THCA & LATX Leaders Caution “3 Strike Rule” Will Cause Unintended Consequences for Frail Elderly

January 28, 2015

Texas Nursing Home Leaders Caution “3 Strike Rule” Will Cause Unintended Consequences for Frail Elderly

Nursing Home Providers Assert Rule Removes Regulatory Discretion –

Could Jeopardize Access to Care for Texas Seniors

(Austin, TX) –Texas health care providers raised concerns today about legislation that creates a three-strike rule for nursing home closures in the state. Senate Bill 304, introduced by Senator Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), would close nursing homes that receive three specific state violations of care over a two year period.

“The 3 Strike rule legislation creates an opportunity to further discuss regulatory oversight and the assurance of quality in the care of our aging population, “said Kevin Warren, President of the Texas Healthcare Association (THCA). “When enforcing nursing home regulations however, the removal of the regulatory discretion with a three strike rule will create a harmful and additional regulatory burden.”

If passed, the bill would expand the authority of state agency personnel to determine whether a facility remains open. The results of those determinations could affect the quality of care for thousands of elderly in the state’s 1,200 nursing facilities. Both THCA and LeadingAge Texas, together, the state’s largest nursing home associations, agree that the bill could potentially close high performing facilities and jeopardize access to quality nursing home care.

“We appreciate Senator Schwertner’s commitment to the seniors of our state and pledge our commitment to standards that promote the quality of care for our most vulnerable Texans,” said George Linial, President of LeadingAge Texas. “The bill, as it is currently drafted, runs counter to contemporary approaches of improving patient safety across the spectrum of healthcare.”

Both organizations stressed that serious violations of care in Texas facilities are never acceptable and nursing home providers must be committed to promoting quality care in their community. Both THCA and LeadingAge Texas support a process that identifies the root causes in facilities that incur repeated citations and assists providers with a corrective plan that addresses problem areas.

“Texas currently provides procedures for closing nursing homes that have one serious safety violation,” said Linial. “While safety and well-being is paramount, closing a facility has serious

consequences for the residents, families, health care workers, and the community supporting the facility.”

“Nursing homes are working to ensure the highest level of care for the over 90,000 elderly nursing home residents in Texas,” said Warren. “Their care and safety is of the utmost importance. Taking steps to address inconsistencies in the enforcement process and the interpretation of guidelines that define the severity of a violation is a positive step forward and possible within the current regulatory framework.”

Added Linial, “Long term care providers stand united in their commitment to provide the best care available to our elder Texans. We support consistent and effective regulatory policies designed to promote the highest level of patient safety and skilled nursing care.”

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About THCA

Founded in 1950, the Texas Health Care Association (THCA) is the largest long-term care association in Texas. THCA’s membership is comprised of several hundred licensed non-profit and for-profit skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), specialized rehabilitation facilities and assisted living facilities in Texas. These facilities provide comprehensive, around-the-clock nursing care for chronically ill or short-term residents of all ages, along with rehabilitative and specialized medical programs. THCA also represents more than 190 long-term care businesses that provide products and services to the state’s approximately 2,850 nursing homes and assisted living facilities. To learn more, visit or connect with THCA on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

About LeadingAge

LeadingAge Texas is a trade association representing the full continuum of mission-driven, not-for-profit aging services providers in Texas by rendering up-to-date information, advocacy, education, representation, group services, and networking to aging services professionals to fulfill our promise: Inspire. Serve. Advocate.