AUSTIN—The Texas Health Improvement Network (THIN) is proposing five interim charges for consideration for the 86th Texas Legislature.
The 84th Texas Legislature established THIN in order to address urgent health care challenges, improve the health care system in Texas and the nation, and develop health care initiatives, policies, and best practices that are based on population health research.
THIN is managed by The University of Texas System Population Health initiative, under the leadership of David Lakey, MD, former Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.
“Texas faces multiple challenges related to health and health care,” said Lakey, now Chief Medical Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor for Population Health UT System. “However, there are multiple opportunities to improve health through better data collection and analysis, collaboration and partnerships, smart policy, and strategic use of our limited resources. These proposed charges are aimed at seizing those opportunities.”
THIN is a multi-institutional, cross-sector network of researchers, experts, and leaders in population health improvement. Its 24-member Advisory Council includes representatives from a broad range of major stakeholders in state health policy, care, and prevention.
“We are focused on strategies that can help our systems become less reactive and more preventive,” said Lewis Foxhall, MD, THIN Advisory Council Presiding Officer and Vice President for Health Policy at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. “We are also looking for strategic ways to reduce health disparities and improve access to care.”
THIN’s proposed interim charges are to:
- Develop recommendations to modify state rules and policies to improve state agencies’ and academic/health institutions’ access to high-value data in order to guide and improve population health initiatives.
- Identify and describe barriers faced by the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and the Employees Retirement System (ERS) to expanding targeted investments in disease prevention.
- Identify programs that have demonstrated a reduction in Medicaid health care expenditures through a prevention approach, particularly programs that address social factors that influence health.
- Identify the impact and potential opportunities resulting from federal changes in the Medicaid program.
- Identify and study barriers and opportunities to improving health and health care in rural Texas.
The proposed charges are described in more detail in a report from The University of Texas System Population Health initiative. The report, and more information on THIN, are available at TexasHealthImprovement.org.
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