If you were in Amarillo the afternoon of Dec. 10, Trinity Fellowship Ministries was the place to be. As temperatures warmed outside, more than 80 people made their way into the Student Ministries Center Auditorium, each contemplating their chance to have a say in how the Texas Health and Human Services System will be restructured. Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Chris Traylor set the tone.
“I’ve said this many times: We’ll probably learn more here in a couple of hours than we could possibly learn spending eight or 10 hours at our desk every day,” Traylor told the gathering. “Getting out and touching and seeing and hearing people who receive services, that are providers of services, that work in our communities is absolutely essential for us to be able to put together an agency that is responsive to local concerns, responsive to the needs of clients, and gives us the opportunity to have a health and human services system that you truly have confidence in and can truly be proud of.”
As work continues on plans for the HHS transformation, system leaders are traveling across the state to give agency stakeholders the chance to provide comment on the transformation face-to-face. Besides the Dec. 10 hearing in Amarillo, there have already been public hearings in Austin and Abilene. In January, the schedule of hearings continues with events in El Paso, Grand Prairie, Houston, Tyler and Harlingen. For those who can’t make one of those hearings, a survey is accessible 24/7 online.
Chris Adams, HHSC deputy executive commissioner for transformation, says stakeholders should get used to the idea of being asked for their input.
“Although we’re still in the development stages on transforming the HHS System, we do know that getting regular feedback from our agencies’ stakeholders will be an important element, not just now but once the transformation is complete,” Adams said.
Toward that end, HHS advisory committees have been reviewed and are being restructured to establish a process for taking in public comment and elevating it to HHS System leaders and policymakers.
“The people who use the benefits and services we offer, and those who care for, or work with those clients can tell us from the ground level what kind of job we’re doing,” Adams said. “It’s important for us to capture that information on a regular basis and use it to make our programs more responsive.”
The HHS Transformation website has more about the restructuring of theHHS advisory committees and the upcoming public hearings. You can subscribe to the site to get email alerts about developments in the HHS transformation.