By: Senator Boris Miles

I have sent Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick a list of health care interim charge
recommendations for the Texas Senate to consider. While the Texas Legislature is not in session, the Senate will study and review a list of interim charges to be discussed in each committee.

Only a select group of issues are addressed, but these charges gain increased visibility and are more likely to be on the policy agenda for the next session. The COVID-19 pandemic has made many of the problems in our health care system visible to everyone. As the senior ranking Democrat on the Health and Human Services Committee, I have laid out an ambitious agenda to improve health care in Texas.

One of the biggest issues facing Texas is our shortage of health care workers. Texas hospitals have been struggling with historically low staffing levels due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Numerous medical professionals, from physicians to nurses in several specialties have been
leaving their profession because of new opportunities, retirement and in many cases, burnout. I am dedicated to ensuring that we not only educate our future medical professionals but also attract and keep the best and brightest here in Texas.

The Health and Human Services Committee needs to develop plans for expanding the health care workforce. We have shortages of doctors, nurses and mental health care workers. We need to make sure potential workers are aware of existing state incentive programs and explore new ways to attract people to the health care fields.

Action is necessary to keep up with the health care needs of our community and make certain that hospitals and health care facilities, like those in the Texas Medical Center, have the staff to care for Texans in need. Over the last few legislative sessions, I have lead in the creation of two medical schools in Texas at Sam Houston State University and the University of Houston. I have also supported the many nursing and health profession programs in the Houston area.

Addressing the labor shortage is a top priority that needs to be studied by the Health and Human Services Committee. You can find the full list of my interim charge recommendations here.

Now is the time to make plans for legislation to improve the health of Texans.