SENATE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE 
                            Subcommittee on Trauma Care 
                             Thursday, February 7, 2002 
                                     1:00 p.m. 
                           Capitol Extension, Room E1.036 
         Pursuant to a notice posted in accordance with Senate Rule  
         11.18, a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance was  
         held on Thursday, February 7, 2002, in the Capitol Extension,  
         Room E1.036, at Austin, Texas. 
         MEMBERS PRESENT:                         
         Senator Chris Harris                     
         Senator Mike Jackson                     
         Senator Jon Lindsay                      
         Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.                 
         Senator Judith Zaffirini                 
         Senator Chris Harris, the acting chair, called the meeting to  
         order at 1:07 p.m.  The following business was transacted:   
         Senator Harris announced that the subcommittee on Trauma Care  
         will follow the same rules adopted by the Senate Finance  
         Committee as a whole.  The Chair briefly reviewed the Trauma  
         Care charge issued by Lt. Gov. Ratliff and Speaker Laney and  
         welcomed opening remarks from Senators Zaffirini and Lindsay. 
         It is the intent of the Chair to hold subcommittee hearings in  
         the Rio Grande Valley, Houston and the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.   
         Specific dates have yet to be determined. 
         The Chair called the following invited witnesses to provide oral  
              Kathy Perkins, Bureau Chief, Texas Department of Health,  
              answered questions from the committee and gave a detailed  
              presentation on the Texas Trauma System. 
              Guy Clifton, MD, answered questions from the committee and  
              gave examples of current emergency room crises.  Dr.  
              Clifton provided insight on the troubles hospitals face due  
              to capacity problems.  Many patients do not receive the  
              care they need because emergency rooms and intensive care  
              units are full.  He explained the "Golden Hour" and how  
              crucial it is for patients to be able to receive care  
              immediately no matter if they are in a rural or urban area. 
              Charlene Seale, registered nurse, Texas Panhandle Northwest  
              Texas Hospital, answered questions from the committee and  
              spoke at length on the importance of trauma care facilities  
              in rural areas.  
              Mike McKinney, answered questions from the committee. 
              Camille Miller, President/CEO, Texas Institute for Health  
              Policy Research, answered questions and provided the  
              committee with a handout entitled, Trauma Care in Texas:  
              Where Are We Now?   
              Jorie Klein, registered nurse, Parkland Health and Hospital  
              System, answered questions from the committee and gave an  
              overview on staffing problems that hospitals face. She  
              explained how patients are having to wait longer for health  
              care because there simply are not enough trained nurses on  
              staff.  Also, hospitals are being forced to go on  
              diversions longer because of short staffing.  
              Donna George, representing Trauma Regional Advisory  
              Councils,  gave an overview on the Texas Trauma System.   
              She illustrated that Texas is divided into 22 Trauma  
              Service Areas with a Regional Advisory Council to represent  
              each area. 
              Eric Eploy, executive director, GETAC Diversion Task Force,  
              answered questions from the committee and gave a briefing  
              on the Diversion Task Force.  He explained the dangers of  
              EMS units being on diversion and what impact that has on  
              patient care. 
         Senator Lucio made a short statement on health care problems  
         faced in the Rio Grande area.  Due to rising insurance premiums  
         many physicians in his area have been forced to abandon their  
         practices.  He reiterated the importance of this interim  
         committee charge.  
         The Chair thanked all the invited witnesses for their time and  
         There being no further business, at 3:32 p.m. Senator Harris  
         moved that the Committee stand recessed subject to the call of  
         the Chair.  Without objection, it was so ordered.   
         Senator Chris Harris, Chair 
         Amber Martin, Clerk