The majority of women’s health-related legislation is referred to the Texas Senate Committee on Health & Human Services. In committee, members carefully examine filed bills that, if passed into law, would affect access to and quality of healthcare delivery in Texas.
Between the 2013 Legislative Session and the current Session, a period of time known as the ‘Interim,’ the Lt. Governor directed the Committee to study several specific issues and provide the Senate with policy recommendations related to those issues. Among the charges handed down to the committee was ‘Interim Charge #3 – Women’s Health.’ Specifically, the committee was instructed to:
‘Build on previous legislative achievements in women’s healthcare by examining women’s access to preventative health care, pregnancy services, and post-partum care, and exploring ways to expand access and improve quality, particularly in rural and underserved areas of the state. Monitor the implementation of women’s health programs in Texas. Assess these programs’ impact on outcomes such as improving access to preventative services, reducing unplanned pregnancies, and achieving cost savings. Recommend ways to better coordinate the various programs in a manner that increases the number of women served, ensures adequate provider capacity statewide, and maximizes efficiencies to the state.’
Health & Human Services Committee members have been appointed for 2015-2016. Two medical doctors sit on the Committee – Dr. Charles Schwertner, an orthopedic surgeon, and Dr. Donna Campbell, an emergency room physician. Reappointed to the Committee was Senator Jose Rodríguez, a 2013 recipient of our “Texas Women’s Health Champion” award. Committee membership is as follows:
Dr. Charles Schwertner (Republican – Georgetown)
Lois Kolkhorst (Republican – Brenham)
Dr. Donna Campbell (Republican – New Braunfels)
Craig Estes (Republican – Wichita Falls)
Charles Perry (Republican – Lubbock)
José Rodríguez (Democrat – El Paso)*
Van Taylor (Republican – Plano)
Carlos Uresti (Democrat – San Antonio)
Judith Zaffirini (Democrat – Laredo)
The ACOG/Me & My OBG team will be closely tracking women’s health-related legislation in the Senate and identifying Committee members that advocate for protecting the doctor/patient relationship and increasing women’s access to quality healthcare. The Me & My OBG Campaign encourages all Texas women to stay informed about the Texas Legislature by learning when Senate committees meet and what bills have been filed to date.
A Dose of the Texas Legislature is an ongoing series to inform Texas women – and the doctors who care for them – about the effect state lawmakers have on women’s health and what actions women and doctors can take to advocate for high-quality health care delivery for women across Texas.