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Proposed Amendments that Apply to Title 26 RE: LTC OMBUDSMEN. Comments Due to HHSC Monday, March 4th

Updated: Mar 1




EDIT: NO GROUP ZOOM. THE FOUR OF US DID A SMALL GROUP REVIEW AND DETERMINED THE RULES ARE MORE STRAIGHTFORWARD THAN WE FIRST THOUGHT. Look for a post Friday, March 1, that outlines some of the things we discussed. BUT you should still read the proposed rules yourself and draw your own conclusions because there are a couple of things that we're still unsure about. Translation: we don't understand!

 

Hey, group. On Feb 2, I posted a detailed explanation about HHSC soliciting comments regarding amendments to the Texas Admin Code as they apply to the Texas Long-term Care Ombudsmen Program. Links at the bottom of this post.

Genny Lutzel , Deniese James-Itz, and Cindy Napolitan will be submitting detailed comments and we will be putting our comments together for YOU and sharing those in a ZOOM meeting on Friday, March 1 at 7pm.

YOU MUST get the zoom link from us - email TexasCaregiversforCompromise@yahoo.com - we will not publish it because we do not want our remarks to be public until the comment period is closed on March 4. We do not want to give anyone an early opportunity to dismiss or rebut our remarks.

Clearly, from provider group comments made earlier this month (see the video above), providers have not given up on efforts to limit the ability for ombudsmen to access records in an effort to advocate for residents. This will likely be their focus for quite some time.

FYI, Federal law says ombudsmen are entitled to access records and DOES NOT set limitations. This is why provideres fought for record limitations in a bill last session and want limitations in state regulations and/or state law now. A record with the resident's name on it, including "incident reports" belong to the resident unless otherwise provided by law. If record definitions are narrowed, that does NOT protect residents, but SHIELDS the facility. Example: preventing accidents or injuries from being disclosed on "incident reports".

Texas Assisted Living Assosciation is taking crediti for managing to delay the revisions in the Assisted Living Facility rules HHSC sought public comments on earlier this year by getting TALA members to submit excessive numbers of comments. TALA even announced the delay and a necessary second public comment period in their newsletter. No such announcement has yet been made by HHSC but I am told it is true that the revisions in the ALF rules are paused.

You will recall Representative Clardy’s bill last session filed with the clear intent to hinder the ombudsman’s ability to investigate inside facilities when Ombudsmen, are, according to Federal law and regulations there for the health, safety, welfare, and rights of residents and part of their role is to identify, investigate, and resolve complaints including abuse and neglect. I fully expect to see a similar bill filed this next session since that one did not make it out of the House. It had the necessary House support. It just barely missed the clock.

We need to be talking to our House reps now, today, and telling them how critical the Ombudsman program is to our residents and how providers do not have the right under Federal law to interfere with investigations so they must PLEASE not allow them to prevent investigations altogether by altering laws in Texas.

A link to the proposed ombudsmen rules is HERE and the previous post with more details is HERE. Not everyone has the kind of time necessary to read through the document but IF YOU DO, please take the time and submit your remarks.

Meanwhile, mark you calendar for:

TEXAS CAREGIVERS FOR COMPROMISE

OMBUDSMEN RULE REVISION ZOOM

FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2024

7:00 PM

It will be recorded.

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