Your Voice on Perinatal Care at the Texas Capitol
Maternal and Neonatal Care Advocacy
Since 2009, Texas Perinatal Services’ founding organization, Texas EMS, Trauma & Acute Care Foundation (TETAF), has been active at the Texas Capitol providing services in the advocacy, public policy, and regulatory arenas. TETAF has become the go-to source for lawmakers as it fills a unique niche representing different aspects of the regional health care systems, including perinatal care.
TETAF successfully advocates on behalf of the Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) and for needs in maternal, neonatal, trauma, emergency, and acute care in Texas.
TETAF Board of Directors member, Dr. David Weisoly, provided testimony on the public health data interim charge during the Texas Senate Health and Human Services committee meeting. (June 27, 2022 – See video)
TETAF board member and Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC) executive director, Eric Epley, provided testimony on the public health data interim charge.
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Guide to Texas Advocacy
Legislature vs. Legislator – The body made up of the Texas House and Senate is referred to as the “Legislature.” A state representative or senator is referred to as a “legislator.”
Representative vs. Congressman – A “representative” is a member of the state House of Representatives. A congressman refers only to federal lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Capital vs. Capitol – Capital with an “a” refers to a city; capitol with an “o” refers to a building.
Advocacy vs. Lobbying – Advocacy involves educating a lawmaker on a subject. Lobbying involves a direct ask of a lawmaker (Ex: Vote for bill xyz.). Any money spent on a lawmaker or his/her office is considered lobbying. All lobbying is advocacy, but not all advocacy is lobbying.
Contacting a Legislator
Introduction – Always begin by introducing yourself and who you represent. If appropriate, state whether you are “for,” “against,” or “on” a bill. “On the bill” means you are not asking the lawmaker to vote yes or no, simply providing more information on the issue being discussed.
Show Respect – Always be respectful. Use the terms “Representative,” “Senator,” or “Chairman” when addressing a lawmaker. Do not use the lawmaker’s first name. If a representative or senator chairs a committee, always refer to him/her as “Chairman” or “Madame Chair.”
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TETAF Legislative Priorities, 88th Texas Legislative Session
Preserve & Increase Funding for Regional Health Care Systems
Historic population growth and growing demands on the system have solidified an ever-increasing demand for trauma, emergency, and disaster-related healthcare services. Rural communities already are experiencing a lack of access to timely emergency health care. Urban areas have more resources but still struggle to maintain services. The healthcare system has been stretched to the limit with Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Regional Advisory Councils (RACs), the Emergency Medical Task Force, and hospitals serving as frontline responders during disasters.
TETAF supports increased funding for the state’s trauma system. Each aspect of the trauma and emergency health care system – trauma hospitals, EMS providers, and RACs – must be adequately funded to support all Texans when unplanned needs arise.
TETAF supports increased funding to strengthen regional healthcare systems through the following
Increase Funding for Regional Advisory Councils
RACs are regularly engaged in coordinating regional trauma and emergency preparedness, improving cardiac, stroke, and perinatal systems of care, and educating communities on injury prevention. While the state’s expectations of these entities have increased significantly since its creation in 1989, funding has not kept up with demand. Increasing funding for the system is critical.
Improve and Fund Statewide Health Data Collection Efforts
While the State of Texas has historically provided funds for a statewide trauma registry, the data collected and shared has lacked robust, timely value to truly impact responses and improve patient outcomes. RACs have initiated regional data collection efforts to improve trauma, cardiac and stroke outcomes; however, a coordinated statewide initiative for trauma, cardiac, and stroke data is needed.
Establish a Statewide Perinatal Database
While it is believed that levels of care designations for neonatal and maternal care have improved care for mothers and babies, Texas lacks the patient-level data to verify. Texas should fund the establishment of a statewide perinatal database to gather consistent data, through an established and reliable process.
Improve Efforts Focused on the Health Care Workforce Shortage
The healthcare workforce has faced unprecedented demands during the COVID-19 pandemic which have now been followed by higher costs for wages and fewer qualified individuals. Additional efforts and funding are needed to provide more recruiting and training within the hospital and pre-hospital settings.
TETAF Advocacy Report 88th Texas Legislative Session
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