FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.
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Aisha Ainsworth, 512/465-1511
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(AUSTIN, Texas – May 22, 2019) Texas patients no longer will receive surprise bills for out-of-pocket costs for emergency or unplanned health care services as the Texas Legislature yesterday passed patient-friendly and free-market legislation to end surprise medical billing. Supported by the Texas Hospital Association, Senate Bill 1264, by Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston), Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress) and Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio), is an effective approach to protect patients from surprise bills resulting from unplanned out-of-network health care services and maintain mediation for facilities and health plans to negotiate network inclusion and a mutually acceptable payment amount.
“Texas hospitals applaud state lawmakers for passing legislation that serves as a model for the nation of how to protect consumers while avoiding increased health care costs or limiting access to care,” said Ted Shaw, THA president/CEO. “Patients should never be surprised by unexpected bills for out-of-pocket costs for emergency or unplanned health care services.”
Since the beginning of the 2019 legislative session, Texas hospitals have supported legislation that eliminates surprise medical bills for patients and preserves hospitals’ in-network status to ensure access to care when patients need it.
“Receiving an unexpected bill, and the shock, distress and anxiety that it can cause undermine a patient’s recovery and road back to good health,” said Shaw. “Sen. Hancock, Sen. Whitmire, Rep. Oliverson and Rep. Martinez Fischer are to be praised for passing legislation that upholds the covenant that hospitals and care providers forge with their patients to do no harm.”
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.