Witness Testimony before the House Select Committee
on Economic Competitiveness
November 15, 2017
Katy Caldwell, CEO, Legacy Community Health
Chairman Cook, and members of the House Select Committee on Economic Competitiveness, my name is Katy Caldwell and I’m CEO of Legacy Community Health in Houston. We are one of the state’s largest federally qualified health centers, serving mostly low-income people at more than 30 clinics across southeast Texas.
Health care is among the largest markets in Houston. The world-class Texas Medical Center alone employs over 100,000 people and contributes $35 billion annually to the regional economy. Like any business, health care providers look to Texas for a pro-growth business climate, tax incentives, less regulation, and a vibrant talent pool.
Legacy Community Health is a not-for-profit health system. But as the saying goes, no margin, no mission. We are run like any business. In the past decade, the number of people we serve has grown by 650%. We’ve added pediatrics, primary care, obstetrics and behavioral health services. This year alone we’ve built four new clinics and opened two new pharmacies. We have 900 employees and have been named seven times as one of the “best workplaces” by the Houston Chronicle.
Our growth has been possible because of the pro-business climate. We’ve also made some sound business decisions, including recruiting top physicians and nurses outside of the state. Recruitment of talent recently has become more difficult, especially in Beaumont and across our entire mental health practice.
We are asking this Committee to continue keeping the state’s economic growth as a top priority. That means continued work on inter-state medical licensing procedures, giving prescription authority issues, and having clear legal pathways to recruit highly-qualified employees out of the country. It also means ending poor economic proposals like “bathroom bills” that harm employee recruitment, both at the clinical and staffing levels.
Legacy must be able to recruit a new generation of medical professionals to maintain our business model built on providing high-quality, affordable health care.