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Advocacy and Public Policy News

2011 Legislative Symposium: Solving the Long-Term Care Funding Crisis


The Legislative Symposium on Thursday, September 29, 2011 was a great success!  The audience totaled over 120 and was a mix of TAHSA members, legislative staff, agency personnel, and media.

Thank you to all who participated in our Tweets of the Day!  From October 17-October 28, 2011, questions that were posed to panelists during the Legislative Symposium were asked via Twitter.  See below to review all of the questions and the panelists' answers:
Past Tweets of the Day
  • October 17, 2011:
    • Q: Is the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) a viable option for solving the problem?
      • A: Chairman John Zerwas: Hospitals and nursing homes are facing the same sorts of pressures as they care for more frail and sicker populations. PACE is an option to consider as we address the issues of end of life and access to services.
      • A: The Honorable Arlene Wohlgemuth: From the TPPF's perspective, PACE is a great long-term plan. But, in the short-term we have to keep the nursing home doors open.
  • October 18, 2011:
    • Q: Is there any realistic chance that the legislature will not have to propose greater rate cuts to Medicaid?
      • A: The Honorable Arlene Wohlgemuth: We have to implore Congress to allow the states to redesign our Medicaid programs. This should be one aspect of how we focus attention on the issue of Medicaid rates.
  • October 19, 2011:
    • Q: How much flexibility does DADS have from CMS regulations?
      • A: Commissioner Chris Traylor: The question is not our flexibility it is what providers can do to innovate within the culture change discussion. If we can identify those areas inhibiting providers to move towards greater culture change, then we can have an open dialogue with CMS on what regulations need altering or amending.
  • October 20, 2011:
    • Q: Should we eliminate the Quality Monitoring Program?
      • A: Commissioner Chris Traylor: No. The QMP has shown a positive effect on the level of quality. For example, the use of restraints has seen a remarkable drop since the program was implemented.
  • October 21, 2011:
    • Q: What is the state doing to proactively work with providers?
      • A: Commissioner Chris Traylor: If you look at our Medicaid reimbursement rates, we are not at the bottom of the list. We are probably somewhere towards the middle of the pack in terms of reimbursement rates, when you take into account the cost of living adjustment variables.
  • October 24, 2011:
    • Q: Does our aging population have a first option of staying in the community before entering an institution?
      • A: Commissioner Chris Traylor: Texas is improving this situation. Our waiting list for community-based care is shorter than it was several years ago. However, we are working on this and it is a priority for the agency. On a side note, the money follows the person program is part of the PACE model.
  • October 25, 2011:
    • Q: Are we adequately funding culture change and providing incentives to move towards change?
      • A: Commissioner Chris Traylor: The state is doing its best. Traylor compared it to the late 1990s when there were decreases in Medicare rates, coupled with a dramatic rise in liability insurance.
  • October 26, 2011:
    • Q: Is there common ground between political parties? And how can we find that common ground?
      • A: Ross Ramsey: One thing he has noticed - When the conversation is about money and funding, the answer is to make cuts. When the conversation is about programs, the answer is to preserve those programs. So, it is critical in terms of framing the issue.
  • October 27, 2011:
    • Q: How can we frame information in the healthcare world?
      • A: Ross Ramsey: In today's media, the world operates along three principles - First, information is instant. Second, it is on the internet and it is permanent. Third, while it is permanent it is also instantly correctable and amendable.
      • A: Harvey Kronberg: To get the issues you want to matter in the election you need to do two things - First, vote in the Republican Primaries. It is the only election that really counts right now in Texas. Second, you need to attend local town hall meetings and get your issues presented and get involved in the dialogue of those meetings.
  • October 28, 2011:
    • Q: How can we turn the possibility of budget cuts into a media crisis?
      • A: Harvey Kronberg: There's no shortage of human interest stories within the the walls of the state capitol. So, you have to show why your issues have a different element.
      • A: Ross Ramsey: You have to show it is an actual crisis and that people are being effected by the crisis.

LeadingAge Texas' Advocacy and Public Policy

Our advocacy division focuses on providing state and federal policymakers with information on the issues affecting Texas nonprofit providers. As part of the LeadingAge Texas advocacy team, your organization will participate in political forums, grassroots campaigns, and letter writing efforts.

LeadingAge Texas' Advocacy Includes:

  • Meeting with legislators in the State Capitol and in District Offices
  • Testifying in front of legislative committee hearings
  • Inviting legislators to visit our member communities
  • Discussing our issues with newspaper editorial boards

Our program is effective, efficient, and does not require a considerable amount of time investment from each organization.

Advocacy Efforts:

  • Preparing for a difficult legislative session with state budget shortfalls estimated at $24 billion
  • Assisted in the development and agenda of the first Joint Legislative Committee on Aging
  • Working to avoid significant Medicaid rate cuts in funding
  • Protected gains made in Tort Reform
  • Maintained leadership role chairing the Texas Senior Advocacy Coalition
  • Organizing the largest Senior Day at the Capitol event with over 2500 seniors attending
  • Grassroots Campaign on issues affecting long-term care in Texas
  • Conducted public policy briefings, seminars, and training to be effective advocates
  • LeadingAge Texas media coverage of issues facing nonprofit long-term care providers
  • Members testified in front of the Texas Legislative Committees
  • LeadingAge Texas staff and members attended meetings with state regulatory agencies
  • Members met with key legislators and candidates across the state
  • Members visited over 15 Texas Legislators in Washington D.C.
  • Members currently serving on statewide workgroups and committees for long-term care

LeadingAge Texas advocacy succeeds because of our mission-driven providers from around the state. Your organization can have an immediate and lasting impact on the legislative process when you join.

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