Texas ranks dead last in terms of nursing home care, and lawmakers have finally lost their patience.
On September 1st, 2017, a new law officially takes effect in Texas which targets nursing homes repeatedly cited for serious violations, and makes it much more-difficult for them to avoid regulatory fines.
The state of Texas is quickly losing its tolerance for errors and abuse committed in long-term care facilities, and lawmakers are finally stepping up to address this serious issue. While similar bills failed to pass during Texas’ last legislative session, this year, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 932 unanimously by a vote of 31-0.
The bill (which eliminates the nursing home’s ability to correct serious offenses in order to avoid a fine) unfortunately never made it out of the House of Representatives, but was later attached as an amendment to another healthcare bill which was eventually passed and signed into law.
What legislators and advocates for the elderly/disabled are trying to do is put pressure on the “bad” nursing homes. Unfortunately, there are far too many of them. A study by Better Care gave Texas an ‘F’ rating, and was the only state which received failing grades in 6 out of 8 statistical measurements.
According to a 2015 report from The Kaiser Family Foundation, more than half of all long-term facilities in Texas received only one or two stars out of five in the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rating system. In addition, the state’s Department of Aging and Disability Services identified over 17,000 violations during the fiscal year 2015. Astonishingly, only 40 cases were subjected to any type of enforcement action.
Violations in nursing homes are an ongoing problem.
Both legislators and advocates for the elderly have been upset for years over the minimal number of fines placed on nursing homes found guilty of violations. If we return to the fiscal years 2014 and 2015, we find that out of the 1,200+ nursing facilities in Texas, 94% of all serious violations were committed by just 328 nursing homes. How many of these nursing homes were fined? Only 22…
According to Bob Jackson, state director of AARP in Texas, the problem exists because for many years the state simply allowed nursing homes to fix violations without facing any penalties. As a result, they have returned to her old habits time and time again. There are a large number of nursing homes that are extremely low on the quality scale and never get any better. While they may correct the current violation, the issue is that there is no incentive for them to mitigate the underlying issues which cause them to occur in the first place.
The quality of nursing home care in Texas is unacceptable.
An AARP report in January of this year discovered that for the most part, the quality of care provided in Texas nursing homes was “shamefully poor.” It stated that in 2015, a total of 454 severe violations (involving the “immediate jeopardy” of nursing home residents) were spotted by investigators, and in 2014 they spotted 470 severe violations. According to the report, Texas does not assess worthwhile sanctions against repeat offenders of serious violations. Luckily, this new law addresses that fact.
Supporters of the new law believe that eliminating the current “right to correct” rule will improve the quality of care in the state’s nursing homes. They also believe it will be successful in sending a clear message that the state is serious about protecting senior citizens from neglect and abuse.
Advocating for the rights of nursing home residents.
The personal injury attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm have long advocated for the rights of nursing home residents in Texas, and over the past 20+ years, we’ve helped many families recover considerable compensation following instances of nursing home abuse and neglect.
If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, or any other form of maltreatment by a nursing home employee, call us today at 1-877-405-4313 for a free consultation. We’ll explain the options available to you moving forward, and if we can help with your case, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you.
Speak With a Dallas Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer For Free
The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are happy to speak to you about your potential case free of charge. If we can help with your claim, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you. Call us 24/7 at (214) 651-6100, or toll-free at 1-877-405-4313.