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  H.B. No. 479
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the transfer of the regional emergency medical dispatch
  resource centers program to the Commission on State Emergency
  Communications and a pilot project to provide emergency
  telemedicine medical services in rural areas.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Sections 771.102(a) and (c), Health and Safety
  Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The commission [center], with the assistance of the
  advisory council appointed under Section 773.012, shall administer
  the program in which [establish a program to use] emergency medical
  dispatchers located in regional emergency medical dispatch
  resource centers are used to provide life-saving and other
  emergency medical instructions to persons who need guidance while
  awaiting the arrival of emergency medical personnel.  The purpose
  of a regional emergency medical dispatch resource center is not to
  dispatch personnel or equipment resources but to serve as a
  resource to provide pre-arrival instructions that may be accessed
  by selected public safety answering points that are not adequately
  staffed or funded to provide those services.
         (c)  The commission [center], with the assistance of the
  advisory council, shall:
               (1)  design criteria and protocols and provide
  oversight as needed to conduct the program;
               (2)  collect the necessary data to evaluate the
  program; and
               (3)  report its findings to the legislature.
         SECTION 2.  Sections 771.103, 771.104, and 771.105, Health
  and Safety Code, are amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 771.103.  PARTICIPATION IN PROGRAM. (a) The
  commission [center] shall determine which public safety answering
  points are interested in participating in the program.
         (b)  Participating public safety answering points must agree
  to participate in any required training and to provide regular
  reports required by the commission [center] for the program.
         Sec. 771.104.  SELECTION OF PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS AND
  REGIONAL EMERGENCY MEDICAL DISPATCH RESOURCE CENTERS. (a) The
  commission [center], with the assistance of the advisory council,
  may select public safety answering points to participate in the
  program or to serve as regional emergency medical dispatch resource
  centers.  A public safety answering point may participate in the
  program and serve as a regional emergency medical dispatch resource
  center.  A public safety answering point selected for the program or
  to serve as a resource center must:
               (1)  have a fully functional quality assurance program
  that measures each emergency medical dispatcher's compliance with
  the medical protocol;
               (2)  have dispatch personnel who meet the requirements
  for emergency medical dispatcher certification or the equivalent as
  determined by the Department of State Health Services;
               (3)  use emergency medical dispatch protocols approved
  by a physician medical director knowledgeable in emergency medical
  dispatch;
               (4)  have sufficient experience in providing
  pre-arrival instructions; and
               (5)  have sufficient resources to handle the additional
  workload and responsibilities of the program.
         (b)  In selecting an existing public safety answering point
  to act as a resource center, the commission [center] shall consider
  a public safety answering point's ability to keep records and
  produce reports to measure the effectiveness of the program.  The
  commission [center] shall share information regarding a public
  safety answering point's abilities with the advisory council.
         Sec. 771.105.  CRITERIA FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL DISPATCH
  INTERVENTION. The commission [center], with the assistance of the
  advisory council, shall define criteria that establish the need for
  emergency medical dispatch intervention to be used by participating
  public safety answering points to determine which calls are to be
  transferred to the regional emergency medical dispatch resource
  center for emergency medical dispatch intervention.
         SECTION 3.  Sections 771.106(a), (b), and (d), Health and
  Safety Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  State [Money in the 9-1-1 services fee fund and other
  state] funds may be appropriated to [The University of Texas
  Medical Branch at Galveston on behalf of] the commission [center]
  to fund the program.
         (b)  The commission may [University of Texas Medical Branch
  at Galveston on behalf of the center and the center are also
  authorized to] seek grant funding for the program.
         (d)  The provisions in this subchapter that require the
  commission [center] to [establish,] conduct[,] and evaluate the
  program are contingent on the commission [center] receiving funding
  in accordance with this section.  If a sufficient number of
  political subdivisions in a region that could be served by a program
  offer to pay the commission [center] an amount that in the
  aggregate, together with any other funding received under this
  section, is sufficient to fund the program for the region, [The
  University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, on behalf of] the
  commission [center]:
               (1)  shall enter into contracts with the offering
  political subdivisions under which each will pay an appropriate
  share of the cost; and
               (2)  when the amount under the signed contracts,
  together with any other funding received under this section, is
  sufficient to fund the program for the region, shall implement the
  program for the region.
