Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Summary: HB 2887 would allow the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to make grants to local government entities, nonprofits, and faith based organizations to establish or expand community collaboratives that bring public and private sectors together to provide services and coordinate health care for people who are homeless, mentally ill, or suffering from substance abuse. Each entity receiving a public grant must track their program’s success based on a set of outcome measures, including the number of people in the collaborative referred to substance abuse treatment and whether there was a decrease in people seeking emergency care.
Analysis: San Antonio and Bexar County implemented such a program from 2008 through 2011. Between these years, these entities experienced a total documented savings of $25,714,727. These savings have accrued as authorities have been able to divert prisoners, mentally ill people, and people suffering from substance abuse away from costly treatment facilities funded and into care funded by both private and public entities. Program implementers in San Antonio and Bexar County report reduced victimization and increased support for the homeless, greater efficiency from law enforcement allowing them to focus more on policing, reduced inappropriate incarceration of homeless and inebriated people, reduced use of emergency rooms and more efficient and effective use of public dollars.
Although this program requires taxpayer dollars at the outset, evidence shows that such programs can save taxpayers millions of dollars in the long run, as well as benefit Texas’ most vulnerable populations. Help from these programs can get people treatment for their ailments and bring them back to the point where they can be responsible for themselves so they will not have to rely on taxpayer funded programs in the long term. Vote “yes,” on 2887 because it promotes personal responsibility and the demonstrated ability to limit future government spending on care for the homeless, mentally ill, prisoners, and substance abusers.