As the Texas Legislature nears the end of its session, some of the most important deliberations are occurring, and House Bill 595 is among the measures vital to the health of our state.HB595, sponsored by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, would ensure effective treatment and continuity of care for all patients on Medicaid, especially those with serious mental health issues.As in any effort, getting the job done right the first time saves time, money and, in the case of HB595, the health of those served by Medicaid.More than 3.5 million Texans depending on Medicaid for their health insurance coverage. When a doctor finds the right treatment for a Medicaid patient, it saves the entire state money and, more importantly, improves health, if the patient continues with the prescribed course of treatment. HB595 would ensure this by allowing the state to continue operating and managing a single list of medicines readily available to patients on Medicaid.Those of us on the front lines of treating Medicaid patients have found the state to be a productive partner in its ability to provide information and access to treatment for those on Medicaid. SB595 would protect fast and efficient access to information about the medications available to Medicaid patients.In a healthcare world filled with more and more administrative tasks for all involved, this legislation would reduce the great healthcare paper shuffle. And when Medicaid is more efficient and provides better care, the state spends fewer tax dollars.HB595 has passed the House and is awaiting a Senate vote. Lawmakers should support this bill and the patient protections within it. Those of us who spend every day fighting disease, sickness and injury appreciate the public officials whom we elected to address many important legislative efforts.Through this legislation, our state leaders help doctors do our jobs, make Texans healthier and save taxpayer dollars. In the end, everyone benefits.
Dr. Carol Nati is medical director of Mental Health Mental Retardation of Tarrant County and a practicing psychiatrist.