2007 Legislative Compendium: Long-Term Care

Long-Term Care Partnership
Senate Bill 22 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville) and Rep. Dianne Delisi (R-Temple) creates a long-term care partnership program in Texas as authorized by the federal Deficit Reduction Act. Texans who purchase long-term care policies under this program will be eligible for asset disregard up to the value of services covered by the private policy should they ever apply for Medicaid long-term care coverage. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), in consultation with the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) and the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), must develop and implement a public awareness and education campaign. The goal of the campaign is to educate the public about the cost of long-term care; the limits of Medicaid eligibility and Medicare benefits; and the value and availability of long-term care insurance.

Advanced Directives Awareness
Senate Bill 27 authored by Senator Nelson and Representative Delisi calls for education programs about advanced care directives within nursing homes, for staff, residents, and residents' families. HHSC is required to implement the program, and DADS is required to report on its progress. The goal of the program is to increase the number of advanced directives users from only 25 percent of the population. SB 27 is effective immediately.

Personal Needs Allowance for Medicaid Patients Residing in Long-Term Care Facilities
House Bill 52 by Rep. Norma Chavez (D-El Paso) and Sen. Chris Harris (R-Arlington) increases the personal needs allowance from $45 to $60 per month for Medicaid patients residing in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Funding for the measure is included within HB 1.

Nursing Home Family Councils
Senate Bill 131, authored by Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), coauthored by Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio), Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio), and Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo), and sponsored by Rep. Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin), relates to the creation of nursing home family councils. Councils, composed of residents' family members and advocates from various statewide elderly organizations, will be instituted Sept. 1, 2007. SB 131 also provides for unannounced inspections, effective Sept. 1, 2008. Currently federal law already allows for creating nursing home family councils.

Nursing Home Inspection
Senate Bill 344, by Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas), coauthored by Sen. Robert Deuell, MD (R-Greenville), and sponsored by Rep. John Davis (R-Houston), relates to regulation of nursing home inspections and exit conference meetings after the inspection of a facility to inform facility operators of any findings or violations. SB 344 requires DSHS to provide operators with a written notice of specific findings, administer all exit conferences in person, and allow operators to respond to violations with a plan of correction to ensure full understanding and correction of the inspection findings. SB 344 is effective Sept. 1, 2007.

Complaints Against Home- and Community-Based Caregivers
Senate Bill 744, by Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) and coauthor Senator Uresti and sponsored by Reps. Patrick Rose (D-Dripping Springs) and Naishtat (was written to expand protection from retaliation in the reporting of abuse or neglect). Legislation already is in place to protect persons reporting abuse or neglect from retaliation in hospitals, nursing homes, intermediate care facilities for the mentally ill, and detoxification facilities. SB 744 extends this protection to persons, who in good faith, report complaints about home and community-based caregivers. This bill is effective immediately.

Elderly Drivers
House Bill 84, authored by Reps. Dan Branch (R-Dallas), Patricia Harless (R-Spring), and Tony Goolsby (R-Dallas), and sponsored by Senator Carona, restricts the Department of Public Safety from renewing driver licenses of elderly persons. Those over 90 years of age will not be able to renew their license without passing an examination demonstrating their ability to control a motor vehicle. HB 84 is effective Sept. 1, 2007.

Elderly Inmates
House Bill 429, authored by Rep. Jerry Madden (R-Richardson) and sponsored by Senator Deuell, initiates a two-year study to see if the state would realize a savings if elderly inmates are released into the community on parole. The bill is in response to high taxpayer cost for providing care to elderly inmates not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid. HB 429 is effective Sept. 1, 2007.

Elderly Care
House Bill 1168, authored by Rep. Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio), sponsored by Sen. Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso), relates to the regulation of elderly care. Under current law, state agencies did not have the authority to monitor elderly group homes. HB 1168 gives the Department of Aging and Disability Services the authority to regulate licensure of these facilities by creating guidelines and conducting unannounced inspections. HB 1168 is effective Sept. 1, 2007.

Long-Term Care TMA Staff Team:

Policy: Michael Reed and  Donna Kinney
Legal: C.J. Francisco
Legislative: Greg Herzog

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