Texas Senate approves nursing home quality bill

Texas Senate approves nursing home quality bill

The Texas Senate took a pivotal step toward improving the quality of care in Texas nursing facilities on April 19 by unanimously approvingSenate Bill 932, which seeks to hold nursing home operators accountable for harming residents.

Senate Bill 932, sponsored by Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), was approved on a 31-0 vote and now heads to the Texas House of Representatives.

The bill revises the state’s “Right to Correct” law to make it more difficult for serious violations of nursing home care to be ignored. And among other changes, the bill empowers the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to substantially change how nursing homes are penalized.

"Texas needs to send a clear and unambiguous message that we're serious about protecting our most vulnerable citizens from abuse and neglect," Schwertner said. “I'm extremely grateful to each and every member of the Texas Senate for working to protect our seniors and other vulnerable Texans."

AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson applauded Senator Schwertner and the entire Texas Senate for the leadership it showed in approving SB 932.

“Senate Bill 932 goes a long way toward holding nursing home owners and operators in Texas accountable when they hurt residents and jeopardize their health,” Jackson said. “I congratulate the Texas Senate for taking a pivotal step toward improving the quality of care in Texas nursing facilities. Now, we’re counting on members of the House of Representatives to do their part to protect residents of Texas nursing homes.”

Texas has more serious nursing home care violations than most states. An AARP Texas review of records has shown that one in four Texas nursing homes has multiple, serious violations of nursing home quality. Of 17,466 violations cited in Fiscal Year 2015, the state took enforcement action on only 40 violations.

AARP, a nonpartisan and nonprofit association with 2.3 million members in Texas age 50 and older, is in strong support of SB932. Earlier this month, AARP aired 30-second radio commercials throughout Texas in support of the bill.