Bill improves quality of care for Texas nursing homes

May 19, 2017 at 3:51 p.m.
Updated May 18, 2017 at 8 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

I have been the administrator at Retama Manor South in Victoria for six years. I have seen so many changes in our industry, and unfortunately, many of the changes have negatively impacted the care our residents and their families have entrusted us to provide. Reimbursement and funding reductions have limited the amount of staff we are able to schedule which result in staff burnout and staff leaving our industry.

I was happy to see State Representative J.D. Sheffield's effort to improve funding to long-term care through HB 2766. His legislation would provide a funding solution for Texas nursing homes without increasing state spending. It is a reasonable solution to a potential crisis for Texas.

HB 2766 creates the Nursing Facility Reinvestment Allowance (NFRA) that will allow Texas to receive federal matching dollars it currently loses to other states. These dollars will increase reimbursement to nursing facilities and help improve the quality of care in Texas nursing homes without adding cost to the state budget.

Quick facts about HB 2766:

• It does not expand Medicaid.

• It will not increase state spending.

• It does not tax nursing home residents.

• It doesn't just throw money at the problem; it creates incentive to improve care delivery with a quality-based payment program dedicated to 50 percent of the added funding.

• It requires an annual report to state leadership that details whether the program is helping to improve quality in nursing homes.

• It includes a sunset clause to ensure legislators are satisfied with the improved quality of care with the additional investment.

• 43 other states already use similar methods to boost their health care funding.

The quality of long term care in Texas begins with decisions made in Austin. HB 2766 has cleared the House. Thank you for your support District 30 State Rep. Geanie Morrison! The bill now goes to the Senate, and I hope our lawmakers will do what is in the best interest of their constituents. Bottom line, the NFRA will improve the quality of care for Texas nursing homes without increased state spending and without placing any tax on long term care residents.

Oscar R. Flores, M.S., LNFA administrator Retama Manor, Victoria



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