Today the Senate Health and Human Services committee is expected to hear two important bills we’ve been following:
HB 1541 would establish a Medicaid state service plan for peer support services, designating certified peer specialists and certified recovery specialists as a billable provider. Mental health peer support services are proven to support recovery, improve continuity of care, and reduce recidivism for people with mental illness recently released from incarceration during the re-entry process. CPPP supports HB 1541 as it will enable Texans with mental illness to access community-based services after they are released from jail or prison.
More details on HB 1541 are available in our testimony given at the House Human Services Committee hearing last month.
One bad bill we’re watching is HB 2835, which would harm the neediest and most vulnerable Texas residents. This bill proposes to do two things: create barriers to accessing care for undocumented children who are eligible for service; and change the name of the Children with Special Health Care Needs Program to the Special Health Care Needs Program, despite the fact that 97 percent of the patients served are children. Federal law does not allow states to discriminate in eligibility for the program based on immigration status, so the bill proposes to test whether Texas can circumvent this intent and give undocumented children lower priority. CPPP opposes HB 2835.
We’ll continue to follow developments on these bills through the remainder of the Legislative session.