THCA Urges Legislators to Make Eldercare a Priority

January 13, 2015

As 2015 Texas Legislative Session Begins

(Austin, TX) – The Texas Health Care Association (THCA) today urged lawmakers to carefully consider the needs of the state’s most vulnerable elderly as the state comptroller announced a budget surplus and legislators convene for Texas’ 2015 state legislative session.

“Texas long term care providers are working diligently to improve quality measures in the delivery of care for our state’s elderly and for over a decade have faced the challenge of doing so with a nursing home Medicaid reimbursement rate that does not cover the actual cost of care,” said THCA President and CEO Kevin Warren.  “Two thirds of the patients in Texas nursing facilities today are Medicaid beneficiaries requiring a spectrum of services from short-stay rehabilitation to around the clock nursing care. Texas seniors’ medical needs continue to increase yet the Medicaid payment rate hovers near the bottom of the 50 states.”

State comptroller Glenn Hegar yesterday announced a budget of $113 billion in General Revenue available for the 2016-2017 state budget.  The general fund typically makes up nearly half of the state’s total budget. In addition, Hegar said the state will end the current biennium, which ends Aug. 31, with $7.5 billion in surplus funds.

“Texas nursing home providers understand that continuous quality improvements, staff retention and training and adequate resources are all correlated,” said Warren.  “There is no one solution to elevating the level of care in Texas nursing homes. Bringing Texas to the top of the nation in quality nursing home care requires a multi-faceted approach and implementing adequate Medicaid funding is a key part of that effort.”

Warren noted that the state Medicaid rate for nursing home care is 13.75 percent or $343 million in general revenue under what the state asserts will meet the cost of providing skilled nursing care for elderly Medicaid beneficiaries.

“Texas has a budget surplus and an unmet need in the ongoing challenge to deliver the best care possible to our state’s frail and elderly,” said Warren.  “Texas nursing home providers are committed to providing excellent care to our seniors.  We strongly urge legislators to join in that commitment by adequately funding the Medicaid rate for nursing home care.”

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Founded in 1950, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) is the largest long term care association in Texas. THCA represents a broad spectrum of long term care providers and professionals offering long term, rehabilitative and specialized health care services. Member facilities, owned by both for-profit and non-profit entities, include nursing facilities, specialized rehabilitation facilities, and assisted living facilities.