Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2614
By: Solis, Jim
Public Health


During the 76th legislative interim, the Senate Subcommittee on Border
Affairs studied dental health as a part of a broader charge to find ways to
improve the overall condition of health along the Texas-Mexico border.
Testimony provided to the committee indicated that only 26 percent of
children eligible for Medicaid received dental screenings in 1996, and the
percentage of children receiving such care is predicted to be lower in
rural areas.  When children do not receive oral health care at an early
age, it can lead to more serious problems such as gum disease, which are
more difficult and costly to treat in the long run.  House Bill 2614
establishes a dental care pilot program in the border region to serve
indigent children. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 2614 requires the Texas Department of Health (TDH) to develop
and implement a dental care pilot program (program) to provide dental
services to indigent children in border-region counties selected by TDH.
The bill requires the Texas Board of Health (board) to establish
eligibility criteria for program participants.  The criteria must require
that participants live within the identified region, have a family income
at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level, and provide a
parent's or guardian's written consent to receipt of dental services.  TDH
is required to determine which dental services are to be provided to
participants, which may include screenings, filling cavities, cleaning
teeth, and other services.  The bill requires TDH to ensure that a
participant receives services provided through the program at no cost and
that the quality of the services is frequently monitored and evaluated.
The bill requires the board to establish eligibility criteria and any other
procedures or requirements necessary to implement the program as soon as
practicable after September 1, 2001.  The bill requires TDH to submit a
report to the legislature no later than December 1, 2002 that includes
recommendations and an analysis of the program's costeffectiveness and
effect on the quality of dental care received by participants.  The program
ends September 1, 2003. 


September 1, 2001.