On January 8, 2013, the 83rd Texas Legislative Session will convene in Austin. For 140 days, legislators will debate thousands of bills that impact Texans across the state, including important healthcare related bills that could affect the way you and your loved ones receive care in the future. Senior Care Centers understands this, and is working with state lawmakers to help ensure the highest quality of care for our residents.
In light of our country’s current economic situation, both our federal and state governments are being forced to make tough funding decisions, and unfortunately, Medicare and Medicaid are not immune. This is of particularly significance to Senior Care Centers because the majority of our residents utilize Medicare, Medicaid, or both, and our government affairs team is working with state lawmakers and other important stakeholders to minimize cuts to both of these critical programs.
In a poll of Texas voters during the last legislative session, when asked about solutions for addressing our state’s budget issues, the majority of respondents leaned more towards cuts than raising new money (i.e. increasing taxes). While this is not surprising, particularly in a fiscally conservative state, the good news for our industry is that 90% of the respondents opposed cuts in funding for nursing home care.
As we approach the 2013 session, we continue to see this same public sentiment, as people understand the urgency of protecting our state’s aging and disabled population.
The nursing home industry’s message to legislators this session is simple:
- We are already strained. State leaders must keep in mind the significant challenges already facing Texas’ nursing homes as they cope with $58 million state Medicaid funding reductions in 2011, $234 million in federal Medicare cuts in 2012, and the growing probability of additional cuts.
- Additional cuts could end up costing more. At a time when patients and taxpayers would benefit from increased investment in nursing home care – which can help reduce incidents of rehospitalizations due to successful rehabilitation – budget cuts aimed at facilities are illogical and wrong. This is especially true as our patient population is growing in size, age and complexity of medical condition.
- Quality care is at stake. Local facilities already face a growing strain in their ongoing ability to care for growing numbers of older, more medically complex patients, and could be in danger of having to cut back on resources devoted to providing care for patients.
The highest quality care is Senior Care Centers’ top priority, and we plan on keeping it that way. That’s why our team is working hard to ensure these important issues are addressed and that all Texas seniors receive the care they deserve. We encourage you to do the same by contacting your local state representative and making your voice heard.
To stay tuned for ongoing updates throughout the Texas Legislative Session period, Like the Senior Care Centers Facebook page or follow Senior Care Centers on Twitter (@SeniorCareTexas).