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Sen. Hinojosa, Rep. Guerra, Rep. Lucio, III, DHR Health President Turley among state leaders to headline The Texas Tribune’s “Future of Health Care” forum on Wednesday, January 29, at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance 1

Featured: As a young girl anticipating Christmas 2019 wishfully looks on, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, delivers wrapped presents for deserving South Texas children to the third annual Christmas Bash & Toy Drive, hosted by Congressman Vicente González and his wife, Lorena Sáenz González, on Monday evening, December 2, 2019, at the Embassy Suites in McAllen.

Photograph By ISMAEL GARCÍA

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Sen. Hinojosa, Rep. Guerra, Rep. Lucio, III, DHR Health President Turley among state leaders to headline The Texas Tribune’s “Future of Health Care” forum on Wednesday, January 29, at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

The Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, owned and operated by DHR Health, will once again be the center of important statewide attention when it serves as the site for a “Future of Health Care” forum, which is free and open to the public, on Wednesday, January 29, 2020.

The event, which is being presented by The Texas Tribune, is part of an ongoing series exploring the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Texas’ government, businesses and civic communities as part of our yearlong celebration of the Tribune’s 10th anniversary, according to the online publication.

Interested individuals may register for the event at:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-future-of-health-care-registration-83659211955

Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, Rep. Eddie Lucio, III, D-Brownsville, Sen. Nathan Johnson, D-Dallas, Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, and Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo are among the state legislators confirmed, as of Friday, January 24, 2020, to participate in the event.

Susan Turley, President of DHR Health, also is one of the health care experts scheduled to be featured in one of the panel discussions.

The Texas Tribune is the only member-supported, digital-first, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government, and statewide issues, the media outlet also reports.

In its invitation to the public, The Texas Tribune provides its reasons and goals for the assembly, which will draw attention throughout the Lone Star State and beyond:

“Join us as we travel to Edinburg for a daylong series of conversations on health care issues affecting a state with the most uninsured citizens of any in the country. We’ll sit down with lawmakers, thought leaders and medical professionals from all corners of the state for talks on providing better and more affordable health care access for Texas’ fast-growing and dynamically diversifying population, the rising costs of health care for both patients and providers, health expenditures in the state budget, the rural health crisis, the role technology and innovation play in the future of health care, and other persistent challenges.”

The “Future of Health Care” panel discussions will be held in Conference Halls A & B in the 54,000-square foot, state-of-the-art Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance.

The gathering of renowned guests, which begins at 8 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m., will include a light breakfast and lunch, at no cost for the attending public, who also will have access to free parking next to the facility.

Susan Turley, Rep. Eddie Lucio, III

Susan Turley, President of DHR Health, is among the numerous experts on South Texas health care issues who were invited by The Texas Tribune to share their views. She is included in the first-panel discussion, scheduled from 8:40 a.m. to 9:40 a.m., titled “Getting a Handle on Costs”.

DHR Health is the region’s only physician-owned health system and the only locally owned and operated hospital left in Hidalgo and Cameron counties. Anchored in southwest Edinburg, with a growing presence in neighboring McAllen, DHR Health offers, on its 130-acre site, some of the most comprehensive medical care on the U.S. southern border, with more than 1,400 nurses and 650+ physicians providing care in 70+ specialties and sub-specialties.

Also, DHR Health is the flagship teaching hospital for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) School of Medicine and encompasses a general acute hospital with the only dedicated women’s hospital south of San Antonio, a rehabilitation hospital, a behavioral hospital, more than 60 clinics Valley-wide, advanced cancer services, the only transplant program in the Rio Grande Valley – and the only functioning 24/7 Level 1 Trauma Center south of San Antonio.

According to Turley, DHR Health has made an estimated $4 billion economic impact in the Valley in the past 12 years.

