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 individuals. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Board of Health in SECTION 1
of this bill. 


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 Texas residents in border-region counties selected by
TDH.  The bill requires the Texas Board of Health (board) by rule to
establish eligibility criteria for program participants.  The criteria must
require that participants live within the identified region, have an income
below a maximum income level specified by TDH rule, and provide 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 adopt
rules necessary to implement the program and for TDH to submit a report to
the legislature no later than December 1, 2002 that includes
recommendations and an analysis of the program's cost-effectiveness and
effect on the quality of dental care received by participants.  The program
ends September 1, 2003. 


September 1, 2001.