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Senator Judith Zaffirini: District 21
Press Release
August 20, 2020
Contact: Chris Willuhn
Senator Zaffirini Hosts Nursing Home Webinar
Focus on Visitation Policies, Resident Resources and Mental Health

Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, will host a Zoom webinar regarding visitation at Texas long-term care facilities on Wednesday, August 26, at 1:30 p.m.. Titled simply, "Visiting Texas Long-Term Care Facilities During COVID-19," the one-hour event will comprise brief presentations and Q&A regarding the Texas Health and Human Services Commission's (HHSC) new visitation policies and resources and guidelines to protect the physical and mental health of nursing home residents.

The expert panel will include three representatives from HHSC: Victoria Ford, Chief Policy and Regulatory Officer; Michelle Dionne-Vahalik, Associate Commissioner for Long-Term Care Regulation; and Patty Ducayet, Long-Term Care Ombudsman; as well as Dr. Gayle Ayers, an Austin-based geriatric psychiatrist.

"Texans are desperate to see their loved ones, too many of whom have been isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic," Senator Zaffirini said. "It is critical, however, that nursing home residents, staff and visitors understand important health guidelines. I'm delighted to assemble an expert panel to get my constituents the information they need to be reunited with their family members safely."

Persons interested in participating may register via, after which they will receive a confirmation email with their link to join. Questions for the panelists may be submitted to

This will be the ninth webinar during the pandemic hosted by Senator Zaffirini, who devotes every other Wednesday afternoon exclusively to forums informing the public about important issues. Previous events, all of which may be viewed via her public Facebook page, have centered on mental health, school reopening, online jury trials and more.

"Effective leadership is about adapting to the moment," Zaffirini explains. "With so many of us working from home—myself included—we've had to find new ways to keep Senate District 21 residents informed." The senator also publishes a weekly eNewsletter with extensive, up-to-date information. Constituents can subscribe via

Senator Zaffirini also stressed her and her staff's willingness to help: "Persons who need assistance may call my Capitol or district offices via 512/463-0121 or 956/722-2293, respectively," she said. "Our aim is always to make a difference for those we serve."

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SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI, the second-highest ranking member and highest- ranking woman and Hispanic member of the Texas Senate, regularly hosts Zoom webinars to inform the public. Her next event, Visiting Texas Long-Term Care Facilities During COVID-19, will be held Wednesday, August 26, at 1:30 p.m.