The Unjustified Justification of the Driver Responsibility Program (DRP)
A truly laudable intent for Texas’ Driver Responsibility Program (DRP) is to generate funds to further a worthy cause. Seeing as these funds are to be used to aid Texas trauma hospital patients, the unfair surcharges are justified in the name of saving lives. Right? Tragically, even this is just another failure on the part of the state when it comes to the DRP.
In 2012, Texas trauma hospitals incurred a total of $234 million in uncompensated care costs[i] but received only $55 million in reimbursements from the state in the form of DRP surcharge revenue.[ii] In each of the past five fiscal years, the DRP has covered between 23% and 33% of hospitals’ uncompensated care costs, amounting to 30.6% of total uncompensated care costs between fiscal years 2008 and 2012.[vi]
Why is there such a large gap in reimbursements? Where are DRP fees really going?
The answer is disturbing but unsurprising.
The Texas Legislature deems it necessary to hoard this money in hopes of covering future budget shortfalls. That’s right; the same Legislature that devised this scheme to help hospitals has found it best to pocket the money even if it comes at the cost of lives.
This is yet another reason we need your help to abolish this program that unfortunately has failed even by its own standards. Instead the legislature should designate money from general revenue to aid hospitals meet the trauma needs of Texans.
Please join our efforts and share your stories!
[i] Figure derived from “Designated Trauma Facility and Emergency Medical Service Account: FY05-FY12 Disbursements,” prepared by the Texas Department of State Health Services and “Allocation of Driver Responsibility Revenues: FY04-FY12” prepared by the Comptroller of Public Accounts. Data available upon request.
[ii] “Calculated Uncompensated Trauma Care Costs Reported in DSHS Uncompensated Trauma Care Funding Application (2004 – 2012),” prepared by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Data available upon request.
[iii] “Designated Trauma Facility and Emergency Medical Service Account: FY05 – FY12 Disbursements,” prepared by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Data available upon request.