Austin, Texas
April 1, 2019

Honorable Senfronia Thompson, Chair, House Committee on Public Health
John McGeady, Assistant Director     Sarah Keyton, Assistant Director
Legislative Budget Board
HB10 by Thompson, Senfronia (Relating to the creation of the Texas Mental and Behavioral Health Research Institute.), Committee Report 1st House, Substituted

Depending on the amount of funding distributed by the Texas Mental and Behavioral Health Research Institute, there would be some fiscal impact to the state.

The bill would establish the Texas Mental and Behavioral Health Research Institute at the Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The institute would create best practices, leadership, and vision for addressing child and adolescent behavioral health needs and provide funding for researching behavioral health issues. The institute would be administratively attached to THECB, which could use up to 3 percent of the institute's funds for providing administrative support to the institute and would assist the institute in creating a website.

The institute would consist of thirteen health-related institutions of higher education (HRIs), three representatives of nonprofit organizations that focus on mental health care, and representatives from the Health and Human Services Commission and THECB. The institute would provide funding to HRIs for research efforts; disseminating best-practice guidelines; recruiting researchers and clinicians; training students, residents, and fellows in connection to a research effort under the bill; and clinical trials, studies, or other patient programs approved by an institutional review board.

The bill would also require the institute to establish a mental health, behavioral health, and substance use disorder research program to provide funding to member HRIs for a range of activities related to researching, preventing, and treating conditions related to mental and behavioral health and substance use. The institute would be allowed to prioritize funding awards to an IHE that applies in partnership with a state agency or other institution. The institute would be required to evaluate research projects on their alignment with the statewide behavioral health strategic plan or whether they address key issues identified by the institute.

The cost, timing, and institutional recipients of the funding authorized by the bill are not known. Costs of the funding may vary depending on the size, infrastructure, and existing resources of the member institutions.

For illustrative purposes, the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth estimated they would need approximately $2.9 million over the next biennium to implement the provisions of the bill. Their estimate includes costs related to hiring providers (including behavioral health specialists and a pharmacist), faculty, and staff members; telemedicine units for each provider; and ongoing administrative costs related to running an educational program and community monitoring program. Costs at other HRIs would vary depending on the staff and infrastructure currently available to implement provisions of the bill.

The institute would be required to implement a provision of the bill only if the legislature appropriates money specifically for that purpose. If the legislature does not appropriate money specifically for that purpose, the institute may, but is not required to, implement the provision using other money available to the institute for that purpose. The institute would be eligible for funding through bond proceeds if a constitutional amendment providing for general obligation bonds to fund research, treatment, and access to services for behavioral health, mental health, and substance use and addition is approved by voters.

The Texas Board of Pharmacy, Health and Human Services Commission, and Department of State Health Services indicate no significant costs to their agencies.

Local Government Impact

The fiscal implications of the bill cannot be determined at this time. There could be some impact to local units of government who partner with an IHE that is awarded funding under the provisions of the bill.

Source Agencies:
347 Public Finance Authority, 352 Bond Review Board, 515 Board of Pharmacy, 529 Health and Human Services Commission, 537 State Health Services, Department of, 710 Texas A&M University System Administrative and General Offices, 720 The University of Texas System Administration, 758 Texas State University System, 768 Texas Tech University System Administration, 769 University of North Texas System Administration, 781 Higher Education Coordinating Board, 783 University of Houston System Administration, 507 Texas Board of Nursing, 212 Office of Court Administration, Texas Judicial Council
LBB Staff: