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AARP AARP States Texas Advocacy

AARP Texas Urges Legislature to Improve Nursing Home Quality

Despite receiving billions of state and federal dollars throughout the pandemic and hefty payments from families, the quality of nursing homes in Texas has not significantly improved lately. Texas has more one-star rated – or lowest quality -- nursing homes than Florida, California, and New York combined, based on the federal government’s five-star rating system for nursing homes.

Though the nursing homes are primarily funded with taxpayer dollars, there is little oversight or transparency in how nursing homes spend money. This is especially concerning given how much nursing home funding has increased since the pandemic. A poll conducted last year for AARP Texas found that more than 90 percent of Texans want nursing homes to be more transparent.

Andrea Earl, associate state director of advocacy at AARP Texas, says that Texas nursing homes should be held accountable for how they spend money. “We must ensure that public dollars are going toward quality improvement, not to line the pockets of nursing home companies,” she said.

There's always light at the end of the tunnel

Nursing homes also lack transparency in ownership structures. Often the same entity owns therapy, staffing, and management companies that support nursing homes. This makes it easy for the larger entity to receive public funds across companies. As private equity firms increasingly invest in nursing homes, the web of ownership continues to get more complicated.

As the 2023 legislative session is underway in Austin, lawmakers can decide the future of how public dollars go to nursing homes. Texans polled agreed that nursing homes should spend more of the money they receive on direct care of clients. When allocating funds to nursing homes, legislators could earmark funds to ensure that they go to direct care by nursing staff.

AARP Texas advocates for putting public dollars toward direct care, transparency in ownership, and directing new funds for staffing needs. “We want a bill filed and passed that will clearly create financial transparency for nursing homes,” said Earl. “Residents and families should be able to make the best decision possible for true quality of care and safety.”

You can take action! Please sign the AARP Texas petition to urge the Texas Legislature to improve nursing home quality. Visit this link to sign on:

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