10/26/2016 11:09:31 AM

Texana Center hosted a visit by Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Charles Smith,who was selected by Governor Greg Abbott to serve as Commissioner for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in June, 2016.

Commissioner Smith spent two hours with Texana Center.  He toured the Children’s Center for Autism; giving him an opportunity to see the program in action.  He also heard from each of Texana’s Division Directors about their top issues and concerns.  Danette Castle, CEO and Lee Johnson, Deputy Director at the Texas Council of Community Services were present.  In addition, Texana Board of Trustees Chair Dianne Wilson and newly appointed Board member Dr. Mary desVignes-Kendrick were also in attendance.

Listed below were some of the concerns that were shared:

Specialized Services – Kate Johnson-Patagoc, Director

Funding for ECI expanded caseload growth (exceptional item #6 in LAR) and improving the ECI funding mechanism to make it sustainable

  1. Add intensive behavior intervention/ABA to the Medicaid state plan for clients with ASD (exceptional item #26)
  2. Licensure for Behavior Analysts under TMB


Behavioral Healthcare Services – Shena Timberlake, Director

  1. Sustainability for our DSRIP projects (Crisis Center and Primary Care Integration) which are almost 100% low income, uninsured
  2. Lack of state hospital beds for the very sick, potentially violent population requiring a longer term stay that cannot be served using community psychiatric beds
  3. Low Medicaid managed care reimbursement rates for Psychiatrists which are not adequate and must be supplemented with general revenue and which directly affect access for this population which makes current access standards impossible to meet.


IDD Authority Services – Sheri Talbot, Director

 Funding for waiver slots for individuals transitioning/diverting from facilities and for eligible individuals on the Waiver Interest Lists.

  1. Funding to sustain initiatives for Transition Support Teams, Enhanced Community Coordination, and Crisis Respite to support successful transition for individuals with IDD.
  2. Developing the role of the LIDDA in the implementation of Managed Care Long Term Services and Supports, to include eligibility, targeted case management, coordination with MCOs and Community First Choice.


IDD Provider Services – Kevin Barker, Director

  1. Funding to support a successful State Transition Plan for compliance with the HCBS settings rule.  Specifically, rates to support community based day activities comparable to the life-style and routines previously afforded to individuals through facility based Day Habilitation programs. (DADS LAR Exceptional Item #40)
  2. Developing innovative programs for adults in employment and community-life enhancement.
  3. Funding to increase the wages of direct care staff, enhancing continuity and quality of care (DADS LAR Exceptional Items #38 and #39).

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