|State Sen Charles Schwertner|
That could be changing with recently introduced legislation to eliminate a loophole in the law that allows a large percentage of violators of nursing home regulations, even repeat offenders, to avoid fines.
The filing of the bills comes on the heels of a recently released report by AARP titled “Intolerable Care” that offers a troubling snapshot of what the organization calls the “Texas nursing home quality crisis.”
While the agency can cite nursing home operators for violations, its hands are tied when it comes to fining them. State law allows nursing homes to correct any violation without administrative penalty if the violation did not result in serous harm or the death of a resident, did not constitute a serious threat to health or safety, and did not limit the capacity to provide care.
There are no penalties assessed on 80 percent of the violations. That means limited incentive for nursing home operators to correct the violations, AARP found.
State Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, has filed legislation seeking to address the problems cited in the nursing home report. The proposed legislation eliminates the “right to correct” language in the nursing home regulations and imposes progressive sanctions based on the severity of recurring violations. It also requires all nursing facilities in the state to carry professional liability insurance coverage of $300,000 per occurrence and $1 million in aggregate.
The legislation will go a long way toward holding those responsible for providing long-term care for our state’s more vulnerable residents accountable.
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Bill targets state nursing home issues