         SECTION 4.  Section 771.107, Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 771.107.  REPORT TO LEGISLATURE.  The commission
  [center] shall biennially report its findings to the governor, the
  presiding officer of each house of the legislature, and the
  advisory council no later than January 1 of each odd-numbered year.
         SECTION 5.  Section 771.109(a), Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The commission [center] may appoint a program work group
  to assist the commission [center] in [developing,] implementing[,]
  and evaluating the program and preparing a report on the
  commission's [center's] findings.
         SECTION 6.  Chapter 771, Health and Safety Code, is amended
  by adding Subchapter F to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER F. NEXT GENERATION 9-1-1 TELEMEDICINE MEDICAL
  SERVICES PILOT PROJECT
         Sec. 771.151.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
               (1)  "Center" means the area health education center at
  the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center that meets the
  requirements of 42 U.S.C. Section 294a and has received federal
  funding as an area health education center.
               (2)  "Emergency medical services" means services used
  to respond to an individual's perceived need for immediate medical
  care and to prevent death or aggravation of physiological or
  psychological illness or injury.
               (3)  "Emergency medical services provider" means a
  person who uses or maintains emergency medical services vehicles,
  medical equipment, and emergency medical services personnel to
  provide emergency medical services.
               (4)  "Emergency prehospital care" means care provided
  to the sick or injured before or during transportation to a medical
  facility, and includes any necessary stabilization of the sick or
  injured in connection with that transportation.
               (5)  "Regional trauma resource center" means a trauma
  facility that the center selects to participate in the project.
               (6)  "Rural area" means:
                     (A)  a county with a population of 50,000 or less;
  or
                     (B)  a large, isolated, and sparsely populated
  area of a county with a population of more than 50,000.
               (7)  "Telemedicine medical service" means a health care
  service that is initiated by a physician or provided by a health
  professional acting under physician delegation and supervision,
  that is provided for purposes of patient assessment by a health
  professional, diagnosis or consultation by a physician, or
  treatment, or for the transfer of medical data, and that requires
  the use of advanced telecommunications technology, other than
  telephone or facsimile technology, including:
                     (A)  compressed digital interactive video, audio,
  or data transmission;
                     (B)  clinical data transmission using computer
  imaging by way of still-image capture and store and forward; and
                     (C)  other technology that facilitates access to
  health care services or medical specialty expertise.
               (8)  "Trauma facility" means a health care facility
  that is capable of comprehensive treatment of seriously injured
  persons and is a part of an emergency medical services and trauma
  care system.
         Sec. 771.152.  ESTABLISHMENT OF PILOT PROJECT. (a) The
  commission, with the assistance of the center, shall establish a
  pilot project to provide emergency medical services instruction and
  emergency prehospital care instruction through a telemedicine
  medical service provided by regional trauma resource centers to:
               (1)  health care providers in rural area trauma
  facilities; and
               (2)  emergency medical services providers in rural
  areas.
         (b)  The commission shall provide technical assistance to
  the center in implementing the pilot project.
         (c)  The center, with the assistance of the commission,
  shall:
               (1)  design criteria and protocols for the telemedicine
  medical service and related instruction and provide the oversight
  necessary to conduct the pilot project;
               (2)  define criteria to determine when telemedicine
  medical services that provide instructions for emergency medical
  services, emergency prehospital care, and trauma care should be
  transferred to an emergency medical resource center for
  intervention; and
               (3)  collect the data necessary to evaluate the
  project.
         (d)  The center may make available appropriate resources for
  individuals who do not speak English.
         Sec. 771.153.  STAFF. The center shall provide the
  telemedicine medical service and related instruction for the pilot
  project through health care providers in regional trauma resource
  centers, including physicians, pharmacists, emergency medical
  personnel, and other health professionals acting under physician
  delegation and supervision.
         Sec. 771.154.  PARTICIPATION IN PILOT PROJECT. (a) The
  center shall determine the trauma facilities and emergency medical
  services providers that are interested in participating in the
  pilot project.
         (b)  A trauma facility or emergency medical services
  provider participating in the pilot project must agree to
  successfully complete any required training and to provide all
  reports required by the center for the project.
