Don’t Let Freedom of Choice Protections for Texas Seniors Expire

Buried deep in the Texas Government Code is a provision that could cause major difficulties for nursing home residents and their families unless the Legislature acts this legislative session.

On September 1, 2017, the managed care organizations that run the Texas Medicaid program could gain the power to squeeze nursing homes out of their networks. This could lead to residents having to relocate because the facility cannot afford to care for them at out-of-network rates.— even if they meet all state and federal standards.

Narrowing the network of skilled nursing providers will boost the bottom line for insurance companies. But it could be disruptive for thousands of Texas seniors, who might have to move away from their long term care home, and their families.

In 2013, Senate Bill 7 mandated that nursing home residents whose care is funded by Medicaid enroll in a managed care organization. This legislation included several protections for seniors, including ensuring them the freedom to choose the facility that keeps them close to family and best meets their needs.

Letting this protection expire could cause disruptions in care and add confusion and heartbreak to residents and their families.