Scheduled to join Turley on the “Getting a Handle on Costs” panel conversation from 8:40 a.m. to 9:40 a.m. are:

• Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville. Lucio is Chair of the House Committee on Insurance, and is a member of the House Committee on Public Health, and the Statewide Health Care Costs Committee;

• David Balat, Director of the Right on Healthcare initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation; and

• Lisa Kirsch, Senior Policy Director at Dell Medical School at Austin, and former Chief Deputy Medicaid/CHIP Director for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The discussion will be moderated by Edgar Walters, a health care reporter for The Texas Tribune.

Walters is also an associate editor for The Texas Tribune, where he started as an intern in 2013. Before that, he had a political reporting fellowship with the Berliner Zeitung, a daily newspaper in Berlin. He is a graduate of the Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked as an editor for The Daily Texan. When not in the newsroom or at the Capitol, he can be found on the volleyball court, standing 6 feet, 7 inches tall. Read Articles by Edgar Walters

Sen. Nathan Johnson, D-Dallas, will be one of the speakers in “More Access, Better Outcomes” from 9:55 a.m. to 10:55 a.m. Johnson is a member of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, the Senate Committee of Veteran Affairs and Border Security, the Sense Committee on Health and Human Services, and the Senate Committee on Water and Rural Affairs. 

“Health Care & the Texas Legislature”

The majority of invited state lawmakers will gather for “Health Care & The Texas Legislature”, which will take place from 11 a.m to 12:10 p.m., and will feature:

• Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. Hinojosa, who is one of the Valley’s three state senators, is Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, Vice-Chair of the Select Committee on Redistricting, and is a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, the Committee of the Whole Senate, the Joint Committee on Health and Human Services, Oversight, the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, the Senate Committee on Property Taxes, the Joint Committee on State Water Implementation Fund for Texas Advisory, the Joint Committee on Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund Advisory; the Senate Select Committee on Texas Ports, and the Senate Committee on Transportation;

•  Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin. Howard is Vice-Chair of the House Committee on Administration, and is a member of the House Committee on Appropriations and the House Committee on Higher Education;

• Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress. Oliverson is Vice-Chair of the House Committee on Insurance, and is a member of the Select Committee on Statewide Health Care Costs, the House Committee on Calendars, and the House Committee on Natural Resources;

• Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo. Price is Chair of the House Committee on Calendars, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Health & Human Services Transition, and is a member of the Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety, the House Committee on Public Health, the House Committee on Natural Resources, and the House Committee on Redistricting.

The “Health Care & the Texas Legislature” discussion will be moderated by Evan Smith, CEO of The Texas Tribune.

Smith is also co-founder of The Texas Tribune, a pioneering nonprofit, nonpartisan digital news organization whose deep coverage of Texas politics and public policy can be found at its website, texastribune.org, and in newspapers and on TV and radio stations across the state. Since its launch in 2009, the Tribune has won international acclaim and numerous honors, including a Peabody Award, 21 national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association and three general excellence awards from the Online News Association. Smith is also the host of “Overheard with Evan Smith,” a weekly half-hour interview program that airs on PBS stations around the country. A native of New York, he’s a graduate of Hamilton College and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Read Articles by Evan Smith

Rep. Guerra, John Krouse, Dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine

Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen, and John Krouse, MD, PhD, MBA, Dean of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine and Executive Vice President, Health Affairs UTRGV, are part of the final panel discussion –  “Innovation, Transformation & Disruption” – which will be held from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Guerra is a member of the House Committee on Public Health and the House Committee on State Affairs.

This event is presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and supported by Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, UTRGV School of Medicine, UT Health RGV and Legacy Community Health, according to The Texas Tribune. It is hosted by DHR Health. Foundation support is provided by Texas Rural Funders Collaborative and T.L.L. Temple Foundation. Media support is provided by The Monitor and KRGV Channel 5.

For years, national, state and regional leaders have been hosted for respective appearances by the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, including Gov. Greg Abbott, Texas Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, then-U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and then-Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio. 

