House Public Health Committee
Testimony on SB 58
My name is Greg Hansch. I work as Policy Coordinator for the Texas chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also known as NAMI Texas. My testimony is on SB 58.
NAMI Texas has 27 local affiliates throughout Texas and nearly 5,000 members made up of mental health consumers, family members, friends, and professionals. Our purpose is to help improve the lives of people affected by mental illness through education, support, and advocacy.
On behalf of NAMI Texas, I strongly encourage the Committee to strengthen the extent to which SB 58 allows for local choice and choice among providers. As a general principle, local communities should be given the opportunity to determine what model of mental health services delivery system best fits their individual needs. In this case, they should be able to choose whether they want a carve-in, carve-out, or traditional fee-for-service model. Local decision-makers, mental health stakeholders, and individual Texans know better than anyone else does which system will work best in their respective area and should not be forced by the state to accept any one model.
It is also important that, if this carve-in is approved, HMOs should be free to credential any provider that meets national credentialing criteria. Requiring providers to meet any other standards beside the national standards that already exist would create unnecessary, unjustified barriers to qualified providers being able to help meet the state’s need for Medicaid case management and psychosocial rehabilitation services. In order to make our provider network robust and inclusive, we should open eligibility to the network for any provider meeting the nationally-recognized credentialing standards that HMOs have.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you today. I’m happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Policy Coordinator, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Texas
(512) 693-2000 (office) (908) 229-7082 (cell)