Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Working group on Driver Responsibility rules loaded with hospital voices

After the Public Safety Commission told the agency to revisit rules on the Driver Responsibility surcharge to consider amnesty programs and other fixes authorized by the Legislature, the Texas Department of Public Safety this week created a working group on the subject. Last week I asked to be allowed to participate in several (mostly unanswered) emails, but yesterday Rebekah Hibbs at DPS told me the group had already been selected, offering that "Once the revised rule is published for public comment, we would certainly appreciate hearing your comments at that time." Gee, thanks.

Those whose comments the agency apparently appreciates more than mine are: Denise Rose of the Texas Hospital Association; Chris Yanas of Teaching Hospitals of Texas; Amanda Marzullo of the Texas Fair Defense Project; Cory Henrickson from state Rep. Sylvester Turner's office; David Erinakes from the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee, and Wilson Day from the Department of State Health Services Accounting Section. So three voices representing hospital interests and only one from community advocates (Marzullo) who pushed for the new rules. No judges. No prosecutor rep. At least there's one indigent defense advocate on the panel, I suppose, but I fear we can tell by whose opinions they choose to listen to where the agency's priorities lie - placating hospitals and legislators, not listening to constituents, judges, and others critical of the program, much less fixing problems it's creating for drivers.

Amanda will do a good job, but ignoring outside input is why they're having to redo the rules in the first place - why not vet them ahead of time with those who, once published, will be your chief critics if they're inadequate? I find this behavior baffling. From a simple strategic perspective, it makes no sense to me not to get that input, but that poor judgment has been part of a larger pattern. Given that the rules were first suggested last summer and they've already been through a public hearing once, it's more than a day late and a dollar short to have your first meeting with stakeholders now.

The working group meets on Monday, May 17 at 2-4 pm at DPS, Bldg A. I'm going to try to attend to at least cover the event for the blog, since DPS would not "appreciate hearing [my] comments" yet; we'll see if I can get in the door.


Thomas Hobbes said...

I'm baffled not just by those excluded, but by the inclusion of otherwise-uninvolved folks (hospitals) whose only role is that of beneficiaries. Public policy always seem to develop weirdly when a seat at the table is reserved for those who stand to profit monetarily from the policy.

John said...

I am one of those truly affected by this program. I pray every day for a resolution. Grits is the only update I have been able to find on this subject and I thank you for that!

Anonymous said...

It doesn't Matter anymore , There handling this like a corporation. I no longer want to be an American ! I HAVE NO MORE HOPE I plan To move Out of this country ! I could care less

I no longer want a drivers license I WILL DRIVE ANYWAY I never needed heath care , when i get sick i will die WHO cares , I don't have a good quality of life anyway always being punished for some one eles GREED. Even north Korea gave there drivers there licenses back. and repealed there driver laws! Were worse then the communist?

I think we need a complete Restoration, Bring back the bill of rights and GIVE THE VOICE TO THE PEOPLE !! Not GREED!

So pull me over , I'm on a mission To get as many Surcharges I can GET (I have over 12 now) all from one no insurance ticket! Guess what im NEVER going to PAY NEVER! i will KILL MYSELF BEFORE I PAY!!!

John said...

To the above comment: I certainly understand your frustration. I have not drivin (Legally) for about 4 years now. I live in Houston and ride the bus a my main means of transportation. I submitted comments on the new rules a couple of weeks ago via my State Reps. office and it made me feel much better. Like I'm taking an active stance against it. Eventhough in the grand scheme of things my comments might not have much power, it felt really good not to just roll over and take it.

Anonymous said...

Why are we allowing this BS to continue? The leg passed this BS so vote the idiots out! As for the hospital votes, talk about a packed jury, with a vested interest. I am tired of our elected officals not listening to the voters!