Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Fax (512) 463-0923

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 24, 2011
Contact: Janet Elliott (512) 463-0112

Senate Passes Bills to Protect Vulnerable Texans

AUSTIN — The Texas Senate today passed bills by Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, to improve mental health services for children in the foster care system and to fight financial exploitation of aging Texans. The Senate also passed bills to reduce abuse and fight fraud in taxpayer-funded programs.

SB 219 better coordinates services to ensure that children in the foster care system receive timely mental health screenings and services, and encourages child welfare professionals to develop training about the effects of trauma. It also directs the Health and Human Services Commission to explore the use of increased telemedicine in rural areas. "We need to make sure that our most vulnerable children receive the services they need to overcome the trauma they have experienced to help eliminate the cycle of abuse and neglect for future generations," said Senator Nelson.

SB 221 strengthens protections against the exploitation of seniors and ensures that law enforcement is notified if a client's home may be left vacant due to the client being removed under a protective order. "We must stop financial exploitation by caregivers as well as protect aging Texans living at home and in facilities from unsafe, substandard living conditions," said Senator Nelson.

SB 72 prevents over-utilization of services and streamlines the licensing and contracting process for providers who contract with the Department of Aging and Disability Services. "This bill ensures that individuals receiving services in our Medicaid waiver programs receive exactly the level of services they need -- which is good for Texas and good for consumers," said Senator Nelson.

SB 77 requires performance bonds for contractors who receive federal funds through the Texas Department of Agriculture to provide food at child and adult day cares and allows the department to perform criminal background checks. "These requirements will protect taxpayer dollars and avoid situations such as what occurred in North Texas, when a contractor collected funds but failed to deliver meals to day cares."

Several other bills by Senator Nelson also were passed by the Senate and sent to the House.

SB 80 implements financial reporting, accounting, collection and confidentiality improvements at the state Public Health Labs.

SB 228 directs universities to publicly report all stem cell research projects

SCR 16 designates the month of March as Women Veterans Month.

SB 193 allows the Board of Nursing to collect data from peer review committees to focus on reducing commonly made errors by nurses. It also clarifies that the nursing board may temporarily suspend the license of a nurse under board order not to use alcohol/drugs who tests positive or refuses to be tested.

SB 256 requires companies performing private autopsies to post a notice to consumers on how and where to file complaints with the Texas Medical Board.

Senator Nelson represents Senate District 12, which includes portions of Denton and Tarrant counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee.

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