~ Committees led by Representative Price to hear testimony on the Opioids Crisis, Rural Healthcare Access, and the nexus between Mental Health and Public Education ~
State Representative Four Price will preside over three committee hearings scheduled to occur next week at the Texas Capitol.
Price, as chairman, has set another hearing for the House Select Committee on Opioids and Substance Abuse to further investigate, through invited expert testimony, the opioids/substance abuse crisis that is plaguing our nation and state. The hearing will commence at 10:00am on Tuesday, June 26th in Committee Hearing Room E2.012 at the Texas Capitol. At this fourth hearing, the committee will examine the impact of overdose reporting defense laws known as "Good Samaritan" laws and identify how opioids and substance abuse have impacted the normal scope of work for law enforcement, first responders, and hospital emergency department personnel. To aid in its work, the committee will hear invited testimony from law enforcement and healthcare professionals.
"I am pleased with the progress we have made as a committee in our examination of the various aspects of this deadly crisis impacting virtually every Texas community. The committee is on track to prepare a comprehensive report which is due November 1st," said Chairman Price.
On Thursday, June 28th at 9:00am in Hearing Room E1.030 the Price-led House Committee on Public Health will hold a joint hearing with the House Committee on Public Education to take up the additional committee charges recently issued to both committees by the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. Speaker Straus, in the wake of the horrific event in Santa Fe, Texas instructed both committees to:
• Consider testimony provided at the May 17 House Public Health Committee hearing regarding improving mental health services for children. Identify specific strategies that would enhance overall school safety.
• Study ways to help parents, youth and primary care providers support school personnel in their efforts to identify and intervene early when mental health problems arise. In addition to school-based trauma-informed programs and those that treat early psychosis, consider the benefits of universal screening tools and expanding the Child Psychiatry Access Program (CPAP).
• Make recommendations to enhance collaboration among the Health and Human Services Commission, the Texas Education Agency, local mental health authorities, and education service centers.
The above-referenced May 17th hearing occurred a day before the tragic event in Santa Fe, Texas. The House Public Health committee heard invited and public testimony from twenty witnesses, including physicians, psychologists, mental health providers, children's advocacy associations and several education professionals.
"I am proud that Texas House leadership has made mental health, including that of Texas children, a public policy priority beginning with the formation of the 2016 Select Committee on Mental Health. The members of the House Public Health Committee look forward to working with Chairman Dan Huberty and the members of his committee. Protecting our children is of the utmost importance. Further, increasing robust and solution-seeking discussions regarding children's mental health and what that looks like in schools is absolutely critical," said Chairman Price. Representative Price, at the invitation of Governor Greg Abbott participated in the Governor's roundtable discussions and offered his opinions on children's mental health matters. "I am confident that all of us in the Texas Legislature and Governor Abbott are eager to find viable solutions. This must also consist of a willingness to fund additional mental health resources. The wellness of our children, both physical and mental, continues to be a top priority of mine," stated Price.
The House Committee on Public Health will also meet at 1:00 pm on Thursday, June 28th in Hearing Room E1.030 to hear testimony and discuss important matters related to healthcare. Specifically, the hearing will concern examining opportunities to improve population health and health care delivery in rural and urban medically underserved areas; identifying potential opportunities to improve access to care, including the role of telemedicine; and discussion of the challenges facing rural hospitals. "Healthcare is a 'kitchen table' issue for all Texans. At some point we all require medical care. My staff and I will continue working diligently on Texas health matters," commented Chairman Four Price.