The Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute and its partners conduct timely, groundbreaking research on the most important issues facing health care consumers, providers and payers today.

By utilizing the collective research strength of its 61 member institutions, the TMC Health Policy Institute serves as a leading national source of expertise on health policy matters facing both Texas and the nation as a whole. Please see our latest research below.

Freestanding Emergency Departments in Texas Do Not Alleviate Congestion in Hospital-Based Emergency Departments

Free-standing emergency departments in Texas’ largest cities haven’t alleviated emergency room congestion or improved patient wait times in nearby hospitals, according to experts at Rice University. This contradicts arguments made by proponents of free-standing EDs, who have said the facilities would speed care in overcrowded hospitals, according to researchers. Click the button below to read more from the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Read more

Despite uncertainty, more than 1 million Texans enroll in Affordable Care Act health insurance for 2019

More than 1 million Texans enrolled in Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance for 2019 despite ongoing uncertainty, a federal court ruling invalidating the law, and massive funding cuts for navigators to help consumers sign up for a plan. The analysis found that more than 7 in 10 Texas enrollees in 2019 were returning consumers. Click the button below to read more form the Episcopal Health Foundation.

Read more

The Uninsured in Texas: Statewide and Local Area Views

Nationally, an estimated 11 percent of the nonelderly population (those below age 65) are uninsured in 2018. In comparison, an estimated 19 percent of the Texas nonelderly population, 4.7 million people, remain uninsured; this is the highest uninsurance rate of any state in the country. Click the button below to read more from the Episcopal Health Foundation

Read more

One Year After the Storm: Texas Gulf Coast Residents’ Views and Experiences with Hurricane Harvey Recovery

Nearly a year after Hurricane Harvey swamped the Texas Gulf Coast, a growing share of affected residents say their lives are back on track, but three in 10 say their lives remain disrupted. Click the button below to read more from the Episcopal Health Foundation

Read more

Social Determinants of Health: Screening in the Clinical Setting

With proper implementation, social determinants of health screening and the associated referral process have been demonstrated to increase detection and discussion of patients’ social needs and to increase families’ receipt of beneficial resources. Despite these benefits, no standardized procedure exists. This brief reviews many of the models which implement screening and the characteristics that individual care settings should consider when selecting a tool for their institution. Click the button below to read more from Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine.

Read More

Reducing the Cost of Health Care: Current Innovations & Future Possibilities

The United States spends a staggering sum on health care – an estimated $3.4 trillion annually – and that figure continues to rise each year. The trend is not sustainable, but fortunately, we’ve identified ways of reversing it. This report, based on the recommendations of 10 of the nation’s top health policy experts, offers eight specific policy solutions that can help reduce the cost of health care in the U.S. Click the button below to read more from the Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute.

Read more

The Nation’s Pulse: The Texas Medical Center's Consumer & Physician Survey

The 15-state survey explores issues of affordability in U.S. health care. Most respondents say they can afford to spend only 2 percent to 5 percent of their income on health care. Meanwhile, 49 percent of respondents say they must cut back on savings, spending on food, and spending on clothes to pay for their health expenses. For many, health care isn’t just a health issue. It’s an economic issue. Click the button below to read more from the Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute.

Read more

The Patient is Now A Consumer

Rising health care costs and generational attitudes toward convenience and the ability to personalize life choices are driving a trend toward greater individual responsibility over the use of health care services. We live in a world where an individual’s discretionary choices are increasingly driven by convenience, amenability to control, and the prevalence of mobile apps. It should come as no surprise that they greatly influence how people interact with the health care sector as well. Click the button below to read report from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Read report

Analysis: Immigrants living along the Texas Gulf Coast hit hard financially following Hurricane Harvey

The study examines how 2017’s Hurricane Harvey uniquely affected immigrants living along the Texas Gulf Coast. That population was more likely than their U.S.-born neighbors to suffer employment and income losses as a result of the hurricane. Half of immigrants whose homes were damaged by the storm said they were worried that if they tried to get help, they would draw attention to their or a family member’s immigration status. Click the button below to read more from Episcopal Health Foundation.

Read more

A Devastating Delay: Zika and the Implementation Gap

Developing knowledge to guide prevention and clinical management of Zika virus disease is critical, and these efforts should continue. However, this focus on knowledge acquisition has overshadowed another critical need — namely, ensuring that new knowledge is disseminated to frontline providers and used to improve care. Responding effectively to rapidly emerging diseases requires implementation of research findings in clinical practice. Click the button below to read more in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Read more

Study Finds Unprecedented Psychological Distress Months After Harvey

Four months after Hurricane Harvey soaked the Houston area and displaced more than a third of the population, an alarming 52 percent of Harris County residents said they were still struggling to recover. Meanwhile,  18 percent of residents had signs of serious psychological distress. Click the button below to read the report from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health.

Read Report

Have Tobacco 21 Laws Come of Age?

In 2017 alone, three states each raised their legal age for purchasing tobacco from 18 to 21, joining California and Hawaii, which enacted the change in previous years. Dozens of cities also have Tobacco 21 laws on the book. In the past 2 years, research has generated new evidence that these laws are effective, enjoy very high levels of public support, and have minimal economic impact in the short term. Click the button below to read more in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Read more

State-Level Support for Tobacco 21 Laws: Results of a Five-State Survey

While earlier studies had found strong support for Tobacco 21 laws at the national level, little data were available about attitudes at the state level, where current Tobacco 21 policymaking efforts are concentrated and enacted. Our data indicate that legislators from both liberal and conservative states should feel confident in advancing Tobacco 21 laws to protect the current and future health of adolescents, given widespread support for these laws. Click the button below to read more in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Read more