83(R) - 2013
Relating to the protection and care of persons who are elderly or disabled or who are children.
Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for SB152, As Engrossed: a negative impact of ($782,740) through the biennium ending August 31, 2015. The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.
Summary: SB 152 would:
- Add the El Paso Psychiatric Center as a facility that operates community services under the Department of Disability and Aging (DADS).
- Require the Executive Commissioner (commissioner) of Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to adopt a policy requiring state hospital employees to report the use of controlled substances (drugs) by other state hospital employees to the hospital’s superintendent if they have knowledge or a reasonable suspicion of such use.
- Require state hospital employees to complete extensive training on how to treat mentally ill patients before they work without direct supervision.
- Require DADS to develop an information sharing, reporting, and tracking system for each hospital to monitor instances of abuse, fraud and neglect of mentally ill patients.
- Allow HHSC’s office of Inspector General (IG) to employ and commission peace officers to assist in investigations of crimes committed against state hospital patients and document its investigative efforts in several different reports.
- Require persons and professionals to report the abuse of adults if this abuse was experienced as a child and there is cause to believe disclosure is necessary to protect the health of a child, or an elderly or disabled person. Current law already requires both persons and professionals (or persons with licensed jobs that deal directly with children) to report physical or mental abuse inflicted on a child. This report must be made immediately for persons who experience the abuse, and within 48 hours for professionals.
- Require employees or board members of entities that license professionals who deal with children subject to these reporting requirements.
- Allow DSHS to obtain criminal history information from the Department of Public Safety on potential and current state hospital employees, volunteers, and anyone placed in direct contact with a state hospital patient.
- Allow DSHS to obtain criminal history information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any criminal justice agency in Texas.
Analysis: In 2009 Texas entered into a settlement with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) relating to State Supported Living Centers (SSLCs). The goal of the settlement is to ensure all SSLCs follow generally accepted professional standards of care to ensure SSLC patients are not victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation at the hands of caregivers.
SB 152's provisions extend this effort to state hospital employees by training them to treat patients appropriately and establishing safeguards to protect them from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. SB 152 only imposes stringent requirements on state hospitals and their employees. SB 152, due to provisions such as increased background checks and additional investigators through HHSC’s office of the Inspectors General, would have a fiscal impact that will increase the burden of government on Texans. According to the Legislative Budget Board, SB 152 will cost taxpayers $2,085,028 over Fiscal Years 2014-2018.
The regulations proposed in SB 152 would apply only to public employees and may help protect patients from abuse, neglect, and exploitation by state hospital employees and caregivers. These regulations would not apply to private sector facilities. We are neutral on SB 152.