Special to The Dallas Examiner
AUSTIN – The Human Services Committee in the Texas House of Representatives on Friday approved House Bill 4220, a measure that would severely weaken the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, a trusted resource for families when there are concerns about treatment of individuals in nursing homes, assisted living centers and other long-term care facilities.
AARP Texas strongly opposed the bill and urged the Texas Legislature to substantially revise or halt any further advancement of the bill. Earlier this month, AARP provided testimony to the committee in opposition to the bill, and those concerns have not been rectified.
“The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is one of the most reliable and trusted resources Texas families can count on when there is concern about the care a loved one is getting in a nursing home or assisted living facility,” AARP Texas Director Tina Tran stated Friday in a prepared statement. House Bill 4220 would severely disrupt the program and weaken its independent authority to protect the state’s most vulnerable residents.”
She explained that an ombudsman is legislatively responsible for advocating for residents in long-term care facilities and their families. Duties including helping to ensure that staff provide quality and safe care. They also provide information to help find a facility and retain quality care. Each ombudsman is trained and responsible for investigating and resolving problems on behalf of residents.
“It is deeply disappointing for House Bill 4220 to advance out of committee, as the bill includes provisions that would limit the Ombudsman’s access to records and thus, would erode officials’ capacity to advocate and resolve problems on behalf of residents,” she said. “For the health and wellbeing of Texas’ most vulnerable residents, AARP Texas stands strongly opposed to House Bill 4220.”