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Bill To Avert Texas Nursing Home Crisis Gains Momentum

HB2766, by Rep. J.D. Sheffield, R-Gatesville, voted out of House Human Services Committee

Austin,Texas (PR MediaRelease) April 25, 2017

Texas nursing facilities moved one step closer to better staffing and improving overall quality Monday as the Nursing Facility Reinvestment Allowance, or NFRA, was voted out of the House Human Services Committee.

Authored by family practice doctor Rep. J.D. Sheffield, (R-Gatesville), HB2766 will draw additional federal dollars to improve Texas nursing homes without increasing state spending. It has the support of prominent Republicans, including Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. John Zerwas, (R-Richmond). AARP Texas and its 2.3 million members also endorse the bill.

“The NFRA is about a commitment to improving quality and providing much needed resources to improve care for nursing facility residents,” said Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association. “I want to thank Rep. Sheffield and the Human Services Committee members for acknowledging the funding crisis Texas nursing facilities face and for embracing the NFRA as the solution.”

For decades, Texas has lagged other states in finding ways to boost funding for nursing homes. Texas has one of the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the nation. That leads to low wages and high turnover for front line staff and it makes it hard for operators to invest in training and equipment. In fact, the current average Medicaid rate pays less than $6 per hour, per resident to care for nursing home residents. Forty-three other states plus the District of Columbia have programs similar to the NFRA already in place to supplement health care funding.

The NFRA would accomplish this by implementing a reinvestment allowance on nursing facility operators used to draw down federal Medicaid matching dollars Texas now loses to other states. The NFRA dedicates 50 percent of the additional funds to the achievement of certain quality standards to receive the full benefit of the program. HB2766 statutorily prohibits the NFRA from being passed on to residents.

Companion legislation has been filed in the Texas Senate — SB1130, by Sen. Juan Hinojosa.

Founded in 1950, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) is the largest long term care association in the state and represents a broad spectrum of long-term care providers and professionals offering long term, rehabilitative and specialized health care services. Member facilities, owned by both for-profit and non-profit entities, include nursing facilities, specialized rehabilitation facilities and assisted living facilities.

Jim Suydam, 512-417-5382


512-417-5382
jim.suydam@bravarro.com

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