Bills, Bills, Bills: HB 320
By Perdita Henry and Leah Joiner
The 87th Texas Legislature is off to an interesting start, but TWHC is monitoring a flurry of bills that stand to make the women’s health programs better. We’ve talked about all of them here, but over the next few weeks, we are going to zoom in on some of them and share exactly what they are positioned to do, talking points you can use, and how you can contact the house and senate representatives assigned to the committees poised to decide if the bill moves forward.
This week’s featured bill
HB 320 would bring back the Women’s Health Advisory Committee (WHAC), which can improve communications between the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and women’s health stakeholders.
Before it was disbanded after the 85th legislative session, the WHAC served as an important body for guiding decision-making about program design, sharing information with the public, and providing a forum for stakeholders to weigh in on the programs’ development. Streamlining communications between stakeholders and the state is essential to ensuring more transparent development processes necessary to improving Healthy Texas Women (HTW) and the Family Planning program (FPP).
HB 320 was sent to the House Public Health Committee (You can learn more about the process bills have to go through to become law here). At this point, the bill has not yet received a hearing date, but you can prepare to show your support by contacting committee members and telling them about the importance of the WHAC to the continued improvement of women’s health programs.
Here are some Talking Points you can utilize when talking or emailing about HB 320:
The state’s women’s health programs have gone through tremendous changes in the past 10 years.
In the past year alone, the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the 1115 Healthy Texas Women Demonstration Waiver, and the new program component Healthy Texas Women Plus launched.
HHSC has already implemented several policy changes in Healthy Texas Women due to the Waiver approval, with limited communication or opportunities for education for the provider network
Providers deserve to be well informed and trained on how these changes may impact their practice.
Prioritizing open, consistent communication with women’s health providers can foster improved engagement and trust between the provider network and HHSC.
The best way to serve Texans is with a strong, qualified provider network. The Legislature and HHSC can show their support for providers and commitment to the well-being of Texans by reinstating the WHAC.
Planning a meeting with legislators? TWHC is happy to talk strategy ahead of your meeting. Contact us at info@TexasWHC.org and we will help you ensure you hit all the right points in your meeting.
Download a one-pager of the bill graphic and the information in this blog to keep in your preparation for your meeting with legislators.