Central Health, Travis County’s taxpayer-backed health care district, will spend approximately $30 million more on health care services in the upcoming year than it did this past year, according to Central Health budget documents.
Travis County commissioners approved Central Health’s fiscal year 2019-20 budget Sept. 24. The next day, Central Health approved next year’s tax rate of $0.105573 per $100 valuation, which also has to go to commissioners for approval.
That tax rate represents a 6.9% increase over the effective tax rate. The effective tax rate is a rate that would generate the same amount of tax revenue as was created in the previous year if applied to properties taxed in the following year, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
The health care district will generate $214.9 million in property tax revenue in FY 2019-20, according to a news release from Central Health, and the average homeowner will see a $23.07 increase from their FY 2018-19 Central Health monthly tax bills.
Central Health’s revenue next year will go toward a 12.4% year over year increase in health care delivery uses for the district, according to budget documents. Compared to last year’s budget, Central Health has earmarked an additional $30.6 million for health care deliveries throughout its service area, including for primary care and specialty care services.
In all, Central Health’s FY 2019-20 budget is marked at $290.8 million, with slight bumps in the health district’s administrative and tax collection costs. According to its budget documents, Central Health is set to spend $1.2 million more on employee salaries and benefits in the upcoming year than it did in FY 2018-19.
This increase comes after Central Health’s operating abilities were expanded by the 86th Texas Legislature this past summer. Senate Bill 1142, signed into law May 7, grants Central Health the power to appoint, contract for or employ physicians. Previously, the health care district hired physicians in executive or managerial capacities, but those physicians were prohibited to care directly for patients.
“This means Central Health physicians will now be able to make medical decisions about appropriate care for patients,” Central Health President and CEO Mike Geeslin said in a May 23 news release. “Central Health doctors will also be able to provide direction to nursing staff, such as during home visits, or refer patients to another doctor or specialist. Our doctors were limited in their scope before.”
Travis County commissioners will hold their final vote to approve Central Health’s property tax rate at an Oct. 1 meeting.