State budget cuts mean that assisted living facilities in Texas won’t be receiving as much oversight, reports the Houston Chronicle.
Long-term care advocates are worried about the cuts, which will lead to less frequent inspections, and so are industry representatives. According to them, annual state inspections help catch problems so they can be fixed sooner.
“We just hope no incidents jump up and bite people,” Gail Harmon, executive director of the Texas Assisted Living Association, is quoted as saying in the article.
The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services recently eliminated 60 inspectors responsible for reviewing licensed long-term-care facilities, including nursing homes. More than 1,600 assisted living facilities do business in the state, and more than 250 are in the Houston area.
State officials say they will devote less time to assisted living facilities, which aren’t as heavily regulated as nursing homes. Assisted living centers will likely be visited every 18 to 24 months instead of annually, said agency spokeswoman Allison Lowery.
Inspectors will try to continue to review facilities with poor compliance histories every year but will extend inspection times for those with good compliance histories, Lowery said.
Texas ALFs don’t have very strict regulations, according to the article, with one director of the local ombudsman program in Houston calling the industry the “Wild West” and recommending greater regulation.
Industry representatives, however, say state regulations are “fair and working well,” and don’t believe “heavy-handed” regulation is the answer.
Read the full article here.
Written by Alyssa Gerace