As essential hospitals leaders, we all need to stay on top of the evolving landscape for Medicaid Section 1115 waivers. Medicaid waivers offer a key opportunity to make health care delivery more effective and efficient – and to reduce our uncompensated care burden.

Consider our experience in Texas. Over the life of the Texas Health Care Transformation and Quality Improvement Program 1115 Waiver, more than $30 billion of valued services and direct uncompensated care payments are made to more than 1,500 provider-based projects and hospitals. In addition, the waiver has kept crucial urban and rural infrastructure in place as Texas refuses to expand Medicaid.

Eliminating a viable waiver program in Texas would mean eliminating core services to vulnerable Texans and jeopardizing access to the hospitals on which they depend – essential hospitals.

I can tell you from experience that America’s Essential Hospitals’ Annual Leadership Summit on State Medicaid Waivers is by far the best venue for learning about waivers and how hospitals like yours have thrived in these programs. The summit — which is helpful to all, no matter where you are on the waiver journey — provides an opportunity to network and learn with colleagues while hearing firsthand from Centers on Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) leadership on policy direction.

This will be my third time attending the summit and each time I come back with essential information to bring home to our community and state leaders on national trends. Participation also has given Harris Health the ability to more actively participate in state policy deliberations with CMS, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and the Texas legislature on waiver operations and renewal deliberations.

I have found sessions at the summit to be highly interactive, candid, and open forums for dialogue and learning. I also feel that the event is a unique opportunity to share with the association and CMS what works and what doesn’t work, as well as to quantify and describe all the positive outcomes these transformation waivers have on the populations we all serve.

Whether you are a CEO, clinical leader or government relations professional, the sessions at this year’s event — focused on waiver fundamentals, innovations, managed care, and more — will be valuable to your organization.

Please join me and my other colleagues from around the nation in Dallas on Sept. 19 for what I promise will be the premier learning event on Medicaid state waivers in 2016. Learn more and register at