Among the more recent and similarly-high profile meetings hosted at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance are:

• The Texas House Committee on Redistricting, on Friday, December 13, 2019, held one of its statewide public hearings at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance. This powerful legislative panel will help determine if the Rio Grande Valley will receive additional seats in the Texas Legislature and in Congress during the next decade; 

• On Wednesday, November 6, 2019, Sen. Carol Alvarado, D-Houston, along with Hinojosa, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Guerra, DHR Health physicians Rick Martínez, MD, and Carlos García-Cantú, MD, held a news conference at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance to launch a statewide media campaign information to inform Texans about a new state law that now requires many health insurance plans and Medicaid to pay for a diagnostic mammogram, which can help determine the presence of breast cancer; and

• Congressman Vicente González, D-McAllen, on Monday, September 16, 2019, was the keynote speaker for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce’s Public Affairs Luncheon held at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance; and On Thursday, August 15, 2019, the facility hosted a “Legislative Press Conference”, organized by the City of Edinburg, featuring Valley state lawmakers reviewing the top legislative successes for Edinburg during the 86th Texas Legislature, which was held during Spring 2019.

The Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance was established by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) and the City of Edinburg in 2011, according to its website. Located within the Doctors Hospital at Renaissance campus, this conference center can be divided into multi-purpose rooms that can accommodate from 80 to 1000 guests. The advanced lighting and sound technology also ensure smooth functioning events.

The Texas Tribune events are also supported through contributions from its founding investors and members. Though donors and corporate sponsors underwrite The Texas Tribune public functions, they play no role in determining the content, panelists or line of questioning.

Schedule of Events

8 a.m. Breakfast

8:30 a.m – Program Begins

8:40 – 9:40 a.m. – Getting a Handle on Costs

• David Balat, Director of the Right on Healthcare initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation
• Lisa Kirsch, Senior Policy Director at Dell Medical School at Austin, and former Chief Deputy Medicaid/CHIP director for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission
• Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville
• Susan Turley, President, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health System

Moderated by Edgar Walters, health care reporter for The Texas Tribune

9:55-10:55 a.m. – More Access, Better Outcomes

• Sen. Nathan Johnson, D-Dallas
• Jake Margo Jr., Family Medicine Doctor
• Elena Marks, President, and CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation
• Manny Vela, CEO of Valley Baptist Medical Center

Moderated by Edgar Walters, health care reporter for The Texas Tribune

11:10 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. – Health Care & the Texas Legislature

• Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen
• Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin
• Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress
• Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo

Moderated by Evan Smith, CEO of The Texas Tribune

12:10 p.m. Lunch

12:45 – 1:45 p.m. – Medicare for Y’all

• Anne Dunkelberg, Associate Director for the Center for Public Policy Priorities
• Avik Roy, founder of The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity

2-3 p.m. – Innovation, Transformation & Disruption

Beto Garcia, CEO of Guardian eHealth Solutions
Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen
Mini Kahlon, Vice Dean for Health Ecosystem at the Dell Medical School at Austin
John Krouse, Dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

3 p.m. End

Event Details

This event will be held in Conference Halls A & B, located on the first floor of the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance. The event is free, open to the public and will include a light breakfast and lunch. 

Complimentary visitor parking is available in the parking lot surrounding the facility.

This event is presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and supported by Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, UTRGV School of Medicine, UT Health RGV and Legacy Community Health. It is hosted by DHR Health. Foundation support is provided by Texas Rural Funders Collaborative and T.L.L. Temple Foundation. Media support is provided by The Monitor and KRGV Channel 5.

Tribune events are also supported through contributions from our founding investors and members. Though donors and corporate sponsors underwrite Texas Tribune events, they play no role in determining the content, panelists or line of questioning.

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For more information, please contact Roberto Haddad, Vice President and Counsel for Government Affairs and Policy at DHR Health, or Jesse Ozuna, Government Affairs Officer at DHR Health, at 956/362-7165. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).

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