East Texas lawmaker files bill to help fund nursing homes

East Texas lawmaker files bill to help fund nursing homes

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Legislation proposed in Austin is intended to help nursing home owners provide better quality care.

State Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, filed Senate Bill 1050. If it becomes law, it would return federal dollars to Texans and link payments to improving care.

“The state of Texas needs some help in long term care industry,” said Michael Davis, owner of two nursing health care facilities.

Davis said he hopes SB 1050 is that solution, drawing federal funding to improve nursing home care in Texas.

"The two facilities that I run, combined, had a net loss of $150,000 last year," Davis said.

He said the Affordable Care Act was devastating to Texas by pointing blame to the increment of fines. He said something needs to be done.

"We owe it to our grandmothers, our grandfathers, our mothers, our fathers, the residents of our facilities and the staff to provide them high quality health care," Davis said.

Under the bill, nursing homes will receive additional funding for meeting national performance standards and for making investments in staff wages and benefits. Many of the struggling nursing home operators say the under-funding is fueling a workforce crisis. This is resulting in increased turnover rates across the state and in the country, according to the Texas Health Care Association.

Davis said the bill will pave the way to alleviate some of the financial burdens.

"One way it will help is it will erase our $150,000 loss for 2018. It will allow us to start giving appropriate raises to our employees annually," Davis said.

Under Senate bill 1050, funding would also be used to modernize nursing health care facilities improve overall resident quality of life.

Hughes calls the bill a “much-needed solution to a funding crisis that is threatening Texas nursing homes and the care they are able to provide.”

And Hughes said it will not add to the state budget.

“This legislation is consistent with our state’s strong, fiscally conservative approach to government,” Hughes said. “SB 1050 will bring federal funding to Texas—money that is effectively being sent to other states—that will be used to solve staffing and quality issues. It is time that we truly make Texas seniors a priority with this legislation."

The proposed legislation could provide much needed relief to Angelina County’s 8 long term care facilities that have experienced years of under-funding from the state.

According to Hughes, more than 15 percent of Angelina County’s population is over 65, and that number is growing. The number of Texans over 65 is expected to more than double by 2030; and by 2050, it’s projected to increase by more than 262 percent.

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