WACO – State Sen. Kip Averitt, R-Waco, was honored with the Texas Hospital Advocacy Tribute award during an Aug. 18 meeting of Providence Healthcare Network’s medical staff.

Providence President/ CEO Kent Keahey, who serves on the THA board of trustees, introduced Dan Stultz, MD, FACP, FACHE, THA’s president/CEO, to present the award to Averitt for his legislative accomplishments on behalf of health care during the regular session of the 81st Texas Legislature.

“Sen. Averitt has a keen understanding of health insurance issues and he worked hard this session to expand coverage for the state’s most vulnerable citizens – our children. He also authored innovative legislation that will provide premium discounts for low-income Texans who are enrolled in the high-risk pool,” Stultz said.

Stultz highlighted Sen. Averitt’s key contributions during the legislative session, which included:

• Championing health care policy in his position on the Senate Finance Committee;

• Advocating for changes that would have allowed families at 200-300 percent of the federal poverty level to buy into the Children’s Health Insurance Program;

• Leading the effort to provide premium discounts to those in the Texas Health Insurance Pool (formerly known as the Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool) whose incomes are below 300 percent of the poverty level, which would benefit some 13,000 eligible Texans;

• Seeking to bring more transparency to how Texans’ health care coverage plans are designed and operated; and

• Advocating to remove the limitation on health care coverage for children and grandchildren older than the age of 25, and to require insurers to notify consumers that rescission of their insurance policy is under consideration.

“While some of these measures fell victim to legislative deadlines, Sen. Averitt has once again proven himself a true statesman with deep commitments to bringing all parties together to solve complex health care issues,” Stultz said.

“In particular, Providence Healthcare Network is grateful to Sen. Averitt for his commitment to underserved Texans,” Keahey said. “Sen. Averitt’s focus on the Children’s Health Insurance Program is something we have shared since the program began, and we support his advocacy efforts to restore cuts to this coverage.”

THA created the Texas Hospital Advocacy Tribute award in 1997 to honor state legislators and other public officials who are highly supportive of issues important to hospitals and health systems during legislative sessions. Averitt is one of 12 recipients chosen from the 81st Session.