Include Physicians on Long-Term Care Facilities Council

TMA Written Testimony on Senate Bill 1519

April 10, 2019 

Chair Kolkhorst and Senate Committee on Health and Human Services:

The Texas Medical Association and its nearly 53,000 physicians and medical students appreciates the opportunity to submit written comments regarding Senate Bill 1519 relating to a council on long-term care facilities. TMA applauds Chair Kolkhorst and this committee in prioritizing some of our state’s most vulnerable residents – the elderly and those with serious, acute, or chronic illnesses living in long-term care facilities.

TMA strongly supports SB 1519 as it will address Texas’ growing need for best practices in dispute resolution and Medicaid quality-based payment systems in long-term care. However, we urge the chair and this committee to consider two additions to the long-term care council that will strengthen its ability to address medical and infectious disease concerns:

  1. A practicing medical director for a long-term care facility, and
  2. A physician with expertise in infectious disease or public health.

Communicable disease threats within long-term care facilities such as influenza, pneumonia, and multidrug resistant organisms cost the state thousands of lives and millions of dollars every year. ,  In four of the past five years, infection control violations were the most cited infraction within long-term care facilities, with a 75% increase from 2016 to 2017.  During the 2017-18 influenza season, 11,917 Texans lost their lives to pneumonia and influenza, and 75% of Texas’ reported flu outbreaks occurred in a long-term care facility.  Adding medical expertise to the proposed council will help prioritize infectious disease prevention and may help ameliorate the devastating impact of communicable diseases in long-term care facilities across our state.

Residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are our parents, grandparents, family members, and friends. They are our patients. TMA supports SB 1519 but does believe that a council on long-term care facilities would lack a key component of these people’s care without input from the physicians who care for them. TMA is available to answer your questions and to work with your committee to address Texas’ growing long-term care needs. Thank you.

Texas Medical Association

86th Texas Legislature Letters and Testimonies

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Last Updated On

April 09, 2019