Joint Committee Continues Oversight of Long Term Care
Concerns about the care of elderly Texans raised during the 77th Legislature have sparked an investigation of the long term care system in the state during this interim. Today, Wednesday, February 20, 2002, the Long Term Care Legislative Oversight Committee examined proposed legislation in other states, and how insurance companies are shouldering their share of the burden.
Dr. Jennifer Salmon of the Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging, briefed the committee on what changes are being made in that state to cope with an increasing elderly population. Florida is also dealing with a staff shortage, as are many Texas nursing homes.
Speaking on the state of the Texas nursing home industry, insurance commissioner Jose Montemayor testified before the committee. He reviewed the problems that various facilities are having getting general liability and medical malpractice insurance, saying that both nursing homes and assisted living facilities alike are having difficulties.
Will Davis and Joe Chilton of the Texas Medical Liability Insurance Underwriting Association then gave an overview of how liability insurance for medical professionals operates in Texas. Their association specializes in selling insurance only to those professionals who can not get insurance from a commercial carrier.
Don Gilbert from the Health and Human Services Commission testified on the implementation of House Bill 154 from the last session. He says that currently only about 60 percent of Texas nursing homes have full liability insurance, but by September of next year all nursing homes are supposed to have insurance.
Representatives from the insurance industry testified regarding their expenses and difficulties in providing insurance to the facilities. Also testifying today were representatives of the American Association of Retired Persons, Buckner Retirement Services, and the Texas Health Care Association. The committee recessed subject to call of the chair.