Bipartisan effort seeks to avoid potential nursing home crisis
Bipartisan effort seeks to avoid potential nursing home crisis AUSTIN, TX – Members of the Texas House of Representatives took a huge step Thursday toward addressing years of nursing home underfunding, passing House Bill 2766. HB2766, by Gatesville family practice doctor Rep. J.D. Sheffield, will create the Nursing Facility Reinvestment Allowance (NFRA), allowing the state to draw down additional federal dollars as well as incentivizing improved quality without additional state spending. “This is a big step toward enhancing care in nursing facilities in Texas,” said Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association. “I want to thank legislators for embracing this smart, practical solution.”
Texas has lagged behind other states in finding ways to boost funding for nursing homes. Fortythree other states have similar programs in place to supplement health care funding. The NFRA would accomplish this by implementing a reinvestment allowance on nursing facility operators used to draw down federal Medicaid matching dollars Texas now loses to other states. The NFRA dedicates 50 percent of the additional funds to the achievement of certain quality standards to receive the full benefit of the program. HB2766 statutorily prohibits the NFRA from being passed on to residents. In addition to improving Medicaid rates, HB2766 would direct 50 percent of the additional funds toward quality-based payment programs.
Nursing homes will be required to meet certain quality standards to receive the full benefit of the program. The NFRA is intended to incentivize nursing home operators to enhance the quality of care they deliver, while also giving them the tools they need to elevate care, facilities and programs. Warren thanked Rep. Sheffield and members of the Texas House for making senior Texans a priority. “Improving the quality of care in nursing facilities is important to all Texans,” Warren said. “The NFRA allows us to enhance long term care in Texas and incentivize improved quality with an innovative approach that doesn’t increase state spending. It’s a solution that all Texans can get behind.” Companion legislation has been filed in the Texas Senate, SB1130, by Sen. Juan Hinojosa (D-McAllen).