Policy UpdatesTexas Senate Committee on Health & Human Services – SB 674

Texas Senate Committee on Health & Human Services – SB 674

On March 1, 2017, MMHPI President and CEO Andy Keller, PhD, was invited testimony at the Texas Senate Committee on Health & Human Services. Senate Bill 674, relating to licensing for certain health professions, including an expedited process for certain physicians specializing in psychiatry, was filed by Senator Charles Schwertner. 

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Texas counties with Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) for mental health (Sept 2013)


Texas counties without a psychiatrist

During Dr. Keller’s testimony to the committee, he presented quantitative data on mental health workforce shortage, citing three main drivers for these issues

  1. Restrictive licensing – Texas is one of only eight states with no physician reciprocity; similar restrictions exist for other professionals.
  2. Too few residency slots – Texas needs at least twice as many residency slots that target the right types of needed care (e.g., public sector, community-based care).
  3. Training infrastructure – We asked residency training directors in 2014 how many new psychiatric residency slots they could develop with unlimited funds, and they said 13. The main limiting factors cited included the need for additional faculty, facilities, and placements