Political “optics” is no excuse for denying good policy

You did what you were asked to do, and it still wasn’t enough for some.

Back in April, I reported that “efforts to improve nursing home care in Texas are under assault and misinformation and scare tactics are being directed at senior citizens and legislators”.

This past week, the opportunity to put long term care in Texas in a position to be the best in can be was thwarted because good policy was set aside for concerns over “optics” regarding the Nursing Facility Reinvestment Allowance (HB2766).

Even when a proposal:

• Is a provider based solution that doesn’t increase state spending,
• Implements a significant quality based payment program,
• Protects against potential changes in federal health care policy,
• Has the support of over 850 skilled nursing providers representing over 100,000 beds
• Maintains bipartisan legislative support from the outset; and,
• Protects no/low Medicaid providers, “optics” appear more important than outcomes

I was reminded this session of the Shel Silverstein poem “What If?” about the “whatifs” and all the things that could happen and what would you do?  What if it’s called a tax on residents?  What if the feds change the rules? What if the program doesn’t work like its intended?

What if the legislature took interest in solving the funding crisis in long term care with the same commitment that is expected of you all each and every day, when caring for your patients and families?

What if we finally find a path forward for our industry in Texas that is not divided in order to succeed collectively for the betterment of the whole? A path forward that makes good policy stand strong over politics, and scorecards. A path that doesn’t wait for tragedy to happen before action is finally taken.

NFRA started us down that path and in spite of the outcome; we must continue to push until we find that path!

I want to thank each and every one of you who made the thousands of calls to your legislators, made visits to the Capitol in Austin, encouraged your staff and families to make contact and were willing to write letters/emails and Op-Eds work you do and the challenges you face. It does make a difference.

Thank you for what you do for your communities on a daily basis.

Onward and Upward