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Ethan Phillips
Ethan Phillips

Demanded That The Texas Department Of Health Crack Down On Deplorable Conditions In Nursing Homes 2021

The pandemic did expose understaffing in nursing homes to many Americans. In its wake, former certified nurse assistant Tracey Pompey is floored that the public has not demanded better care for vulnerable elders.

demanded that the texas department of health crack down on deplorable conditions in nursing homes

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Halamandaris, a retired Capitol Hill staffer, worked on the Senate Committee on Aging as the nation wrote its first rules for nursing homes and granted broad authority to federal health officials to enforce them. Halamandaris said the 1967 Moss Amendments, among other things, were intended to lead to the creation of staffing minimums and a subsequent crackdown.

AARP and others long-term care advocates are working toward major long-term care reforms to ensure another crisis like COVID-19 is avoided. President Joe Biden recently unveiled a slew of proposed changes to how U.S. nursing homes are regulated and run, including a vow to adopt federal minimum staffing requirements for facilities, step up enforcement of regulations and crack down on overcrowded rooms. He touched on the reforms during his March State of the Union address, saying federal officials will set higher standards for nursing homes and make sure your loved ones get the care they deserve and that they expect."

CDC guidance for nursing homes generally also applies to other long-term care facilities. If you have a loved one in an assisted living community and have questions or concerns about its COVID-19 caseload and response, contact the facility and ask to speak to an administrator. You can also bring issues to your state's department of health or department of aging.

Though Texas maintains a host of laws that pertain to nursing home care, the state has an equally long history of trouble doing right by its elderly citizens. In January, the AARP released a blistering report titled "Intolerable Care," which paints DADS as a toothless regulatory system that allows bad actors to get away with hurting clients. "Texas nursing home quality is shamefully poor," it reads. "As a result of this intolerable care, many residents of Texas nursing homes face unnecessary health and safety risks."

Statistics show that throughout the country, health-standard violations found in nursing homes are on the decline. But in Texas the number is spiking. According to The Dallas Morning News, cited deficiencies in Texas facilities rose by 20% between 2010 and 2014; severe infractions increased by 3% over that time. Over that same period, however, severe violations at nursing homes across the country declined by 16%.

It seems the Texas Legislature has finally listened. In June, a bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers passed House Bill 2025, in an effort to crack down on offending nursing homes that routinely dodge punishment. The bill, which went into effect in September, would close that "right to correct" loophole, permitting the state to impose hefty fines on repeat offenders where before those facilities could correct any violations without penalty. For nursing homes afforded a "right to correct," the amount of time to submit proof of corrective action has been shortened to 45 days.

President Biden addressed the sharp rise in homicides and shootings Wednesday. He touted his administration's plan to tackle gun crime by cracking down on gun sellers who fail to run required background checks. The president is also redirecting some $350 billion in federal stimulus money toward police departments in cities where crime is up. The spike in violent crime follows nearly two decades in which violent crime trended downward. "This takes us back to levels, homicide rates, that we would have seen in the late '90s," says law professor Ronald Wright at Wake Forest University.

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