Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa is THCA’s Legislator of the Year
Lawmaker’s stand for senior Texas earns Texas Health Care Association honor
Contact: Jim Suydam
AUSTIN, Texas — During the 85th session of the Texas Legislature, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa took a stand for vulnerable senior Texas and their families who depend on long term care.
The Texas Health Care Association honored Hinojosa for that stand today, presenting the veteran South Texas lawmaker with THCA’s Legislator of the Year award at Cimarron Place Healthcare & Rehab in Corpus Christi.
“Sen. Hinojosa is a powerful and influential Senator in Austin who never forgets what’s really important to his constituents back home,” said Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association. “Senior Texans and their families who depend on long term care deserve better from the state and Sen. Hinojosa is dedicated to making sure they get better. We are honored to have Senator Hinojosa’s support.”
Texas nursing homes have one of the lowest Medicaid reimbursement rates in the nation, one that doesn’t even cover the cost of care according to the state’s own numbers. This low rate keeps wages low and staff turnover high — more than 90 percent. That hurts the quality of care that’s delivered in long term care facilities across the state every day.
Hinojosa authored SB 1130 during this year’s regular legislative session, which would have returned hundreds of millions in federal dollars back to Texas to improve the state’s struggling nursing homes without adding to the state budget. This new money would have enabled nursing home owners across the state to raise wages, enhance training, and improve their facilities and the care they provide.
“Sen. Hinojosa’s influence in the Senate is well-known,” Warren said. “His support for boosting long term care funding without burdening taxpayers reassured his colleagues in the Senate the plan was a good one.”
SB 1130’s companion legislation, HB 2766, passed the House with strong bipartisan support, but the effort to improve Texas nursing homes died in the Senate as the clock ran out on the session.
“Texas nursing homes face critical problems because of a severe state Medicaid reimbursement shortfall,” Hinojosa said, thanking THCA for the honor. “This past session we worked tirelessly to create a funding solution that would increase quality of care for our loved ones. I will continue to stand up for our Texas seniors and their families to improve long term care because they deserve better.”
Hinojosa was born in McAllen and worked as a farm laborer in his youth. Hinojosa is an attorney who served his country with distinction in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine. He was first elected to the Texas House in 1981. In 2002, he was elected to the Senate, where he has worked to secure funding for the expansions of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and the University of Texas-Pan American, where he also helped establish a free-standing medical school. Hinojosa has been named one of Texas Monthly’s “Top 10 Legislators” three times.
# # #
Founded in 1950, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) is the largest long-term care association in Texas. THCA’s membership is comprised of several hundred licensed non-profit and for-profit skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), specialized rehabilitation facilities and assisted living facilities in Texas. These facilities provide comprehensive, around-the-clock nursing care for chronically ill or short-term residents of all ages, along with rehabilitative and specialized medical programs. THCA also represents more than 190 long-term care businesses that provide products and services to the state’s approximately 2,850 nursing homes and assisted living facilities.