Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation:
An Inventory of Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation Community Services Division Executive Director Memos at the Texas State Archives, 1975-1978
The Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation was created to conserve the mental health of Texas citizens and to help mentally retarded citizens to achieve their full potential. Created in 1965 (House Bill 3, Texas 59th Legislature, Regular Session), it replaced the Board for Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools, which had been created in 1949 (House Bill 1, 51st Legislature, Regular Session). The governing body of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (MHMR) was the nine-member Texas Mental Health and Mental Retardation Board, appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate for overlapping six-year terms. Members represented the general public, but (beginning in 1995) were required to include at least one consumer (or family member of a consumer) of mental health/mental retardation services. The governor appointed the chair. Administration of the Department was through the Commissioner of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, appointed by the board. The Commissioner appointed an assistant commissioner, a medical director, a human resources director, a managed care administration director, a state operations director, a financial services director, and directors of each of the state facilities.
The Mental Health Services Division (reorganized in 1995 and renamed the Managed Care Division) operated seven state hospitals providing general psychiatric services to patients within their geographic regions (located in Austin, Big Spring, Kerrville, Rusk, San Antonio, Terrell, and Vernon-Wichita Falls); and a Waco Center for emotionally disturbed youth.
The Mental Retardation Services Division (reorganized in 1995 and renamed the State Operations Division) operated eleven state schools (in Abilene, Austin, Brenham, Corpus Christi, Denton, Lubbock, Lufkin, Mexia, Richmond, San Angelo, and San Antonio) and between two and three state centers (in Amarillo, Beaumont, and Laredo up to 1999; in El Paso and Harlingen in 2001), which provided short-term and long-term residential care, education, training, health care, and rehabilitation services.
Community-based mental health and mental retardation services were provided by state-operated community health services, community organizations, and state centers, and also by 36 community MHMR centers under contract with the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. Every Texas county has a mental health authority (MHA), and the Department was required to ensure that each provided the following community-based mental health services: crisis stabilization, emergency screening/referral, a plan of services for each individual based on multidisciplinary assessments, medication services, case management, family support programs, and psychosocial rehabilitation programs. Every Texas county also has a mental retardation authority (MRA), and the Department was required to ensure that each provided the following community-based mental retardation services: in-home support, respite care, family services, case management, and an array of vocational and employment programs. The Department's ultimate goal was to transfer all state-operated community MHMR services to local operation and control by the year 2005.
A number of changes in the 1990s affected MHMR responsibilities. In 1991, the Genetic Screening and Counseling Services program was transferred to the Department of Health, and the newly created Health and Human Services Commission was designated the single state agency for Medicaid. In 1993, inpatient single-diagnosis substance-abuse treatment was transferred from the state hospitals to the Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Also in 1993, the duty of licensing private psychiatric hospitals and of investigating complaints of abuse or neglect and clients' rights violations was transferred to other agencies, except that MHMR continued to establish standards for the private psychiatric industry. In 1995, the Intermediate Care Facilities for the Mentally Retarded (ICF-MR) program was transferred to the Texas Department of Human Services. In 1997 several state hospitals were added and several state hospitals/state schools were eliminated.
House Bill 2292 (78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003) merged twelve state health and human services agencies into five, officially abolishing the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation (effective September 1, 2004) and creating the new Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and the new Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
The new Texas Department of State Health Services took over mental health and state hospital operations formerly under the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. (In addition it assumed the duties of the Texas Department of Health, the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and the Texas Health Care Information Council.) The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division of DSHS is divided into two sections: the Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Section, and the Hospitals Section. The governing body is the DSHS Council, composed of nine members of the public appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. These nine members, representing all geographic areas of the state and reflecting the ethnic diversity of the state, "must have demonstrated an interest in and knowledge of problems and available services related to public health, mental health, or substance abuse." They serve staggered six-year terms.
The new Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services took over mental retardation services and running of state schools for the mentally retarded, formerly under the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. (In addition, it includes community care and nursing home services formerly run by the Texas Department of Human Services, as well as aging services formerly run by the Texas Department on Aging.) The governing body is the Aging and Disability Services Council, composed of nine members of the public appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. These nine members, representing all geographic areas of the state and reflecting the ethnic diversity of the state, "must have demonstrated an interest in and knowledge of issues and available services related to the aging and persons with developmental disabilities or mental retardation." They serve staggered six-year terms.
(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, varying eds., agency statutes, and the records themselves.)
The Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation was created to conserve the mental health of Texas citizens and to help mentally retarded citizens to achieve their full potential. Records consist of interoffice correspondence and communications as well as reports and recommendations from committees and subcommittees maintained by the executive director of the Community Services Division. Ranging in date from 1975 to 1978, these records concern agency administration, which is handled through MHMR's central office in Austin, Texas. The interoffice correspondence is between the Commissioner of MHMR, Deputy Commissioners, Assistant Deputy Commissioners, Division Chiefs, attorneys (including the Attorney General), Executive Directors, Chairpersons, and members of the Boards of Trustees. Administrative responsibilities and activities reflected in these records include fiscal, statistical, audit, payroll, and support payment services. Quality assurance and the agency's legal and public relations matters were also administered by the central office. Records consist primarily of requests and responses to requests for legal advice, opinions, or information. These requests concern, for example, legal interpretations of legislation and revisions in rules, rights of MR clients, the release of medical records, budget concerns, guidelines for auditing procedures, and emergency care training standards. Also included are reports and recommendations from committees and subcommittees as well as information on hearings, conferences and training workshops.
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Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
(Identify the item), Texas Deptartment of Mental Health and Mental Retardation Community Services Division executive director memos. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession number: 1991/151
These records were transferred to the Texas State Archives from the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation on May 7, 1991.
Processed by Lisa M. Hendricks, April 1992
Revisions and DACS updates by Jessica Tucker, December 2009
Detailed Description of the Records