         Sec. 771.155.  SELECTION OF PROJECT PARTICIPANTS AND
  REGIONAL TRAUMA RESOURCE CENTERS. (a) The center, with the
  assistance of the commission, may select trauma facilities and
  emergency medical services providers to participate in the pilot
  project and select trauma facilities to serve as regional trauma
  resource centers.
         (b)  A trauma facility may not be selected to participate in
  the project or to serve as a regional trauma resource center unless
  the facility:
               (1)  has a quality assurance program that measures each
  health care provider's compliance with the medical protocol;
               (2)  uses emergency medical services and emergency
  prehospital care protocols approved by a physician medical director
  knowledgeable in emergency medical services and emergency
  prehospital care;
               (3)  has experience in providing emergency medical
  services and emergency prehospital care that the center determines
  is sufficient; and
               (4)  has resources sufficient to provide the additional
  telemedicine medical services and related instruction required for
  the pilot project in addition to the health care services already
  provided by the facility.
         (c)  In selecting a trauma facility to serve as a regional
  trauma resource center, the center shall consider the facility
  personnel's ability to maintain records and produce reports to
  measure the effectiveness of the pilot project. The center shall
  share information regarding that ability with the commission.
         Sec. 771.156.  FUNDING OF PILOT PROJECT. (a) Money
  collected under Section 771.072(f) may be appropriated to the
  commission to fund the pilot project.
         (b)  The center may seek grants to fund the pilot project.
         (c)  A political subdivision with a trauma facility that
  participates in the pilot project may pay part of the costs of the
  pilot project.
         (d)  If a sufficient number of political subdivisions in a
  region that may be served by the pilot project agree to pay the
  center an amount that together with other funding received under
  this section is sufficient to fund the pilot project for the region,
  the center shall:
               (1)  contract with the political subdivisions for each
  to pay an appropriate share of the cost; and
               (2)  implement the project for the region when the
  amounts agreed to in the contracts and any other funding received
  under this section are sufficient to fund the project for the
  region.
         Sec. 771.157.  REPORT TO LEGISLATURE. The center, in
  cooperation with the commission, shall report its findings to the
  governor and the presiding officer of each house of the
  legislature, not later than December 31, 2020.
         Sec. 771.158.  LIABILITY. The operations of the center and a
  regional trauma resource center are considered to be the provision
  of 9-1-1 services for purposes of Section 771.053. Employees of and
  volunteers at the regional trauma resource center have the same
  protection from liability as a member of the governing body of a
  public agency under Section 771.053.
         Sec. 771.159.  WORK GROUP. (a) The center may appoint a
  project work group to assist the center in developing,
  implementing, and evaluating the project and preparing a report on
  the center's findings.
         (b)  A member of the work group is not entitled to
  compensation for serving on the project work group and may not be
  reimbursed for travel or other expenses incurred while conducting
  the business of the project work group.
         (c)  The project work group is not subject to Chapter 2110,
  Government Code.
         Sec. 771.160.  EXPIRATION. This subchapter expires January
  1, 2021.
         
         SECTION 7.  Sections 771.101 and 771.102(b), Health and
  Safety Code, are repealed.
         SECTION 8.  (a)  In this section:
               (1)  "Center" means the area health education center at
  The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston that meets the
  requirements of 42 U.S.C. Section 294a and has received federal
  funding as an area health education center.
               (2)  "Program" means the regional emergency medical
  dispatch resource centers program established under Subchapter E,
  Chapter 771, Health and Safety Code, as that subchapter existed
  before amendment by this Act.
         (b)  On the effective date of this Act, the administration of
  the program is transferred from the center to the Commission on
  State Emergency Communications and all unspent and unobligated
  funds appropriated by the legislature to The University of Texas
  Medical Branch at Galveston on behalf of the center to fund the
  program are transferred to the commission.
         (c)  The Commission on State Emergency Communications with
  the agreement of the center may accept the transfer of any records,
  employees, or real or personal property of the center relating to
  the operation of the program.
         SECTION 9.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2015.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 479 was passed by the House on April
  15, 2015, by the following vote:  Yeas 140, Nays 1, 1 present, not
  voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B.
  No. 479 on May 22, 2015, by the following vote:  Yeas 128, Nays 4, 2
  present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 479 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 21, 2015, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays
  0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor