NAMI Texas – 82nd Legislative Session Wrap Up

The 82nd Legislative Session ended on May 30, 2011. Now that the dust has settled we can take a look at which bills were successful and which bills we may be seeing again in the future.

Bills that passed:

  • HB 35 (Rep. Menendez/Sen. Van de Putte) Relating to extending a local behavioral health intervention pilot project.

HB 35 extends the BaxarCares pilot project in Bexar County created by the 81st Legislature for an additional two years. BexarCares established a local behavioral health project to divert children who are at risk of an alternative school placement setting for behavior management or at risk for involvement with juvenile justice or child protective services systems. Effective September 1, 2011

(courtesy of DSHS)

  • HB 167 (Rep. Raymond/Sen. Zaffirini) Relating to the transportation of certain mental health patients.

HB 167 revised the priority according to statute of who the court may authorize to transport a patient committed or detained to a designated mental health facility. The bill adds qualified transportation service providers selected from a list maintained by the commissioners court in a given county to the list of individuals authorized to transport a patient. It also requires DSHS to prescribe uniform standards that a person is required to meet to be listed as a qualified service provider. Effective September 1, 2011.

(courtesy of DSHS)

  • HB 748 (Rep. Menendez/Sen. Van de Putte) Relating to a criminal defendant’s incompetency to stand trial, to certain related time credits, and to the maximum period allowed for restoration of the defendant to competency.

HB 748 gives a defendant credit for time served in a jail, mental health facility, and residential care facility if that defendant is found incompetent to stand trial. It also allows a defendant who has reached the maximum restoration period without achieving competency to have the charges dismissed. This bill contains elements of a DSHS initiative related to recommendations from the Continuity of Care Task Force. Effective on September 1, 2011.

(courtesy of DSHS)

  • HB 1829 (Rep. Naishtat/Sen. Nelson) Relating to the transfer to a mental hospital of a person admitted to a facility for emergency detention.

This bill allows a facility that has admitted a person for emergency detention to transfer that individual to an appropriate mental hospital with the written consent of the hospital administrator. This statutory change reflects current practice. The bill also allows the electronic transmission of a warrant for emergency detention. Effective September 1, 2011.

(courtesy of DSHS)

  • HB 2725 (rep. Hartnett/Sen. Williams) Relating to the determination of incompetency in criminal cases.

HB 2725 modifies several procedures and requirements related to competency restoration, including shortening the periods allowed for competency restoration while in state hospitals, limiting the number of extensions for restoration, allowing the consideration of additional information in determining the need for or an extension of competency restoration, and encouraging the use of alternate community-based programs when necessary and available. The bill requires DSHS and HHSC to study the feasibility of providing home and community-based services to persons with severe and persistent mental illness who have a history of more than one inpatient commitment for competency restoration. DSHS must submit a report on the results of the feasibility study by December 1, 2012. This bill contains elements of a DSHS initiative related to recommendations from the Continuity of Care Taskforce. Effective September 1, 2011.

(courtesy of DSHS)

This is a bill that NAMI Texas fully supported and worked diligently to push through the legislative process.

  • HB 3342 (Rep. Naishtat/Sen. Rodriguez) Relating to representation of and by the state and joinder of the state in certain mental health proceedings.

HB 3342 clarifies the prevalent practice of representation in these proceedings across the state. It amends the Texas Mental Health Code to expressly codify that the county attorney who represents the state in mental health proceedings is also responsible for representing the state in court-ordered medication proceedings that often arise out of mental health cases. The bill further clarifies that the county attorney represents the state in any habeas corpus proceedings that the patient may bring to contest their commitment. Effective immediately.

(courtesy of DSHS)

  • SB 71 (Sen. Zaffirini/Rep. Branch) Relating to the use of restraints in state supported living centers.

The bill disallows the use of mechanical or physical restraint for SSLC residents except when it is necessary to prevent imminent physical injury to the resident or another and if it is the least restrictive alternative to prevent imminent physical injury. The bill prohibits the use of straitjackets for the restraint of a SSLC resident. Effective immediately.

(courtesy of DSHS)

  • SB 118 (Sen. Uresti/rep. Menendez) Relating to a court’s authority to order a proposed patient to receive extended outpatient mental health services.

Under prior law, a patient had to have received court-ordered inpatient mental health services for at least 60 consecutive days during the preceding 12 months before a judge can order that individual to receive court-ordered extended outpatient mental health services. SB 118 amends that provision so that the 60 days do not have to be consecutive before a judge can issue this kind of order. For a judge to order the proposed patient to receive extended outpatient services, there must be a finding that the affected individual has received court-ordered outpatient mental health services during the preceding 60 days. Effective September 1, 2011.

(courtesy of DSHS)

  • SB 652 (Sen. Hegar/Rep. Bonnen) Relating to governmental and certain quasi-governmental entities subject to the sunset review process.

Previous to the 82nd Legislative Session, DSHS had been scheduled to undergo review by the Sunset Advisory Commission during the following interim (calendar years 2011 and 2012). SB 652 moves that review for all health and human services agencies to the interim of the 83rd Legislature, or calendar years 2013 and 2014. Effective immediately.

