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Texas Health Care Association: Legislators consider bill to address funding crisis in Texas nursing facilities without new taxes

AUSTIN, Texas, March 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Senate Bill 1130 by Sen. Juan Hinojosa of McAllen, the Nursing Facility Reinvestment Allowance (NFRA) was debated by the Senate Health and Human Services committee Monday.

"This was a big first step toward improving care in every nursing facility in Texas," said Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association. "I want to thank the committee for asking tough questions and for their consideration of a solution to the funding crisis Texas nursing facilities are facing."

The hearing wasn't without intrigue after the bill endured a series of attacks and misinformation in an attempt to shift the focus away from a policy discussion.

"Labeling the NFRA the 'granny tax' is like talking about Bigfoot.  Just because you talk about it and it scares people doesn't make it real. The bill has specific language to prevent that label from ever being reality," added Warren.

The NFRA is a bipartisan effort to improve the level of funding and care in Texas nursing facilities without additional cost to the state.

Texas has lagged behind other states in finding ways to boost funding for nursing homes. Forty-three other states plus the District of Columbia have similar programs in place to supplement health care funding.

"With the state unlikely to address the significant funding shortfall this session, the industry is stepping up to support a way to do so that will not require state funding," Warren added. "This solution would enable nursing facilities to invest in additional staff, raise wages and make long-delayed capital improvements."

The NFRA would accomplish this by implementing a reinvestment allowance to be paid by nursing homes based on their revenues. The state would use the funds collected to draw down federal Medicaid matching dollars Texas now loses to other states. While statutorily prohibiting the NFRA from being passed on to residents, SB1130 would direct 50% of the additional funds toward improving Medicaid rates, and 50% towards a quality based program.

Nursing homes will be required to meet certain quality standards to receive the full benefit of the program.  The NFRA is intended to incentivize nursing home operators to improve the quality of care they deliver, while also giving them the tools they need to elevate care.

Warren thanked Senator Hinojosa for making Texas seniors a priority. 

"Improving the quality of care in Texas nursing facilities comes with a cost," Warren said. "The NFRA allows us to improve long-term care in Texas with an innovative approach that doesn't cost taxpayers. It's a solution that all Texans can get behind."

Companion legislation has been filed in the Texas House of Representatives—House Bill 2766 by Rep. J.D. Sheffield (R-Gatesville).


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/texas-health-care-association-legislators-consider-bill-to-address-funding-crisis-in-texas-nursing-facilities-without-new-taxes-300429984.html