Health & Science

Millions Collected For Texas Medical Trauma Centers But Not Spent

A Houston lawmaker says medical trauma centers here and across Texas are inadequately funded. Democratic state representative Sylvester Turner announced plans to file legislation that will free up funding for them.

For several years, more than $111 million has been collected by the state for medical trauma centers. It has not been used.

“You simply cannot justify holding money that’s already been collected, and using it just to certify the budget,” said Texas Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston. He said he will file two bills to free up that funding.

A report by the American College of Surgeons finds the Greater Houston area should have six major trauma centers based on its population. That’s four more than the current trauma centers at Ben Taub and Memorial Hermann.

Dr. Robert Winchell, with the UT Health Science Center, says hospitals across Texas stand to benefit from the Houston lawmaker’s proposed bill.

“Representative Turner and the Legislature, (had foresight) and well ahead of the country in 2003 when they established this fund for all of the citizens in the region of Houston, but for the state as well,” Winchell said.

Turner said his measures will have a domino effect on medical facilities across the state.

“If we pass these two bills, then significant dollars will flow to our trauma centers, and all of us will benefit,” Turner said.

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