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Game-Changing Legislation Proposed to Improve Nursing Home Care in Texas

State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) has filed legislation to establish a program that brings Texans’ own federal tax dollars back home to improve the quality of nursing home care in the state. Senate Bill 1050 provides what Hughes calls a “much-needed solution to a funding crisis that is threatening Texas nursing homes and the care they are able to provide.”

Struggling to compete in labor markets across the state, nursing home operators say underfunding is fueling a workforce crisis, resulting in Texas suffering some of the highest annual staff turnover rates in the country.

Under SB 1050, nursing homes will receive additional funding for meeting nationally recognized performance standards and for making investments in staff wages and benefits. Funding will also be directed toward modernizing buildings to create comfortable homelike settings, and investing in new technology, all to improve overall resident quality of life.

At $6 an hour, Texas pays nursing homes less to care for our family members and friends than a teenager makes mowing yards after school,” said Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association, the largest organization of nursing homes in the state. “With our rate of turnover, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to consistently provide and maintain the level of care our aging Texans deserve.”

In 2018, the state’s largest operator of nursing homes in Texas filed for bankruptcy, while one of the largest nursing home operators in the country departed the state. Both cited the state’s low nursing home payments as a factor in their decisions.

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,” added Hughes.

Hughes said the proposal will not add to the state budget.

Forty-four other states have similar proposals in place to improve their nursing homes, however, SB 1050 directs that 100 percent of the additional funding received be specifically committed to improving quality.