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Wednesday, October 29, 1997     (512) 463-0300

The Texas State Senate News

AUSTIN - The Senate Interim Committee on Home Health and Assisted Living met in an organizational meeting at the State Capitol on Wednesday, October 29. Chaired by Senator Mike Moncrief of Fort Worth, the committee is responsible for looking into cases of fraud in the home health care industry and provide methods of proper oversight that is lacking in assisted living facilities. Serving on the committee are Senators Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin, Mario Gallegos of Houston, Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, and Drew Nixon of Carthage.

Moncrief explained that home health care offers a wide range of short and long-term medical, nursing and social services in a person's own home or in a residential setting while assisted living provides supportive services in a residential setting and attempts to maximize resident independence. Moncrief urged the senators to realize the importance of these services which allow people to maintain their independence and dignity in an environment that is safe and ensures a certain quality of life.

The charge to look into these two alternatives was given by Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock who expressed concern about the issue.

"An increasing number of people are choosing to have elderly family members cared for at home or in facilities that offer a more private setting with daily health care services," said Bullock. "As a result, the state must re-examine its regulatory structure so providers of home health care and assisted living services meet the high standard we expect for our most vulnerable citizens."

The committee heard testimony from the agencies that regulate these industries which included the Texas Department of Human Services, the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, the Office of the Attorney General, the Texas Department on Aging, the Texas Department of Health, and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The members will meet again in Austin in early December where they will hear public testimony from providers, advocates and concerned citizens.

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