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SB-652 CALL TO ACTION PART THREE - The Ombudsman Bill - Cataloguing Capitol Comments & Testimonies


This is urgent. This bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on Feb 17 so it is very important that they know that not only does the bill not serve residents but it is in conflict with the Texas Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program's federal requirement to provide services to protect the health, safety, welfare, and rights of the residents.


Please contact the bill authors, Senator Schwetner and Senator Perry OR one of the Senators on the committee if one of them happens to be your senator. Names and numbers are at the bottom of this post.


A little rabbit run . . .


You know, sometimes taking care of my mother reminded me of jiggling the handle on an old toilet that kept running if I didn't make sure the little flapper thing was seated. I jiggled the handle and an hour later, I had to jiggle it again. But it was my responsibility to keep that toilet clean and keep it running. Now and then, I needed a plumber.


Yes, as a matter, of fact I DID just compare my mother to a toilet.


Calm down, everyone! It's just an analogy and I'll call my mother a toilet if I want to!


Where was I?


Oh. Yes. Well, this section of the bill feels very much like when your plumber is on the way and you will finally get that sink unclogged or that garbage disposal installed and then he calls and says he's delayed because there's construction causing so much traffic that he must reschedule.

Very bad analogy, I know, but that's what I got as I was reading this section of the bill - unneccessary and unrelated traffic getting in the way of the duties prescribed in federal law and regulations that the LTC Ombudsman is required to do in the interests of - -


R E S I D E N T S


Okay. Let's go.


Federal regulations require the ombudsman to report annually on the success of the execution of the LTC Ombudman program’s purpose and how well it is serving the residents including:

  • an analysis of Ombudsman program data

  • an evaluation of the problems experienced by, and the complaints made by or on behalf of, residents

  • policy, regulatory, and/or legislative recommendations for improving quality of the care and life of the residents; protecting the health, safety, welfare, and rights of the residents; and resolving resident complaints and identified problems or barriers

  • analysis of the success of the Ombudsman program, including success in providing services to residents of assisted living, board and care facilities and other similar adult care facilities

  • barriers that prevent the optimal operation of the Ombudsman program

And whatever else the LTC Ombudsman wants to add that is relevant. You know what it doesn't say? Reporting on this next part of the Ombudsman's job.

The State Ombudsman's job per federal regulations is ALSO to analyze and monitor federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and other government policies and actions that pertain to long-term care facilities and services.

T

he Ombudsman may include some of that in the annaul report and may not. Depends on whether the Ombudsman determines any of it is relevant, timely, or is affecting the program's purpose to provide services to protect the health, safety, welfare, and rights of the residents.

But the bill changes that.


SB-652 BILL says (and I'm paraphrasing) - - -

- - - the LTC Ombudsman must catalogue every public comment, position, and testimony at the Capitol, itemize those with a corresponding bill number and description of the legislation, and write a summary of the LTC Ombudsman’s position every time a person in the office testifies or comments. Every bit of that is available online. It also says the LTC Ombudsman is to cite the volume and page number in the Texas Register of any proposed rule commented on with a summary of the submitted comment.


Now, I don't know about you guys, but this sounds like a book report for the convenience of providers and lobbyists. And it's unnecessary traffic getting in the way of the work our LTC Ombudsman does for the residents in 1200 plus nursing homes and 2000 plus assisted living facilities. And, NO, I am NOT calling them toilets! They are the reason we came together as a group, the reason we have put in hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours on their behalf and the reason we are #notgoingaway.


Again, anyone who wants to see if the LTC Ombudsman commented on a particular bill or proposed rule has the ability to go online and look that up. Requiring cataloguing does not serve residents or the public. It serves providers and lobbyists. They are the ones who are convenienced by that information in one spreadsheet or report. And that is against federal regulations as a confllict of interest.


If there was legitimate resident-related or public value in this section, the bill would apply the same level of detailed cataloguing and summarization to each of the ‘federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and other government policies and actions that pertain to long-term care facilities and services” that the LTC Ombudsman is required to analyze and monitor under federal regulations which would be absurdly cumbersome.


This requirement is for the sole convenience of providers and lobbyists. The LTC Ombudsman's office, by law, cannot work for them. By federal and state law and federal regulations, the Long-term care Ombudsman is to provide services to protect the health, safety, welfare, and rights of the residents.


The bill text is here. This section begins on the last page, Page 4, Line 11.


The long-term care industry is so very critical as the safest and healthiest option for many of our loved ones. But we also need the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program to advocate for residents, educated us and help us understand and navigate complicated processes.


Committee Members:

Senate Committee on Health and Human Services

Lois W. Kolkhorst, Chair (512) 463-0118

Charles Perry, Vice - Chair (512) 463-0128

César Blanco (512) 463-0129

Sen. Bob Hall (512) 463-0102

Sen. Kelly Hancock (512) 463-0109

Sen. Bryan Hughes (512) 463-0101

Sen. Morgan LaMantia (512) 463-0127

Sen. Borris L. Miles (512) 463-0113

Sen. Kevin Sparks (512) 463-0131

Bill Authors:

Sen. Charles Schwertner (979) 776-0222

Sen. Charles Perry (806) 783-9934


We are Texas Caregivers for Compromise and we are #notgoingaway

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