Updated: Jun 17, 2022
Hi folks, this is very long. If you don't wanna read it all, here's the crux. Please contact your U.S. House Rep and tell them HR3733 needs their support as a co-sponsor. You don't need to meet with them or write long letters (unless you want to). Just leave a voice mail or fill out the email form on their website. Find your U.S. rep here: https://www.house.gov/representa.../find-your-representative
HR3733 posts are always long because of our history in Texas with essential caregivers. So hang in there. OR only read the parts that interest you. But, I want to update you on our group’s efforts re: HR3733, the FEDERAL essential caregivers act, and ask for your support. I know the writing is tiny on the graphic. Click on it to enlarge it or you can find the text of the full bill here: https://www.congress.gov/.../117t.../house-bill/3733/text...
This is NOT our state law. It’s a federal one. To be clear - especially for any new group members - THIS IS NOT related to our HHSC guidelines, state law, or our constitutional amendment. This is not a Texas bill and does not take away any resident rights in place in Texas today. Our Texas essential caregiver rights stand regardless of this bill. This is a national bill that applies to all 50 states and will specifically help those states who have not put essential caregivers in place, default wholly to CMS guidance, or put bills in place that are not person-centered (translation: they are lip service).
Background - For long-time group members and founding group members, you’ll remember that advocacy groups across the country came together last year and published a national version of the Texas “Saving Them to Death” book called “Protecting Them to Death”. We have used that book to promote the need for HR3733. We have also participated in a Washington D.C. round table discussion regarding the bill and we’ve shared our advocacy experiences with states throughout the U.S. via media and conferences: our traveling signs, letter campaigns, proposals, legislative efforts, relationships with our elected officials, successes/failures, and our recognition as family stakeholders in Texas with our Health and Human Services Commission which allows us to participate in work groups and task forces with HHSC and provider groups like the re-organization of the Texas Administrative Code as it applies to assisted living facilities, an Infection Prevention and Control Building Design Task Force, and the review of HHSC emergency visitation rules and guidelines for nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.
BOTTOM LINE - We want other states to have what we have. We want Texas to be an example of how family advocacy can work well for long-term care residents. We want legislators to see how health authorities and provider groups can reach safe and reasonable solutions that take into consideration input from long-term care residents and their families.
Why does Texas need HR3733? We don’t. Lemme just throw that out there right now. Texas does not need it. We are the only state that can say that. Residents in long-term care in Texas have a solid statute, HHSC is committed to guidelines that protect resident rights, and Texas has a constitutional amendment that guarantees every resident the right to an essential caregiver with whom in-person visitation cannot be denied. We're golden.
So, why should Texas care about this bill? Because only long-term care residents in the great state of Texas have an essential caregiver right that cannot be paused or waived. And Texas is the only state that has had COMPREHENSIVE essential caregiver guidelines in place since September 2020 and we can PROVE that essential caregivers help prevent the life threatening despondency, extreme weight loss, and cognitive decline from isolation protocols. We are also proof that the threat of families bringing disease into facilities is very minimal, and because no resident should be forced to live in isolation. Texas is proof essential caregivers are a good thing.
IF ANY STATE CAN PROVE THAT ESSENTIAL CAREGIVERS ARE A SAFE AND REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE TO ISOLATION PROTOCOLS, IT’S TEXAS.
Will HR3733 fix everything for the other states? NOPE. It only applies to Medicaid/Medicare funded facilities but it is our hope that if the bill is adopted, states will put equal legislation in place for their assisted living facilities. We gotta start somewhere, though.
Haven’t other states adopted essential caregiver bills? Some have and a couple of them are even decent bills. But most either still give full discretionary authority to facilities in contradiction to federal law OR they only copy language from CMS’s end of life requirements and make that applicable to all health care facilities..
How is Texas Caregivers for Compromise working to promote HR3733? We have consistently met with and spoken to U.S. House reps over the past year and asked them to co-sponsor and/or support HR3733 and have asked our U.S. Senators for their support with a Senate Companion bill. Just in the past two weeks, I’ve had nine meetings with U.S. House rep offices including five of the seven Texans in the two committees of jurisdiction, House Ways and Means and House Energy and Commerce.
Why are Texans not co-signing? Because we don’t need it and our legislators know that. We need to make sure our U.S. House reps understand that Texas is the testing ground for essential caregiver guidelines that proves it can work at the federal level for all states. Texas is the groundbreaker, the flagship, the trailblazer.
But our essential caregiver guideline development process has not been flawless in Texas. Of course not. But we’re the state that has learned through 21 months of trial and error what works and what doesn’t. And we are the state where the health authority, provider groups, ombudsman office and family stakeholders (Texas Caregivers for Compromise) HAVE ALL WORKED TOGETHER.
How can you help? There are 38 U.S. House districts in Texas. This is NOT THE SAME as the 150 Texas House Representatives. Contacting a state rep does no good. None. Zero. They passed SB25 and SJR19 (Prop6) and we are grateful. Your U.S. HOUSE REPs are the elected officials to tell that HR3733 needs their support. There are over 7,000 bills in the U.S. House right now. They need to know this one matters.
Use this link to find your US Representative. As a constituent, your voice carries much weight. Just leave a voice mail or drop an email and say that we need HR3733 in this country so Texas is not the only state where long-term care residents are protected from isolation protocols. https://www.house.gov/representa.../find-your-representative
We are Texas Caregivers for Compromise. We are not Texas Caregivers for Perfect Justice. And we are #notgoingaway