma hospitals by penalizing irresponsible drivers, including those convicted of driving while intoxicated.
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.
“Texas hospitals are committed to identifying alternative sources of funding for trauma care,” said Shaw. “Texas hospitals applaud Rep. Zerwas for 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.