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Our Families Strongly Oppose HB4220 on Behalf of Vulnerable Residents in Long-term care Facilities

Public comments on HB4220 demonstrate that Texas families know HB4220 will weaken the Ombudsman Program and make it more difficult to advocate for their loved ones. Families let the House Human Services Committee know that this bill is harmful to families and not reasonable or acceptable. I hope the Committee reads them.

As I said in my testimony but fear it fell on deaf ears:

What I know from working in municipalities is that whenever a global fix is put in place to address specialized concerns, it creates more and harder problems to resolve. And in this case, Committee members, the residents who will suffer the most will be adult orphans, the least educated, most alienated. lowest income, it will be our immigrants, and it will be the marginalized populations of our long-term care communities for whatever reason they're marginalized. In other words, it will be the people who need those ombudsmen the very most.

The hearing of providers and the author who laid out the bill was very discouraging because it did not accurately depict the role of the ombudsman as defined in federal law and even stated that the ombudsmen have been "blurring the lines" between "fact finding and grievances" and "support", the latter being what the bill author said was the sole purpose of the ombudsman. It is not. Federal law and regulations state the purpose of the ombudsman is to protect the health, safety, welfare, and rights of the resident and resolving grievances, fact-finding, mitigating problems, and mediating, etc. are all part of that role.

So the impression given at the hearing that ombudsmen were "overzealous" and overstepping was an over the top exaggeration to get the bill passed. Between the lines was also the impressoin that residents, themselves, need this bill because they, too, are confused, about the law and the role of the ombudsman. We are not.

It is my hope that our legislators on the House Committee on Health and Human Services have served long enough to see through this smoke screen.

But regardless what happens with this bill, our group of 3100 families is part of something bigger, better, and more beautiful than anything imaginable to the people who testified yesterday in favor of diminishing long-term care advocacy to the precious but vulnerable populations of Texas in favor of profit.

Watch a recording of the hearing here:

Part one - HB4220 starts at 1:30 and I am first to testify and Representative Clardy lays out the bill.

The committee adjourns mid-hearing of HB4220 and the full House of Representatives meets

Part two after committee reconvenes - HB4220 continues at the very beginning::

We are Texas Caregivers for Compromise and we are #notgoingaway!

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