(courtesy of DSHS)

  • HB 1 (Rep. Pitts/Sen. Ogden) General Appropriations Bill

HB 1 appropriates funding to state agencies for the upcoming biennium of FY 2012 and 2013. In addition, HB 1 contains provisions that give direction to state agencies regarding the expenditure of funds. Many of these provisions are carried over from previous Appropriations Acts. The most significant new provisions are described below: Effective September 1, 2011

  • DSHS Rider 62 Community and State Hospitals Bed Capacity

This provision requires DSHS to maintain current civil and forensic bed levels by increasing efficiencies, implementing step-down units, reducing reimbursements for acute care, and increasing efforts to better manage lengths of stay.

  • DSHS Rider 63 Request for Proposal to Privatize a State Mental Health Hospital

This provision directs DSHS to develop a request for proposal (RFP) to privatize one state mental health hospital by September 1, 2012. DSHS must prepare a plan to oversee the privatization of the hospital that takes into account feedback from relevant internal and external stakeholders; the plan is due to the Office of the Governor and LBB by November 30, 2011. Implementation of the privatization of a state hospital is contingent upon approval of the final privatization contract by the Office of the Governor and LBB. The contract must generate at least 10 percent savings annually compared to FY11 levels and be for a minimum of four years. Status reports on the implementation of the RFP and privatization process are due on January 31, 2012, April 30, 2012, and July 31, 2013 to the Office of the Governor and LBB.

  • DSHS Rider 71: Study of the State Mental Health System.

Rider 71 requires DSHS to contract with an independent entity for a study of the state’s mental health system and to make recommendations to improve access, service utilization, patient outcomes, and system efficiencies. The study must review current service delivery models for outpatient and inpatient care, the funding levels, financing methodologies, services provided, and community-based alternatives to hospitalization. The review should look to other states for best practices or models that may be successful in Texas. The study must also review and recommend best value practices that the state’s public mental health system can implement to maximize the use of federal, state and local funds. DSHS is required to submit the final report to the Legislative Budget Board, the office of the Governor, Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and House Public Health Committee not later than September 1, 2012.

  • DSHS Rider 82 Local Service Area Planning.

DSHS is required to develop performance agreements with Local Mental Health Authorities concerning funds appropriated for mental health services. The agreement should give regard to priorites identified by the community through a local needs assessment process and expressed in a local service plan. DSHS is granted flexibility to transfer funds between the mental health strategies (community services for adults, community services for children, and crisis services) in the approval of local service plans. The performance agreements must include outcomes established in the General Appropriations Act for programs administered by the local authority and financed with General Revenue Funds. Performance related to outcomes must be verifiable by DSHS. Measures relating to outputs and unites of service delivered, which may be included in the performance agreement, must be recorded and submitted in accordance with DSHS requirements.

  • Special Provision 17b Addition Cost Containment Initiatives

This provision reduces appropriations to health and human services agencies in anticipation of savings from certain initiatives. Subsection b names cost containment initiatives from DSHS, all pertaining to the Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, including modifications affecting residential units, NorthSTAR billing, and medication issued at the discharge of a patient.



Bills that did not pass:

  • HB 703 (Rep. Gutierrez) Relating to enhanced penalties for assault of a health care services provider.

This bill aimed to amend the Penal Code in such a manner that would have increased the criminal charges associated with the assault of a health care services provider. NAMI Texas was opposed to this bill and worked to ensure that it was not voted successfully out of the committee.  

  • HB 2159 (Rep. Coleman) Relating to the insanity defense in a criminal case.

This bill aimed to revise the current Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGBRI) statute in Texas. NAMI Texas believes that the current NGBRI statute in Texas is antiquated and fails to take into account modern knowledge of brain disorders. As such, NAMI Texas fully supported this bill and will continue to support it in future legislative sessions.

  • HB 3678 (Rep. Brown) Relating to implementation of certain cost-saving measures for the Medicaid vendor drug program and child health plan program prescription drug benefits.

This bill aimed to implement cost saving measures that would have imposed a limit on the number of prescription drugs provided to a Medicaid recipient to 3 per month, regardless of whether that recipient received benefits under the fee-for-service or managed care model. It also would have shifted all prescriptions drug use to generic products in order to achieve a 4% increase in the use of generics versus name brand. NAMI Texas was greatly opposed to this bill due to uncertainty of the conditions of the proposal. We stand by our position that limiting access to prescription drugs for people with mental illness in the name of cost-savings is not a good policy. NAMI Texas will continue to oppose future versions of this bill that put cost-savings before the health of the state.

  • HB 3692 (Gallego) Relating to peace officer interaction with persons with mental illness and to a person’s incompetency to stand trial.

This bill aimed to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure to modify a peace officer’s ineraction with persons with mental illness and authorize an officer to issue a citation in lieu of arresting the person for misdemeanor offenses. As such, the officer would have the option to take the person to the hospital instead of the jail. The bill also aimed to establish a suggestion of incompetency as the minimum threshold required for an informal inquiry in a trial. In addition, the bill would also amend the Occupations Code to require a law enforcement officer to undergo training in mental illness. NAMI Texas strongly supported this bill and will continue to support it in future sessions.


*For more information about legislation affecting DSHS follow this link: and scroll down to the middle of the page.


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