— As Texas lawmakers near the end of the 2017 legislative session, AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson issued the following statement: “The 2017 legislative session will be memorable for its emotional fervor and theatrics. It also deserves recognition for advancing the wellbeing of older Texans and for making progress on certain issues that affect consumers of all ages. “AARP gives high marks to members of the Texas Legislature and Governor Greg Abbott for taking seriously the concerns and needs of older …

— Texans have reason to cheer a significant act of progress out of the legislative session. Late Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 507, which bolsters patient protections against surprise medical billing. Surprise medical billing occurs when an insured person receives out-of-network care (often in emergency care situations, like visits to neighborhood emergency clinics), and later get hit with medical charges that can far exceed what’s covered by the patient’s insurance. The AARP Texas-supported legislation was sponsored by …

— Telemedicine – or telehealth – could soon take firmer hold in Texas under legislation recently sent to the governor that would help patients meet with physicians via smartphone, tablet or computer. Employers and private insurers are already embracing the trend as a means of making healthcare more affordable and convenient, and as a step toward avoiding costly emergency room and doctor’s office visits. The Texas House and Senate approved Senate Bill 1107, which eases some of the state’s restrictions on …

— The following is a statement by AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson applauding the passage of HB 3921 by the Texas Senate today, a measure which would improve the reporting of financial exploitation targeting older Texans and would give new tools to banks and securities firms to place a temporary hold on suspicious transactions. Jackson said: “The Senate today has joined the House in taking an important step to protect vulnerable adults from becoming victims of financial fraud and abuse. We …

— Texas lawmakers today finalized a measure that gives important new rights to millions of unpaid family caregivers. A priority for AARP, House Bill 2425 (companion to Senate Bill 1417) would help Texans when their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home. The legislation goes next to the governor’s desk. The measure would ensure hospital patients’ designated family caregivers are offered instruction in providing needed care at home. The measure is vital because unpaid family caregivers often …

— AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson today praised the Legislature’s final passage of House Bill 3276. Filed by Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, HB 3276 would help protect consumers from surprise medical bills at freestanding emergency rooms. Earlier today, the Texas Senate approved the measure, sending it to the governor’s desk.  Jackson said: “Patients often rush to the nearest emergency room and unknowingly get treatment not covered by their insurance network. Because many freestanding emergency rooms in Texas do not have contracts …

— In Texas alone, there are more than 3.4 million unpaid family caregivers, many of whom provide complex medical and nursing tasks for their loved ones, and sometimes without adequate explanation or training. It’s not unusual for their tasks to include managing multiple medications, providing wound care, overseeing special diets, and operating high-tech medical equipment and monitors. Glenn Weaver of Flower Mound has been the caregiver for his wife, Aggie, since 1997, when she had two strokes that left her without …

— With the scheduled end of the 2017 Texas legislative session approaching, AARP continues to fight for passage of several bills that aim to improve nursing home quality, ease the stress of family caregivers, protect older Texans from financial exploitation, and help consumers avoid and respond to surprise medical charges. Here’s a brief overview of some of the issues the AARP Texas team is working on at the state Capitol: Nursing Home Quality and Safety: Texans deserve quality care that ensures …

— By Ellen Chang Mari Okabayashi, of Houston, has volunteered with AARP at state legislative sessions, congressional and city council hearings, and community events. She has advocated for defending Social Security, making Houston more walkable, limiting payday lending fees, helping older people avoid becoming victims of fraud, and opposing utility rate hikes. She also serves as a Texas Silver-Haired Legislator for Harris County. “Volunteering for AARP allows me to meet so many of our seniors,” said Okabayashi, 67. “I get to …

— It’s that time of year, folks! It’s time to celebrate and recognize our outstanding volunteers during National Volunteer Week. In Texas, we’d like to highlight several outstanding folks who have gone above and beyond for their communities. Without the help of our committed volunteers, our Texas communities would not be the same. From CAREversation family caregiver support groups to Fraud Watch Network shredding events, from volunteering with AARP Tax-Aide to help neighbors file their returns to urging elected officials to …