AUSTIN, Texas – The Human Services Committee in the Texas House of Representatives on Friday approved House Bill 4220, a measure that would severely weaken the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, a trusted resource for families when there are concerns about treatment of individuals in nursing homes, assisted living centers and other long-term care facilities.
AARP Texas strongly opposes House Bill 4220 and urges the Texas Legislature to substantially revise or halt any further advancement of the bill. Earlier this month, AARP provided testimony to the committee in opposition to the bill, and those concerns have not been rectified.
Today, AARP Texas Director Tina Tran issued the following statement of concern about HB 4220:
“The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is one of the most reliable and trusted resources Texas families can count on when there is concern about the care a loved one is getting in a nursing home or assisted living facility. House Bill 4220 would severely disrupt the program and weaken its independent authority to protect the state’s most vulnerable residents.
“The Ombudsman is legislatively charged with advocating for residents and their families and helps to ensure that they get quality and safe care. Its staff provides information about how to find a facility, what to do to get quality care, and they are trained and responsible for investigating and resolving problems on behalf of a long-term care facility resident.
“It is deeply disappointing for House Bill 4220 to advance out of committee, as the bill includes provisions that would limit the Ombudsman’s access to records and, thus, would erode officials’ capacity to advocate and resolve problems on behalf of residents. For the health and wellbeing of Texas’ most vulnerable residents, AARP Texas stands strongly opposed to House Bill 4220.”