Advocate for Texas' Moms and Babies
The March of Dimes Texas Chapter leads policy and legislative efforts that support our mission of improving the health of women of childbearing age, infants and children by reducing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The key to that success is the commitment and involvement of our grassroots volunteers in demonstrating to policy makers and legislators how the work that we do saves lives in Texas. Below are details about our current policy priorities. We hope you will be inspired to get involved in these efforts - do so by clicking here to join our Texas Advocacy Network.
Texas Advocacy Issues and Priorities * Volunteer Opportunities * Stay Informed
CCHD Toolkit for Healthcare Providers * CCHD Information for Families
Texas Advocacy Issues and Priorities
The March of Dimes, through support from our large volunteer network, successfully advocated for over 20 legislative priorities during the Texas Legislature’s 83rd Regular Session which ended May 27, 2013. Below is information on the top 6 priorities which passed that we feel will have the biggest impact on maternal and infant health in Texas.
HB 10 Funding for Medicaid Shortfall for 2013: On March 13, 2013, the Governor signed HB 10 into law. HB 10 contained emergency appropriations funding for various Texas programs including funding for Medicaid & CHIP. During the last legislative session, the Legislature had deferred $4.7 billion in Medicaid funding until January 2013. HB 10 provided this funding so that the pregnant women and newborns in Texas will continue to receive services through the rest of 2013. The March of Dimes played a key role in getting HB 10 enacted and wishes to thank Rep. Jim Pitts and Sen. Tommy Williams for their leadership on this effort.
HB 740 by Rep. Myra Crownover to provide newborn screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease: On May 16, 2013, HB 740 was sent to the Governor for his signature. HB 740 will add screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease to the panel of screenings received by all newborns in Texas. Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are the number one cause of infant deaths from birth defects. It is a problem with the heart’s structure and/or function which is present at birth. Critical congenital heart disease (CCHD) is a subgroup of all congenital heart defects that affects approximately 4,800 babies born in the United States each year, and over 550 babies each year in Texas. Babies with CCHD have severe, life-threatening symptoms that require intervention, such as surgery, in the first few hours, days, or months of life. The screening that HB 740 provides will allow for early detection and timely intervention for CCHD, which can decrease morbidity and mortality and lead to better outcomes for the baby. The March of Dimes was integrally involved in the drafting and advancement of HB 740 and wishes to thank Rep. Myra Crownover and Sen. Bob Deuell for their leadership on this effort.
SB 64 by Senator Jane Nelson relating to a policy on vaccine-preventable diseases for licensed child care facilities: On May 28, 2013, SB 64 was sent to the Governor for his signature. SB 64 will require all licensed child care facilities to develop a policy for vaccine-preventable diseases for their employees. Historically, the March of Dimes has been centrally involved in vaccine issues. Vaccines are among the most effective means of preventing infectious diseases. Like health care workers, adults working in child care centers face an increased exposure to bacteria and viruses. Child care workers also can pose additional risks to a vulnerable child population. SB 64 will help protect the health of our children. The March of Dimes strongly advocated for SB 64 and wishes to thank Sen. Jane Nelson and Rep. John Zerwas for their leadership on this effort.
HB 15 by Rep. Lois Kolkhorst relating to level of care designations for hospitals that provide neonatal and maternal services: On May 20, 2013, HB 15 was sent to the Governor for his signature. HB 15 will assign level of care designations to each Texas hospital based on the neonatal and maternal services provided at the hospital. It will also prohibit a hospital from receiving a level of care designation if it does not meet the minimum requirements for that level of care. Since 1976 the March of Dimes® has advocated for standard definitions of levels of neonatal care, and has recently supported the new definitions of levels of care issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012. The March of Dimes strongly advocated for HB 15 and wishes to thank Rep. Lois Kolkhorst and Sen. Jane Nelson for their leadership on this effort.
HB 1605 by Rep. Sarah Davis relating to the establishment of a pilot program in Harris County to provide maternity care management to certain women enrolled in the Medicaid managed care program: On May 26, 2013, HB 1605 was sent to the Governor for his signature. The goal of HB 1605 is to provide a comprehensive maternity care model to low income women in a non-emergency setting to promote healthy pregnancies and better birth outcomes for both the woman and child. The pilot will include obstetricians/gynecologists, primary care providers, physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, nurse practitioners and social workers. The March of Dimes took the lead on getting HB 1605 passed and wishes to thank Rep. Sarah Davis and Sen. Joan Huffman for their leadership on this effort.
SB 63 by Sen. Jane Nelson relating to consent to the immunization of certain children: On May 20, 2013, SB 63 was sent to the Governor for his signature. More than 50,000 Texas teens give birth each year and these teen parents may consent to the vaccination of their children. However, these teen parents currently are not allowed to consent to their own vaccinations. This practice prevents these parents from providing the cocoon environment for their children that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends and it increases the infant’s risk of vaccine-preventable diseases. SB 63 will allow these teen parents to provide a safe environment for their children, and it will help stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases. The March of Dimes strongly advocated for SB 63 and wishes to thank Sen. Jane Nelson and Rep. J.D. Sheffield for their leadership on this effort.
All in all the 83rd Texas Legislative Session was very successful for the March of Dimes. We especially want to thank all of the legislators and their staff who worked tirelessly on behalf of Texas mothers and babies. We also want to give a special thanks to you, our volunteers, who gave of your time to support our legislative efforts.
- Sign up for the March of Dimes Advocacy Network to receive updates and action alerts related to our advocacy priorities. Click here to sign up to participate in the Texas Advocacy Network.
- Like the Texas Chapter on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Learn more about the March of Dimes federal priorities.