October is here and with it comes the arrival of cooler weather and many Fall festivals across our region of the state. As we search for the light jackets and pull down the Halloween decorations, let me take a minute to update you on some critical issues for East Texas being studied in Austin, as well as offer you a reminder…
House Interim Charge: Public Health
In this update, we continue our look into the interim charges being studied by the Texas House, and in particular the Public Health Committee. Over the course of the interim, the Committee has delved deeply into a wide range of topics, including some which are of particular interest to rural Texas. Among those issues was a study into the cost, delivery, and coordination of our state's trauma response system.
The Committee recognizes that there are some challenges in rural areas when it comes to accessing this service, and they'll be releasing some recommendations to the Legislature soon on how we can advance the delivery of emergency medical service (EMS) at a low and efficient cost to the provider, regional partners, and hospitals involved.
In addition to helping rural Texans with access to trauma care, the committee also understands the difficulty that many Texans have when it comes to seeing specialty doctors close to home - a problem solved in many ways with telemedicine.
Telemedicine will allow primary care providers, nurses, and the patient themselves to connect with a participating doctors in order to cut down on the direct costs of healthcare, as well as indirect costs such as transportation.
The Committee is working to make recommendations after studying the history of telemedicine in Texas, whether the necessary technological infrastructure exists in rural areas to provide this service and how reimbursements would be structured for providers.
Keeping on the theme of public health, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that flu season is upon us and that flu vaccines have arrived across our state. For more information on the flu, why it's important to be vaccinated, or where you can get a flu shot in your community, please visit: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/immunize/flu.shtm
The mobile office is again on the road for the month of October. Come see us around the district on these days and times: October 5 - Leon County Courthouse, Centerville, 9 to 11 a.m. and Madison County Courthouse Annex, Madisonville, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.; Oct. 19 - Houston County Courthouse Annex, Crockett, 9 to 11 a.m. and Trinity County Courthouse, Groveton, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.; and Oct. 26 - San Augustine County Courthouse, San Augustine, 9 to 11 a.m.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.