Volume XXXI, Number 2
THCA Provides Senate Committee with Comments on Applied Income
Elderly financial abuse and exploitation was the issue before the Senate Business and Commerce Committee when they held an interim hearing last month.
THCA Director of Rate and Financial Analysis Tom Plowman submitted comments to the committee on behalf of the association.
The comments focused on the “frequent misappropriation of nursing facility Medicaid residents’ applied income.”
“When this occurs, the nursing facility caring for the resident is faced with a difficult decision,” Plowman said. “One option would be to discharge the resident for non-payment. This is certainly not in the best interest of the resident, who is in no way at fault.”
“The other option is for the nursing facility to absorb the loss and to continue to provide care for the resident. Based upon communications with provider members, facilities often choose to do the latter, even though the facility is also not at fault. In these cases, it is the responsible party who is at fault and who is misappropriating the resident’s income. It is at this point that we believe financial exploitation of the elderly is occurring.”
Plowman referred to a report of the Applied Income Workgroup in 2014. The report recommended stricter penalties on individuals and family members for not paying their applied income, such as mandating a referral to a collections agency. They also suggested more stringent mandates for nursing facilities to become representative payees for every Medicaid resident’s Social Security benefits, perhaps even making this an automatic process upon admission to a nursing facility.
The Senate committee is expected to issue its report sometime this fall.
Notice: Before you e-mail your legislator, make sure you have the latest address. As of February 1, House and Senate e-mail addresses have been updated from @house.state.tx.us and @senate.state.tx.us to @house.texas.gov and @senate.texas.gov
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