Texas lawmakers are taking aim at bad nursing homes after a report by AARP Texas revealed that the state officials were surprisingly lax when it comes to making nursing homes own up to violations.
There are about 1,200 nursing home facilities in Texas. According to the report, nursing homes state officials reported 17,466 violations at state nursing homes in 2015, but only 40 resulted in enforcement actions. Of those violations, 328 were listed as serious, but the state only fined 22 of them, allowing others to skirt accountability at the expense of residents’ health, AARP Texas said.
In 2016, 18,089 violations were reported, 51 of which resulted in administrative penalties, the report showed.
State law allows skilled nursing facilities to avoid penalties by addressing violations found during inspections within 45 days provided the violations did not put residents in harm’s way. But in a bill filed earlier this month, State Sen. Charles Schwertner is pushing to require the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to develop sanctions based on the scope and severity of the violation. The bill also pushes for steeper penalties for long-term care facilities that receive the most serious violations.
“Senate Bill 932 goes a long way toward holding nursing home owners and operators in Texas accountable when they hurt residents and jeopardize their health,” AARP Texas director Bob Jackson said.
Schwertner also filed a bill that would require all nursing homes in the state to carry liability insurance of $300,000 per occurrence and $1 million in total.
Source: My Statesman