The 88th Texas Legislature kicks off on January 10th, 2023. Integral Care monitors legislative efforts that impact mental health, substance use disorder, and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) during every session as well as the findings and recommendations from committees during the interim. We are also directly involved in the creation of legislation and provide relevant information and resources to our legislators. As we prepare for the upcoming session, let us look back at some of the legislation that came out of the 87th session, progress made since then and anticipated topics of interest.
Looking Ahead to the 88th Legislative Session
A Message From Our CEO
- HB 332 allows school districts to use education funds for programs related to emotions, positive relationships and responsible decisions.
- SB 49 improves the court system’s interactions with defendants who have mental health issues, including access to prescription medication for the care, treatment, or stabilization of an inmate with mental illness.
- SB 672 increases access to behavioral health services integrated in primary care for both children and adults.
- SB 1 provides funding for additional Medicaid Waiver slots to provide individuals with IDD more opportunities to live outside of institutional settings.
- Integral Care worked closely with Representative Donna Howard to pass Rider 56, which directs HHSC to evaluate the feasibility and costs associated with including patient dosage information in the opioid treatment program Central Registry.
Landmark Federal Legislation in the Interim:
Landmark federal legislation has passed since the close of the 87th session. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act provides funding to dramatically increase access to comprehensive mental health and substance use services by expanding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs). Integral Care has been a CCBHC since 2016.
CCBHCs provide critical and lifesaving care for people with mental health and substance use challenges. The bill also includes aid to increase access to telehealth services and mental health awareness programs such as Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and provides more funding for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
Interim Texas Legislative Charges Related to Mental Health:
During the year and a half interim period, House and Senate committees have examined several vital issues. Integral Care has been following interim committees closely and submitting comment on a number of these topics.
The House Committee on Public Education examined the impact of COVID-19 on students’ mental health, including the availability and workload of mental health professionals across the state and their role in the public school system. The committee made recommendations to reduce or eliminate existing barriers to providing mental health services in a traditional classroom setting or through teletherapy.
Other focused issue areas included the need to increase the mental health workforce and combat staffing shortages, behavioral health and recovery needs for individuals involved in the criminal justice system, affordable housing, and improving supports and mental health outcomes for veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Pre-filing of bills for the 88th session began in early November, with over 1,000 bills already filed. In preparation for this session, Integral Care is working internally to identify legislative priorities across mental health services, children’s crisis services, substance use disorder services, housing, intellectual and developmental disabilities and criminal justice.
Our vision is Healthy Living for Everyone. We look forward to working with our incoming and returning legislators to continue work to improve access to the services that can make that vision a reality for all Texans.
Chief Executive Officer
Past Transparencies sorted by year
Highlight: Upcoming Forum on the 88th Texas Legislature
On Wednesday, December 7 at noon, Integral Care and Texas Council of Community Centers invite you to join us for a virtual Community Forum, “The 88th Texas Legislature: Preparing Mental Health, Substance Use Disorder and IDD Advocates.” Experts from across Texas will discuss the following topics:
• Issues to follow related to mental health, IDD and substance use disorder
• Steps to identify and track the issues most important to you
• Methods and tips for testifying before a legislative committee and submitting written testimony
• Resources for caregivers and advocates on how to connect with policymakers who represent them and tell your story
Moderated by Julie Guirguis of Integral Care, we’ll hear from expert panelists Lee Johnson of Texas Council, Greg Hansch, LMSW, of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Texas and Eric Kunish of NAMI Central Texas. Audience members can submit questions in advance of the forum as well as ask questions directly to our panelists at the end of the discussion.
Highlight: Terrace at Oak Springs Food Pantry Drive Featured on KXAN
Kristi Kaiser, Practice Manager, Supported Housing Services, recently spoke to KXAN about the Terrace at Oak Springs Food Pantry Drive. The food drive garnered over 1,015 items of food donated. These donations will support the Terrace at Oak Springs residents, other Integral Care locations, and the surrounding community. “Once a week — I go every Wednesday. It really helps,” said Stephen Blair, Terrace resident.
It’s not too late to drop food off! The Food Pantry will take donations year-round Monday-Thursday, 8am-5:30pm, and Friday 8am-noon, excluding holidays. Thank you to everyone who donated!
Highlight: Integral Care Staff Present at AAIDD Texas Chapter’s 46th Annual Convention
Late last month, Integral Care staff presented at the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) Texas Chapter’s 46th Annual Convention in Galveston, Texas. Staff presented on topics including “Outpatient Biopsychosocial Approach for IDD Services, “A Biopsychosocial Approach to Crisis Response” and “IDD Health Disparities: Potential Factors and Consequences.”
Integral Care Awarded $200,000 Grant from St. David’s Foundation
St. David’s Foundation recently awarded Integral Care $200,000 to serve as the fiscal sponsor for ConnXus, a non-profit Health Information Exchange (HIE) that has served the Central Texas region in and around Travis County since 1997. This funding aims to operationalize ConnXus’ 3-year strategic plan and to expand the local HIE from the current exchange of clinical data to include more holistic health information.
Integral Care will serve as the Administrative Services Organization and the managing authority for the funds provided by St. David’s Foundation, with Dell Medical School as a lead collaborator. “St. David’s Foundation’s investment in enhancing the capacity of our local HIE provides a unique opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of Travis County residents through better care and service coordination among multiple healthcare providers,” said David Evans, Integral Care CEO.
Central Texas African American Family Support Conference
Register now for the longest running Black wellness conference of its kind – Feb 7-8, 2023. Join us in-person or virtually for workshops, keynote speakers, and group discussions on mental health, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities in the African American community.