More than one-third of Texas nursing facilities were located in counties affected by Hurricane Harvey, THCA President and CEO Kevin Warren told a joint legislative committee hearing on November 1.

The House Committee on Human Services and the House Public Health Committee held hearing in order to study the state’s response to Hurricane Harvey. Their findings will be reported to the House Speaker before the next regular session.

Warren told the committee that more than 100 facilities were evacuated successfully while many others opted to shelter in place. He said sheltering in place is preferable when possible.

He said there were things that worked well during the weather event though challenges were also identified.

Warren made several recommendations for how the state may better address future natural disasters. Those included:

  • Long Term / Post Acute Care representatives should be co-located with regulatory and commission staff responsible for provider coordination during natural disasters and emergency situations.
  • Long Term / Post Acute / Assisted Living should be priority for transportation when the need for evacuation has been determined (mandatory or non-mandatory evacuations).
  • Encourage early declaration of emergency and pursuit of waivers (e.g. 1135 and 1812f) to allow providers the resources and flexibility to meet the needs of affected individuals.
  • Establish an advanced communication process for local OEM / law enforcement with supply line companies and healthcare providers to mitigate support disruption.
  • Expand the Texas Medical Reserve Corps and secure interstate reciprocity as early as possible.

Are you having a holiday party for your residents? Why not invite your favorite legislator to the festivities? They can meet your staff and residents and learn all about the care you provide in their communities. For information and assistance, call Scot Kibbe, THCA Director of Government Relations, at 512-458-1257.