Testimony to the Sunset Advisory Commission
RECOMMENDATIONS RELATED TO EARLY OPPORTUNITIES FOR TEXAS CHILDREN:
Recommendation 1.1: Consolidate the five HHS system agencies into one agency called the Health and Human Services Commission, with divisions established along functional lines and other features as described below.
The Sunset Report identifies many of the challenges facing the health and human services system in Texas, including the need to better integrate services and reduce fragmentation and inefficiency. However, consolidation in itself does not address the biggest challenges facing the health and human services enterprise.
Consolidation will divert attention and resources away from achievable solutions identified by
the Sunset Commission, as well as from coordination efforts state agencies are already pursuing. Opportunities exist now for improving coordination of services, particularly those that can help ensure healthy outcomes for moms and babies. Increasing provider and client education on available health programs, facilitating presumptive eligibility for pregnant women, and smoothing the transition between health programs through measures like auto-enrollment into family planning services are among the many ways the state can increase interconception care and early entry into prenatal care. Texans Care for Children urges the Sunset Commission to identify and support the many opportunities to achieve health care efficiencies prior to pursuing consolidation.